Hydraulic fracturing to harvest natural gas has been controversial due in large part to the potential for contamination of ground and surface waters by the pressurized fluids used to force open cracks in deep shale formations and by the so-called flowback fluids that re-emerge at the surface from fracking wells. Now, researchers have developed a geochemical method of tracing fracking fluids in the environment; it’s a tool that could be used to identify hazardous spills in the future and may lead to better use and disposal of fracking wastewater.
Thanks to new developments, we now can affordably produce natural gas from rock formations that previously were inaccessible. And thanks to these developments, we now have more natural gas than ever before. The glut has decreased prices for at least a little while. If recent trends continue — namely if those prices stay low and various political, environmental and economic pressures to transition to a cleaner, domestic source of energy remain in place, it’s likely that over the next decade or two, natural gas will overtake petroleum to become the most popular primary energy source in the U.S.
Lessons Learned From a Cross-country Road Trip in a Natural Gas Vehicle
In what seems like a replay of a bad 1970s movie — with high oil prices, prominent energy security risks, and fluctuating emissions regulations — Americans are looking for alternatives to gasoline. But this time around, many industrial proponents, investors, experts and energy enthusiasts claim they have a solution: natural gas
To say that things are changing in Sudan would be an understatement. With a referendum on secession set for Jan. 9, and expected to pass, and many issues to be negotiated between now and July 9 when the country’s peace agreement ends, a lot will change over the coming months. And everything hinges on Sudan’s most valuable product: oil.
Last September, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) celebrated its 50th anniversary. Over the past five decades, OPEC has earned a reputation for being a powerful cartel that controls the world’s oil production and prices — but there are limits to OPEC’s influence and wealth. In fact, many OPEC countries face grave problems, which, to some extent, are the result of their oil-based economies.
A saltwater disposal well, a part of the natural gas production process, may have been responsible for triggering a series of minor earthquakes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas in 2008, according to a recent study.
Marine mammals live in a world of sound. In the open ocean, whales and dolphins depend on sound waves, using echolocation to navigate, find food, attract mates and communicate. But their clicks and calls are not the only noises underwater: Oil and gas exploration, seafloor mapping, and ship and submarine navigation have increased dramatically over the past few decades, making the world’s oceans noisier than ever.
Much of the debate concerning energy, climate and the economy involves how to manage the transition from fossil fuels to sustainable energy sources. In this context, it may seem ironic to promote one fossil fuel over another, but natural gas is an inexpensive, abundant and relatively clean fuel that can lead the transition away from coal and oil, while achieving significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants over the next two decades. In short, increased use of domestic sources of natural gas needs to be an essential component of U.S. energy policy.
Buried beneath the gigantic swath of desolate tundra that forms Alaska’s North Slope are some of the nation’s biggest hydrocarbon resources. For decades, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline has supplied about 20 percent of the nation’s oil. But below the permafrost of the Last Frontier lies another huge fossil fuel resource — and this one is a lot harder to tap.