NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Natural Gas Will Fuel the Future

April 21, 2011

For decades, drillers were unable to extract profitable quantities of natural gas from low-permeability shale, coal beds and tights sands deposits.  In recent years, however, drillers have perfected two techniques that have long histories in the oil and gas industry: horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.  The combination of these techniques ushered in what is known as the "shale gas revolution," says Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute's Center for Energy Policy and the Environment.

Natural gas continues to gain market share and it will be a key fuel of the future.  In his study, Bryce explores why natural gas will be a key fuel:

  • Natural gas saves consumers money.
  • Natural gas is abundant and the globalization of the gas market is accelerating.
  • Unconventional gas is driving unconventional oil production.
  • Unconventional oil production is stimulating the U.S. petrochemical sector and global oil production.
  • The United States' huge gas production capability and its vast gas infrastructure make it uniquely well posi­tioned to take advantage of the shift to natural gas.
  • Increasing regulatory pressure on the coal sector is leading electricity generators to switch to natural gas.
  • Two key trends -- decarbonization and urbanization -- favor increased use of natural gas.
  • Global electricity demand is growing rapidly.

Source: Robert Bryce, "Ten Reasons Why Natural Gas will Fuel the Future," Manhattan Institute, April 8, 2011.

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