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Welcome to the age of unconventional gas

FORGET coal, it is too grimy. Forget nuclear energy, it is too dear and debatable. Forget renewables, they are too unpredictable. To meet our power wishes and reduce carbon emissions we want an considerable supply of blank, affordable power, to be had night time and day and in all weathers

We is also in good fortune. Natural gas is the sort of gasoline, and it is sitting proper underneath our noses in abundance. Predominantly methane, it is the cleanest-burning of all fossil fuels (see chart), so the usage of gas quite than coal to generate electrical energy may just halve greenhouse gas emissions from conventional coal-fired energy crops.

But cling on a minute: don’t seem to be herbal gas reserves depleting simply as briefly as oil? And don’t seem to be maximum reserves present in nations that would possibly now not need to proportion their riches with the relaxation of the international? Back in 2006, a political spat in Europe led Russia to briefly bring to an end its provide of gas to Ukraine. All of a surprising, gas appeared to have simply as many issues as different fossil fuels.

While that can were the case 4 years in the past, issues are converting rapid. New generation to extract herbal gas from what is euphemistically referred to as “unconventional” deposits manner in the past gas-poor nations in the Americas, Asia and western Europe will have sufficient affordable gas to remaining for some other 100 years at this time charges of intake (see diagram).

Unconventional gas has a tendency to be trapped in impermeable onerous rock or sandstone, contained inside coal seams, or – maximum promisingly for gas manufacturers – in shale deposits. For Vello Kuuskraa, president of Advanced Resources International, an power trade consultancy primarily based in Washington DC, unconventional gas “has the potential for changing the long-term outlook for natural gas in a very dramatic way”.


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