Natural Gas: Innovation and Disruption
BY DAVE MCCURDY
December 20, 2018
The watchword in business today is “disruption,” something that uproots the current thinking and fundamentally changes how we think, behave and go about our day-to-day business. For years, natural gas has been a quiet disruptor.
In the early 2000s, when energy pioneers began extracting natural gas from shale formations through a combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, it altered the energy conversation on all sides of the globe. We always knew the gas was there, but our estimates of what could be produced with current technology did not include gas trapped in shale formations. But about 12 years ago, the biennial Potential Gas Committee’s announcements about our nation’s technically recoverable resource base began heralding an abundant supply that shows no signs of slowing.
On Nov. 30, 2018, the continental United States set a single-day record for natural gas production of 87 billion cubic feet. That is 81 percent higher than the daily average production in 2005. The short-term energy outlook from the Energy Information Administration expects U.S. natural gas production to average 90 bcf per day in 2019.
The industry has learned some difficult lessons about our “social license to operate” and our responsibility to communities. Any conversation about smart energy policy must also be about how we produce natural gas responsibly, deliver it safely, use it efficiently and continue to build a pathway toward a clean energy future.