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Like most people, I have a gas furnace in the basement.  You can't beat the convenience, & the reliability has been amazing. There's never an empty line. Right now, the US has plenty of gas in storage. Our 55 billion cubic feet a day just keeps pumping.

So, is it time to panic? EIA is projecting 2 more good years. Which sounds nice, except that they always predict production increases, and are almost always wrong. They missed the run from $2 to $7, and they're missing the next run, from $7 to rationing.

North America is basically a 3 country closed gas market. Sure, we import a little LNG, but not much more than we pipe to Mexico. A few years ago, the pipes to Mexico flowed North - now they go the other way. US production is declining - although 2006 may end up even with 2005, thanks to lack of hurricanes. The reasons we have adequate storage are fairly basic : High prices & good weather.

Canada seems to have peaked also. Which is not a big deal in itself - the US peaked in 1971 & has almost maintained production since through ever increasing drilling. Page 5 of this ASPO report is the scariest gas projection I've ever seen. It has us going over a cliff - dropping 10% a year from here to nothingness. Hard to believe, but I'd like a technical refutation.

Oh - the other way methane will keep us warm? For years, the big hope has been finding a way to unlock gas hydrates, frozen in arctic bogs or ocean depths. It's looking like there is a way - just warm them up. Unfortunately, that's happening over very large areas, and the gas is escaping into the atmosphere. Warming the whole world, instead of just inside your house.

(Edited because I didn't really make my point - that if the ASPO projections are anywhere near accurate, we're facing some truly stunning problems)

Originally posted to The Rolled Up Newspaper on Sat Jan 27, 2007 at 05:31 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Organic chemistry for Kids! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trashablanca, Rex Manning

    Hydrocarbons are chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen attached. The simplest are known by their first syllable, which says how many carbons, and the second, which notes anything odd about the number of hydrogens. The shortest are gases, the longer liquids, the really long ones tars.

    Methane is a simple CH4 gas, the primary component of natural gas. Its colorless, odorless, & a fantastic fuel.

    Petroleum is refined, including adding extra hydrogen, & broken down into 6-10 carbon units for a really useful product called "gasoline".

    Now go build a refinery!

  •  I have hippy fantasies. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trashablanca, Rex Manning

    There...I admit it.

    And one of them is having a grass pellet furnace. (sigh) Which doesn't really exist in today's market.

    And that doesn't even include the cob house and the composting toilet and organic garden and blah blah blah I fantasize about.

    I am such a wanna-be hippy. :)

    You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. - John Lennon "Imagine"

    by a dumb dreamer on Sat Jan 27, 2007 at 05:42:37 PM PST

    •  Root cellar & Franklin stove (0+ / 0-)

      There are a lot of reasons why I haven't acted on the expectation that our energy infrastructure will start breaking down in the next 5 years.

      The big one is that all that farming & survivalist stuff is hard, skilled work, & I'm an old, soft city guy.

    •  I heard a segment on Pacifica Radio.... (0+ / 0-)

      ....a few months ago about corn stoves.

      Like wood stoves cept they burn dried corn kernels (popcorn).

      The neat thing is burning them is carbon neutral (I think that's the term). When the corn burns it only releases as much carbon as it absorbed when it grew.

      Rex Manning, boy genius.

      by Rex Manning on Sat Jan 27, 2007 at 06:30:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Corn was a nickel a pound (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rex Manning

        When those stoves were being built, 3 months ago, corn was $2/bushel. Now that we have 6 billion gallons of ethanol consuming 20% of the corn crop, rising fast, corn is $4/bushel, rising fast.

        Coal stoves may come back for a while. Nasty things, but cheap, & we won't freeze.

  •  Interesting diary... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Thanks for writing about this topic.

    I'm in the middle of reading a very interesting book.  "Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy" by George Olah.  He discusses this very problem and presents some interesting ideas.  The book is very comprehensive on fuel technologies, a must read.  

    Developing environmentally friendly technologies to exploit sources other than gas, such as coal, is going to become a must.  

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