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Colorado’s Key Industry Network is an initiative of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Detailed capital structure reports provide a complete view of a company’s long term obligations, capital costs and credit ratings.
Customize your peer reports by selecting fields such as Total Enterprise Value, EBITDA, and Midstream Revenue Growth. Integrate SNL Energy’s commodities data into your own Excel models with auto-refresh capabilities to stay current. Instantly view pricing data for coal, natural gas, electricity, heating oil, crude oil, and emissions. Daily Gas Report is a comprehensive daily publication that covers all aspects of the North American natural gas industry including fundamental market drivers, pricing, and financial data.
FERC Gas Report includes weekly coverage of developments and proceedings at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the gas industry.
Gas Utility Week focuses on local distribution companies and relevant issues inside the citygate or LDC territories. Gas is more versatile than oil or coal, and can be cheaply used for heating, electricity generation and powering vehicles.
Canada holds considerable gas reserves and has the fourth highest gas production in the world, driven by proximity to the American gas market, the worlda€™s largest, and the presence of some corporate world leaders in natural gas extraction technology.
Natural gas is often referred to as simply a€?gas.a€? This can be confusing since natural gas is an entirely different substance from the gasoline used in cars, which is a refined form of oil. British Columbia has some gas reserves and relies upon natural gas for some of its electricity generation and heating. The chief question on many analysts' and policymakers' minds today is whether this gigantic windfall of natural gas reserves has come too late for the earth's climate. Like the other fossil fuels, coal and oil, natural gas is formed from the decayed remains of plant and animal life.
If the organic matter descends far enough into the Eartha€™s crust and reaches a temperature of 120EsC, it begins to cook. Over the past thirty years, however, American companies have made giant strides in turning this view on its head. FRACKING: Fracking can unlock tremendous quantities of gas and oil that could not be reached with previous technology. The full potential of these new unconventional resources has only really been felt in the last decade. Tight Gas: Tight gas is a term used for natural gas trapped inside highly impermeable rock formations, such as limestone or non-porous sandstone.
Methane Hydrates: This exotic fossil fuel is natural gas that has been caught inside crystalline H2O. Extraction does not come without serious risks: some scientists speculate the large scale release of these tremendous hydrate reserves into the atmosphere could aggravate the worlda€™s climate and potentially lead to abrupt climate destabilization. Today exploration for gas is largely conducted by advanced digital seismic technology which allows geologists to accurately map natural gas deposits deep underground. Once sucked out of the ground the gas is pumped to a nearby processing plant, which from a distance appears as a glittering labyrinth of pipes and tanks.
Transporting the gas to market is the most challenging aspect of dealing with natural gas and has been important in shaping the natural gas markets today. The pipelines that move gas across borders from producing to consuming regions are huge political and economic investments. Another way to transport natural gas is to liquefy it by lowering its temperature to -162EsC. You can learn more about the role LNG can play in promoting energy security and opening up the global market for natural gas in the politics section. Once extracted, purified, and transported to market, natural gas has a diverse array of uses. Natural gas plants will account for 80% of additional power capacity built in the United States out to 2035. Natural gas is the fastest growing fossil fuel-based means of electricity generation in North America and is likely to surge in importance in the years ahead. For these reasons it is important to have an understanding of the unique characteristics of natural gas when used in power generation. Single Cycle Gas Turbines: A more direct means of generating electricity, a turbine is a type of internal combustion engine. Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (Natural Gas Combined Cycle or NGCC): These plants use a combination of the other two technologies, steam and turbines. Natural gas has several advantages that make it an increasingly popular choice for electricity generation. Secondly, natural gas turbines and NGCC plants can be rapidly cycled, that is, they can be turned on and off in minutes or hours in response to real time electricity demand. Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is used to fuel a number of vehicles, known as NGVs (Natural Gas Vehicles). The natural gas itself is also cheaper than oil, and the vehicles are safer since the fuel tanks are much thicker, and if they are ruptured in an accident the gas simply dissipates into the air. The larger space for fuel storage makes natural gas a more appealing choice for fleets of high-mileage vehicles like buses and long-haul trucks.
