What the Frack? OECD Argues That Natural Gas Is the Future

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/todbaker/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/todbaker/

Energy policy is one of the more nuanced and important components of the American legislative system, and for decades, if not centuries, finding reliable and cost-effective sources of energy has been at the top of most legislative bodies’ docket. In recent decades, the fight for energy has led to large-scale conflicts in the middle east, and as fossil fuels increase in value and become more scarce, fighting over natural resources is only expected to increase. Oil and coal are the major drivers of the U.S. energy policy, and several corporations, like Shell (NYSE:RDS.A), Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) and Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU) have become the most profitable enterprises in human history by cultivating and selling those resources.

As America has turned its attention toward finding new sources to power its economy, there have been big efforts to lessen the country’s reliance on foreign energy, namely petroleum. In fact, it looks as if U.S. oil company’s may have turned the corner, as American exports have actually reached their highest level of the past fifteen years. Exports tallied up to 268,000 barrels per day in April, according to Nashville Business Journal. Recent data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration also shows big drops in net imports for crude oil and petroleum products over the past ten years.

A study put out by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development took an in-depth look at the American economy overall, and says that the future of American energy will rely heavily on hydraulic fracturing and natural gas. While the growth of renewables like solar and wind will also be very important in coming years, a major shift away from foreign petroleum resources will need to be, for the time being, toward natural gas. Domestic oil production has also seen a big boost along with natural gas, and both have led to strong economic growth in the energy sector.

“Strong growth in oil and gas extraction – with oil production increasing almost 50% between 2008 and 2013 and gas production rising over 20% during the same period – has increased the sector’s share in GDP. Forecasts suggest that production of shale gas will continue to grow strongly until at least 2040 when it will account for one half of natural gas produced in the United States,” the OECD report says.