Like the cigarette industry, fracking companies hope to circumvent health and environmental concerns to become the world's leading exporter of shale gas.
A NEW REPORT from the International Energy Agency (IEA) notes that many other parts of the world, notably China, will soon scour the planet for natural gas. The irony—they are looking for alternatives to coal that will help them reduce urban pollution. And the most affordable, accessible option is seen as natural gas. You have to give the Chinese credit. They'll not only be solving their own pollution woes. They'll also be doing irreparable damage to the environment in the U.S., reducing our quality of life, and fueling the growth of privatized water companies in a country with some of the most abundant fresh water in the world. and all without spending $760 billion a year on its military, the way we do. (They spend about one-fifth what we do, and have four times our population.).
They must find American hubris beautifully self destructive.
But the "clean" reputation of natural gas quickly unravels, when you look at gas extracted by means of shale fracking, an increasingly common practice in the U.S. Ample research shows that fracking not only pollutes and poisons local water supplies, it may even trigger regional earthquakes.
Fracking technology is especially sinister in that it affects deep water reserves, and can ruin water supplies for decades or longer.
Here's and excerpt from the IEA report:
Global gas demand is expected to grow by 1.6% a year for the next five years, with consumption reaching almost 4,000 billion cubic meters (bcm) by 2022, up from 3,630 bcm in 2016. China will account for 40% of this growth. Demand from the industrial sector becomes the main engine of gas consumption growth, replacing power generation, where gas is being squeezed by growing renewables and competition from coal.
The United States – the world’s largest gas consumer and producer – will account for 40% of the world’s extra gas production to 2022 thanks to the remarkable growth in its domestic shale industry. By 2022, US production will be 890 bcm, or more than a fifth of global gas output. Production from the Marcellus, one of the world’s largest fields, will increase by 45% between 2016 and 2022, even at current low price levels, as producers increase efficiency and produce more gas with fewer rigs.
While US domestic demand for gas is growing, thanks to higher consumption from the industrial sector, more than half of the production increase will be used for liquefied natural gas (LNG) for export. By 2022, the IEA estimates that the United States will be on course to challenge Australia and Qatar for global leadership among LNG exporters.
“The US shale revolution shows no sign of running out of steam and its effects are now amplified by a second revolution of rising LNG supplies,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director. “Also, the rising number of LNG consuming countries, from 15 in 2005 to 39 this year, shows that LNG attracts many new customers, especially in the emerging world. However, whether these countries remain long-term consumers or opportunistic buyers will depend on price competition.”
The complete report, Gas 2017, is available for purchase.
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