Tuesday, September 22, 2009

NPR Series on Natural Gas Industry

There is a series of reports on NPR Morning Edition this week about the natural gas industry and its changing place in the national energy debate. Today's first report (audio page, article page) gives an overview of shale discoveries and the advancements in drilling and completion techniques. One interviewee noted that if we had seen the same level of technological advancement in oil production it would have been widely reported: "If that had happened in the oil industry, it would be a headline item ... But because it happened in gas, nobody seems to be paying any attention."

One of the central themes of the report is that we now have an abundance of gas in the U.S. and that it is competing against coal to be the dominant domestic energy source. The piece also hits on the use of natgas as a transition fuel to alternative energy, its use in vehicles, the pollutant comparison against coal and the fact that natgas is domestically sourced, among other topics.

Tomorrow's report will focus on how the natural gas industry, which is comprised mostly of small "mom and pop" independents will be able to compete against big coal and big oil, especially in the energy policy debate.

It's great to see NPR taking notice of the natural gas industry and putting together a series of reports. I was disappointed, however, reading the plethora of negative comments. It seems as though they are mostly reflective of the angry debate over drilling in the Marcellus Shale in Appalachia, where there is a high level of concern over environmental safety. Too bad they aren't as concerned about the environmental impacts of coal mining.

No comments: