The enormous potential of the 21st century’s “Age of Natural Gas” is now fully in view. Vast new reserves of natural gas in shale reservoirs deep beneath our country have been discovered in the past five years. These shale reservoirs are now estimated to contain more than two quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas, more than doubling America’s previously estimated natural gas reserves, and giving us close to a 200-year supply of clean, affordable, American natural gas. These unconventional reservoirs are a remarkable addition to America’s bountiful natural resource endowment.
They are also essential to retaining our nation’s prosperity. Because of our reliance on dangerous and expensive foreign oil to power our cars and trucks and on dirty coal to produce 50% of our electricity, America’s position of global economic and environmental leadership for the next century is unfortunately in doubt. It need not be. Underneath many parts of the U.S. lies a buried treasure of natural gas that is quickly becoming the envy of the world — it’s clean, affordable, abundant and American!
Two quadrillion cubic feet of America’s natural gas represent more energy than Saudi Arabia’s 200 billion barrels of oil reserves — but America’s natural gas is much cleaner and 70% cheaper than Saudi oil. In 2009, the U.S. passed Russia as the biggest producer of natural gas in the world, but how many Americans realize this remarkable achievement? Our political leadership must begin to acknowledge and celebrate this tremendous accomplishment and to recognize the strategic and practical benefits of more aggressively using our enormous new reserves of natural gas.