This is a speech I recently gave to a Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism meeting in Detroit on the risks and benefits of hydraulic fracturing.
According to a Bloomberg Businessweek report, we are seeing an unprecedented drop in the price of natural gas in comparison to oil prices.
Oil is hovering around $100 a barrel. In 2002, oil was about $20 a barrel.
Natural gas is currently at 2002 prices. In fact, the price of natural gas is half of what it was one year ago.
Why? Because of abundant supplies of natural gas, what the U.S. Energy Information Administration calls “robust inshore production.”
There is a glut of gas.
This increased supply is mostly due to hydraulic fracturing. More importantly, a newer way to use the drilling method, horizontal hydraulic fracturing. Horizontal ‘fracking’ has made it easier and cheaper to extract natural gas from shale deposits in the U.S. and other sites around the globe.
Horizontal fracking has meant a boom in gas drilling and production. It’s meant more jobs in certain areas of the country. It’s meant greater dependence on domestic energy, and less dependence on foreign energy.
Because burning natural gas emits about half of the CO2 emissions of coal or oil, it means less of the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change.
It’s meant families can heat their homes more cheaply.
That all sounds good, right?
Well, it’s not ALL good.