The Corner

Drill, Baby, Drill

Wash Post, on natural gas in shale:

Just a few years ago, the industry didn’t have the technology to unlock these reserves. But thanks to advances in horizontal drilling and methods of fracturing rock with high-pressure blasts of water, sand and chemicals, vast gas reserves in the United States are suddenly within reach.

As a result, said BP chief executive Tony Hayward, “the picture has changed dramatically.”

“The United States is sitting on over 100 years of gas supply at the current rates of consumption,” he said. Because natural gas emits half the greenhouse gases of coal, he added, that “provides the United States with a unique opportunity to address concerns about energy security and climate change.”

Recoverable U.S. gas reserves could now be bigger than the immense gas reserves of Russia, some experts say. The Marcellus shale formation, stretching across swaths of Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia, has enough gas to meet the entire nation’s needs for at least 14 years, according to an estimate by two Pennsylvania State University experts. Just in Broome County, N.Y., where Fitzsimmons lives, shale gas development could create $15 billion in economic activity, according to consultants hired by the county.

John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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