A View from David Appell

Is Natural Gas Peaking?

The blog Past Peak forwards some interesting news from about a week ago: the production of natural gas in North American may well have peaked. From a Reuters article dated June 21st: “Gas production has peaked in North America,” Chief…

  • June 30, 2005

The blog Past Peak forwards some interesting news from about a week ago: the production of natural gas in North American may well have peaked. From a Reuters article dated June 21st:

“Gas production has peaked in North America,” Chief Executive Lee Raymond told reporters at the Reuters Energy Summit.

Read the whole article, then sit back and think about what it means. Natural gas supplies about 23% of U.S. energy consumption (I’m consulting Richard Heinberg’s The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies, 2003); petroleum supplies about 38%. But petroleum (which, granted, may also be peaking soon) is easily transportable. What natural gas we have comes from North America, and it’s transportable from overseas only if it’s cooled down to a liquid at -260°F, shipped on special transports, and docked at special liquid natural gas (LNG) facilities. (Currently, only about 1% of natural gas used in the U.S. comes from LNG, Past Peak says.) It’s going to be difficult to ramp that up very fast, or very far. And it’s not going to be pretty–as Past Peak blogs here, the U.S. Senate just voted to expand federal powers by adding a provision to the energy legislation that declines to give governors the authority to veto or impose conditions on LNG terminals. And communities and homeland security types are already up in arms about plans to build more LNG facilities. And that’s probably only the tip of the iceberg about what kind of changes will cascade through society as both oil and natural gas peak. Get ready.

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