Natural Gas – Let’s Use It Here
Wyoming and the rest of the nation have ample supplies of clean, cheap natural gas so we need to develop methods and markets to utilize it – that is the message coming from politicians, along with many in the natural gas industry and others around the country. As we’ve said before, those in the natural gas industry have been too good at what they do. The market is flooded with natural gas, and most companies have stopped drilling and moved on to drill for oil. America’s gas industry was a fast learner in how to best recover natural gas from the shale formations around the nation, and for the most part, the world is still demanding natural gas recovery.
For instance, natural gas prices are high in Europe and other countries overseas. Russia has long held Europe hostage over natural gas supplies because they control the pipelines. Europe has realized they have a lot of shale formations that may produce natural gas and are starting to drill. Companies are also drilling off the coast of Israel where potential gas discoveries show reserves with trillions of cubic feet of gas. By American standards, those are huge numbers, but only after a well is in production does the company realize the potential.
Last weekend, T. Boone Pickens from Texas was pretty outspoken on how we should market natural gas. Pickens is a big figure in the energy world, with interests in oil and gas production, wind energy and pipelines, and he seems to find himself on national news channels frequently. While his wife and her wild horse doings are an issue for some, Mr. Pickens is an authority on energy in America, with the dollars in the bank and a book titled The First Billion is the Hardest to back him up.
T. Boone Pickens was on national news promoting use of natural gas to power long haul trucks on our highways and roads and encouraging companies to provide adequate fueling stations throughout America. In some areas, city buses and garbage trucks are already running on natural gas, so it is happening. Mr. Pickens wants the government to help the conversion to natural gas and construction of the fueling stations by initiating a user tax. Some call it a subsidy, but the politicians will have to work that out.
With America’s strong supply of natural gas, Mr. Pickens says, “Exporting clean natural gas and importing dirty OPEC oil is dumb.” Well, he is right. Others say, “If it’s such a great idea, why doesn’t supply and demand take over and drive the issue? Why do we need the user tax or subsidy?” There are many opinions to that statement.
This isn’t an issue of what comes first, the chicken or egg. Both truck conversions, new efficient natural gas engines and fueling stations along the highways and in our towns all need to develop at the same time. If an energy source is clean and cost effective, let’s keep it in America and use it here at home. Aside from that, most of us want a gas well on our property, don’t we?