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Top Level Page Contents:

How much Natural Gas is under of our feet?

How do we get it out of the ground?

Natural Gas conversion projects

Should we send it overseas?

How does natural gas compare?


There is so much gas in America nobody knows what to do with it.

North American Natural Gas

As we all know America has figured out how to extract natural gas from the huge, huge supply that is locked in rock, shale rock, under its soil. As a result we are at a cross roads. We currently have an oversupply. Energy companies looking for markets are looking to send it overseas. Can you imagine!

Even with new drilling slowing dramatically, the price of natural gas is so low that it can compete with coal.

How much natural gas is under our feet?

It is thought that 120 years, at the current rate of use of natural gas, of natural gas exists under our soil in shale gas deposits. This is probably a low estimate. The map here shows a map of the shale fields in the continental US in 2008. In just a few years the amount estimated has grown considerably. The map below is the situation just 3 years later. Clearly, a lot more has been found. So how much is actually there? No one knows, but we have so much that we should strive not to use all of it.

A quantitative estimate of the amount of natural gas we have is shown below.

How Do We Get it Out of the Ground?


Hydraulic fracturing is a simple process, really. It's used to create fractures in a rock formation by injecting the rock with a mixture of water, proppant (think: sand), and chemicals. Once opened, the fissures allow the gas (and oil) resources to flow more freely into the well, which can then be extracted through the well bore.

Here's the part that most people don't seem to realize: Without fracking, the entire North American oil and gas industry would come to a screaming, painful halt. This is the reality we all need to face, regardless of protesters who abhor the fracturing process.

Natural Gas Conversion Projects

Natural gas has many uses. Several processes use natural gas to create liquid fuels for our vehicles. These include making methanol, the methanol to gasoline process, ethanol, syncrude, and Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process for premium fuels (including aviation and diesel).

Should we send it overseas?

Our natural gas must be liquefied if it is to be shipped off our shores. These ships look like the one in the picture below. As we will try to show you, natural gas can and should be used to make methanol and ethanol two alcohols that work very well in Internal Combustion Engines, like the one in your car. In a number of Sections on this site we explore in depth the issues. Although your experience may suggest that ethanol doesn't work as well or gives you reduced mileage, we will show you that the auto companies have made this be the case. When one of them revolted, and we are talking about Saab, the Swedish Auto company, it was made to "die on the vine" so to say. We pick up one these stories on pages herein and in the voiced over YouTube presentations here.

How does natural gas compare with coal in greenhouse gas emissions?

a) Used for electricity generation

Natural gas emits about 1/2 the CO2 as coal does.

b) Used in your car

Natural gas emits about 1/4 the CO2 as gasoline does.