Shale gas energy of future despite estimate cut

January 30, 2012|Jay Hancock

Reports that shale gas may not be as plentiful as people thought are getting lots of attention. Last week the Energy Information Agency sharply cut its estimate of shale gas -- from 827 trillion cubic feet to 482 trillion cubic feet, reports the New York Times. Estimates for the Marcellus Shale in Appalachia cut cut from 410 trillion cubic feet to 141 trillion.

But this is like telling a Powerball winner: Oops, you only won $50 million when we told you it was $100 million. Even 482 trillion cubic feet of accessible shale gas is a huge increase over what was thought available in the nation five years ago and will have profound effects on the energy economy. 482 trillion feet is a 20-year supply for the nation, and many analysts believe it's far too conservative of an estimate.

And whatever shale gas is available in the Marcellus or the United States, shale gas is an international phenomenon. They're drilling for it all over the world, and with more robust liquified natural gas infrastructure it's going to be increasingly portable.  

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