Natural gasa€™s role in the world today, and its future outlook, hinges on how much of it is left in the ground, and how fast it is being used up. How much natural gas is left in the ground, in global reserves, is a difficult question to answer. A number of organizations have done their best to estimate the total reserves, foremost among them the International Energy Agency and the U.S. There is still potential to expand production capacity to a huge degree, far more than is possible with oil. For a relative idea of how much gas this actually is, it is worth noting that global consumption of gas was 3.2 tcm in 2010.
So even without taking the vast new unconventional resources into consideration, Russia alone could theoretically supply global demand for almost 15 years.
The United States Energy Information Administration has estimated the country holds 23.4 tcm of shale gas. Extrapolating these estimates globally, a study by two scientists at the University of Tokyo, Drs.
At this early stage this study remains highly speculative, and much of the gas included in it will never be economically recoverable. Unconventional gas drilling has made the IEA confident enough to double its estimates of global gas reserves to around 920 tcm in the Fall of 2011. Nevertheless, the increasing commercial viability of unconventional gas drilling has made the IEA confident enough to double its estimates of global gas reserves to around 920 tcm in the Fall of 2011. The IEAa€™s optimism about natural gas is certainly reflected in the title of its recent report, the Golden Age of Natural Gas.
There are a number of reasons for this: Burning natural gas releases fewer dangerous emissions than coal or oil. Currently the United States is the world leader in natural gas production, extracting 611 billion m3 in 2010, narrowly beating Russiaa€™s 610 billion m3. Unlike the global oil market, the worlda€™s natural gas market is not truly global, but instead broken down into three major regions which can have greatly varying prices. In East Asia, where Japan was once the dominant consumer, China has emerged as a major player in natural gas, producing 83 billion cubic metres in 2009, and consuming slightly more. Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) is also taking on an increasingly prominent role in the cross-border gas trade. By 2035 global demand is expected to grow by the equivalent production of three Russias todaya€”around 1.5 trillion cubic metres a year. Though Canada holds only 0.92% of the worlda€™s proven natural gas reserves, conventional and non-conventional, it produces 5% of the worlda€™s natural gas annually, about 152 billion cubic metres in 2010.
The country consumes only about 94 billion cubic metres of that a year, which is used overwhelmingly for space and water heating, though gas is also important in electricity generation in some provinces. Alberta moves this gas to markets in Eastern Canada, British Columbia, the American Midwest and California through the TransCanada Alberta (NGTL) web of natural gas pipelines. Annually exports bring around $1.5 billion in tax revenues into that provincea€™s treasury. Though Alberta has the largest conventional gas reserves in Canada, and far and away the most production, there are other large proven reserves that have not been fully developed in Canada. The other major Canadian natural gas reserves are in British Columbia, and unlike the Atlantic or Arctic, they have been developed. As technology develops, extracting these unconventional reserves will become cheaper and more commercially feasible. The production of unconventional gas resources has been increasing rapidly in recent years, and they look set to play an important part in the provincea€™s natural gas future. Shale gas is the next unconventional type of gas likely to see widespread commercial production as the technology for it has been proven successful in the United States. Given all these unconventional resources that have yet to be tapped, it is certain that natural gas will play an increasing role in the provincea€™s economic future. This oft overlooked part of the provincial government's platform will no doubt prove extremely controversial with many of the province's citizens if it goes ahead. Private homes account for 42% of the provincea€™s natural gas consumption as of 2003 and natural gas is used in the majority of homes for heating.
The single largest industrial use of gas in British Columbia is for power generation, as gas is the provincea€™s chief alternative to hydroelectric power. When demand is high in the American Midwest, particularly Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, British Columbia gas can be pumped through the Alliance pipeline along with (primarily) Alberta gas.
At the same time a pipeline built to Kitimat will service a proposed Liquid Natural Gas facility there which will ship natural gas to Asia. Liquid Natural Gas holds the potential to break the monopoly of pipelines and improve energy security throughout the world.
This issue made headlines again during the Ukrainian political crisis of 2014, with many American lawmakers pressuring the Obama Administration to expand LNG exports to Europe to break their dependency on Russian energy. Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) holds the potential to break the monopoly of pipelines and improve energy security throughout the world.
