Skip to comments.The Impact of Shale Gas Technology on Geopolitics
Posted on 07/16/2010 3:37:25 PM PDT by greenwill
Dr. Daniel Fine of the Mining and Minerals Resources Institute at MIT addressed Fletcher students at a talk sponsored by the International Security Studies Program and offered his insights into how the development of new technology will allow the United States to tap vast, previously inaccessible, resources of natural gas that will impact everything from the price of gasoline to the ability of Chinese companies to buy equity in Russian natural gas fields.
(Excerpt) Read more at fletcher.tufts.edu ...
According to Dr. Fine, the cloud over gas used to be do we have enough gas? In 2003, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan declared that the United States did not have enough natural gas, and that it would be necessary to import liquid natural gas (LNG). This, said Dr. Fine, was clearly a mistake in the light of the new hydro-facing technology, not only because importing LNG poses a security risk to the United States, but because tapping natural gas from shale represents an economic bonanza in the most [economically] repressed parts of the country: western New York, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, areas which suffer from high rates of unemployment, and are estimated to host 490 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The thousands of jobs that could be created in these areas could stand in the way of President Obamas pursuit of subsidies for renewable energy.
Substitution away from imported gas by the United States will impact Russia, the worlds largest exporter of natural gas, where gas production is controlled almost exclusively by government-run Gazprom. Moreover, Chevron has signed an agreement with Poland to search for and extract natural gas there, and similar arrangements have apparently been made in Romania. When Chevron announces that they have gas [in Poland], Dr. Fine said, then Russia is shut out, and will no longer be able to act as a near-monopoly supplier of gas in Eastern Europe.
Seeing the threat to Russias interests, Dr. Fine suggested that Putin has de facto joined the friends of the Earth, claiming that hydro-facing will lead to problems with water supply. Beyond that, however, Dr. Fine pointed out that Gazprom has recently acquired the largest gas field in Russia that was not already under its control, and that the location of this field, outside of Irkutsk, near the border with China, gives a clear indication of the direction that Russian policy is headed.
China is moving towards a gas economy rapidly to get away from the images and problems associated of coal, said Dr. Fine. China is well aware that its reliance on coal, and the emissions associated with it, not only present an environmental and health threat to its own population, but that China is vulnerable to increasing attacks from Western environmentalist groups as climate change becomes a more prominent political issue. China does not have large gas deposits of its own, and so, Dr Fine suggested, will want to take advantage of Russias weaker position vis-à-vis Europe, to demand not only lower gas prices, but also the ability to purchase equity in Russian gas fields, something China has not yet been allowed to do.
Returning to address some of the environmental concerns surrounding shale gas extraction, Dr. Fine said that, in light of the jobs that will be created , and in light of the economic advantages of natural gaswhich is cheaper than either coal or nuclear power, and far less expensive than any current renewable technologyit will be politically difficult for any administration to challenge shale gas unless it can be conclusively shown to have adverse environmental effects that outweigh the benefits. Shale gas wells, Dr. Fine said, are only used when an impermeable rock layer surrounds them, so that none of the estimated 5.5 million gallons of water used for extraction can seep into the groundwater. In addition, most wells can recycle their water, and ultimately, use less water than an average golf course.
Finally, Dr. Fine predicted that we are not, in fact, entering an era of peak oil, that with the new production coming from the Iraqi oilfields, and with new natural gas deposits replacing other petroleum fuels, we can expect to see a decline in world oil prices. He predicted that on April 1, 2017 in Medford, Massachusetts, gasoline will cost barely over $1/gallon at the pump. Whether that prediction proves true or not, it certainly provides something to think about.
Apparently he doesn’t think 0bama will further stop production of all of these domestic and other (Iraq) sources.
If it’s in his power, he will do it.
Only overedjumacated fools suffer NWO twits like this.
Yeah, like Greenspin's gonna let loose anything but mindcontrolled blather from his sleezy lips.
I do like to listen to him talk, thought, but don't believe a word he says.
LOL! But it’s Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard. :-)
Surely, obama and his accomplices in the “environmental” movement will attempt to scuttle our efforts to recover this energy source.
Personally I’m thinking nat gas is the way to go.
Here in Indiana I know electricity prices will go way up due to cap n tax because all our juice comes from coal.
We’ve switched the clothes dryer and range from elec to nat gas. Next new car I’m considering is one of the Hondas built here in Greensburg IN with the nat gas option.
That's everyone must view these "offical" talking tards'.
Until they are met with ridicule & rotting tomatoes, the world will not get better.
It really is as simple as that.
They are evil liars, and deserve the worst.
If any of us listen, then we deserve the worst.
I believe that natural gas is the bridge we need to develop the alternative energy technologies of the future. We (and other parts of the world) have abundant gas locked in shale deposits. Substituting gas for oil and coal makes economic sense irregardless of the environmental issues, and politically it removes the OPEC noose around our necks.
Some of the wilder claims Dr. Fine makes aren’t to be taken seriously, but much of the geopolitical effects and all of the economic advantages are real.
Living in NE Pa. I see already the environmental reaction and resistance to hydrofracturing technology. The scare mongers are doing their best to stop the drilling even though it has just started. “Moratorium” is the word; just like in the gulf.
This regime won’t make gas exploration easy either.
Jerry Brown is running for California Governor and says he is going to solve the unemployment problem out here with green jobs.
“Most methanol is produced from natural gas or coal in large manufacturing plants with capacities often exceeding several hundred million gallons per year”
This methanol can be used as s motor fuel, (with half the BTU content of Gasoline) and can be used to make “gasoline,” “diesel fuel,” and most of the synthetics now made from Crude oil.
Methanol can also be made from coal or biomass (wood, etc).
That is if we have a United States o f America by 2017. At that point the USA may Balkanized into several countries including one called the United Socialist States of America , where everyone is riding horses and cooking their beans in wood stoves.And then we will possibly have the United Arab State of Michigan that gets free oil from the ME.
Fine's prediction may not have included the fascist factor of nationalist ( black power historic justice for alleged colonial exploitation)socialists ( redistribution of wealth until its gone using taxation ansd extortion) who have seized the tools of government and who excoriate the Constitution.
This is the guy who advocates more regulation so we avoid bubbles caused by speculation, right?
He seems to be rather divorced from reality.
We are talking about electric vehicles in a time when natural gas powered vehicles would be much more economical and practical. No need to create a new electric-delivery infrastructure from scratch or to add hundreds of nuclear fuel plants to provide the increased electrical demand. We should be awash in natural gas powered vehicles.
Cap and tax will affect all energy not coming from hydropower, nuclear, solar or wind, and that means roughly 72% of power generation will be taxed, and all motor fuels.
Pity Americans can't drill the gulf/Carribean, but the Communists can.