Keeping Warm in the Face of Peak Oil

50 percent of the gas we will want in 2010 has not yet been discovered.

Published: 20-Jan-2006

If you heat with natural gas, you must have noticed the price has been going up lately. Well, I have some bad news for you -- this is only the beginning. For the 62 million households heating with natural gas in the United States , the cost of home heating has doubled in the last few years and there is no end in sight.

Unlike the situation with oil and oil products, only a minimal amount of natural gas — around 2 percent of total consumption— is being brought to America in liquefied form by LNG tankers. Currently 83 percent of our consumption comes from our own gas wells and 15 percent comes by pipeline from Canada . The problem is that our domestic production is declining, the Canadians are becoming antsy about sending so much of a valuable resource to the US , and we are going to have to compete with an increasingly desperate world for cargos of liquefied gas.

There are some bright spots. There is talk of a pipeline to Alaska and more LNG compression plants are being built overseas, but these will take years to complete and will only ease the pain a bit, not solve the coming supply crunch. Although we continue to find new pockets of natural gas in the US , those that are being found are smaller and much more expensive to drill. The bottom line is that US natural gas consumption will drop one way or another. We will have rationing by price and there is little anybody can do about it.

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