A Free-Market Energy Blog


Posts from December 0

Natural Gas: A Better "Climate" Fossil Fuel?

By Chip Knappenberger -- April 29, 2011

When it comes to climate, are all fossil fuels equal?

“No,” the answer has been until very recently. In terms of how much carbon dioxide (the major force behind the human alteration of the atmospheric greenhouse effect) is produced when burning various fossil fuels to produce a unit amount of energy, there is a definite ranking. From the most CO2 produced to the least, the list goes coal worst, oil next worst, and natural gas least worst.

While it would be stretch to call natural gas the sweetheart of climate-change-fearing environmentalists, many have considered it to be the lesser of the reliable-energy-source evils. Of course, they rally behind the wind and the sun, but even renewable energy idealists understand that there needs to be a bridge between where we are now and where they would like us to be—and that bridge is envisioned to be constructed primarily from natural gas (a foundation furthered by the nuclear problems in Japan).…

Gas From Shale Deposits: A Worldwide Game-Changer? (Part II)

By Donald Hertzmark -- October 16, 2009

Editor’s note:  This article is the second of two on shale gas production.  The first dealt with the U.S. situation; this one looks at the potential impacts of shale gas production in Europe and China.

Natural gas production in Europe, currently just over 11 Tcf, has been falling rapidly over the past decade.   About three fourths of Europe’s gas is produced in just three countries: the UK, Norway and the Netherlands.  Production peaked in 2003 at 13.5 tcf.

Consumption, on the other hand, continues to rise.  Gas use in Europe stood at 20.5 tcf in 2008 and is likely to increase further as coal-fired power plants retire or are phased out of service for environmental reasons.  Most of Europe’s imported gas comes from Russia (about 80%), with the remainder mostly as LNG.…

The Global Shale Gas Revolution (Dear Renewables: Meet the New Competition for Power Generation)

By Donald Hertzmark -- October 14, 2009

Editor’s note: This article is the first of two posts on shale gas production and concerns the U.S. situation. The second will look at the potential impacts of shale gas production in Europe and China. While some have interpreted shale gas in terms of coal displacement in power generation, this new competition has profound (negative) implications for the viability of politically favored renewables in power generation.

Shale gas formations have been known for many years. But only in the 1990s did an understanding of hydraulic fracturing technology make production of gas from such formations feasible technically. And it was not until the middle of this decade, with U.S. domestic gas prices consistently above $10/mmbtu, that shale moved from an interesting future resource to a major current reserve.

The U.S. Department of Energy now estimates that recoverable shale gas resources in the U.S.…

U.S. Gas Resources: Julian Simon Lives! (Malthus, Hotelling, Hubbert are wrong again)

By <a class="post-author" href="/about#m_lynch">Michael Lynch</a> -- June 22, 2009