Pipeline capacity: Natural gas requires a vast and complex infrastructure to get the gas from the wellhead to the consumer. Drilling rate: A gas company can have tens of thousands of drilling rigs in operation, but can limit how many are pumping gas at any given time.
Natural disasters: Hurricanes and earthquakes can disrupt supply, in the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Katrina for instance.
Geopolitical disturbances: While this is less the case with natural gas than with oil, geopolitics can lead to supply disruptions, as we have already seen with the fraught relations between Russia's Gazprom and Ukraine.
Storage and imports: A company or government can store or import natural gas and release it onto the market when there is a shortage. Long term depletion: While natural gas reserves are centuries from being exhausted globally, many conventional fields around the world are peaking, leading to a decreased drilling rate. Unlocking of unconventional resources: This point is rapidly making long term depletion irrelevant. Development of tight gas deposits and breakthroughs in shale gas drilling technology are making these unconventional deposits a bigger part of the energy picture all the time. Italya€™s natural gas production, for instance, peaked in 1995 at around 17 billion cubic metres, and has since declined by over 50%. Weather: Natural gas is used directly by many homes and businesses for heating, so demand for natural gas will rise during cold winters. Economic output: A growing economy requires increasing amounts of gas for electricity or industrial processes. Long term economic expansion: The US Energy Information Administration expects residential energy demand to increase 25% between 2002 and 2025 as homes get bigger, have more appliances, and there are simply more of them.
With so many factors affecting both supply and demand, it is a small wonder that the price of natural gas has been so volatile over the past two decades, especially in the North American market.
The supply factor is the rapid improvement of drilling technology and the unlocking of the trillions of cubic metres of gas in unconventional gas reserves. Our knowledge of the geological endowment of technically recoverable gas continues to improve with each assessment.


As a result of the ongoing optimism about natural gas supplies into the decades ahead (this estimate gives the United States alone 100 years of supply at current production rates) the price is expected to stay low for some time. Investors expect the new supplies mean the wild price jumps of the mid-2000s are a thing of the past. Economically, electricity derived from natural gas is virtually as cheap or cheaper than all other sources of power.
In the short to medium term, natural gas generation is likely to see economic benefits from government action to curb greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, by 2016, electricity from conventional combined cycle natural gas plants becomes so cheap compared to all the other sources of power that there are fears the increasing and likely long-lived competitiveness of natural gas will price wind and solar power out of the market, just when they are beginning to gain traction. As the IEAa€™s director Nobuo Tanaka explained, a€?one of the factors leading to the success of natural gas is the uncertainty in climate change policy. It should be noted that these prices are for the United States as a whole, and do not apply to British Columbiaa€™s fairly unique position. Natural gas is widely touted as a good alternative to coal and oil, on a local level, and from a climate change perspective.
Despite the fact that natural gas emits some emissions, it is often described as a€?clean.a€? This is, as you can see from the charts below, a relative term. As can be seen, for the same amount of energy produced, natural gas emits 71% as much carbon dioxide as oil, and 56% as much as coal. Because energy produced from natural gas has much lower associated carbon emissions than these other fossil fuels, natural gas could act as a a€?bridgea€? fuel to a low-carbon energy future. Natural gas is by no means a panacea for the environmental problems caused by our energy use.
The idea that natural gas could act as a bridge to a low-carbon future in the short to medium term is gaining popularity. A major fear revolves around the tantalizing and enormous quantities of methane hydrates on the ocean floor. Another environmental issue related to natural gas production, fracking, is discussed in further detail here. To ensure continuity of material, all of the external web pages linked and presented on our site were cached in May 2012.
You can learn more about the differences between the various refined and unrefined forms of the fossil fuels here.
Natural gas development in the province is driven by unconventional gas reserves such as coalbed methane and tight gas, while the likely presence of vast quantities of methane hydrates offshore holds long term economic potential. On the one hand, we can reduce our climate change emissions by shifting from coal to gas in the short term, buying ourselves more time to switch to climate-friendly energy sources like wind, solar and advanced nuclear by mid-century. The organic matieral is covered, compacted and pressurized by layers of sand and rock over tens of millions of years. This implies that the deeper the fossil deposits, the more heat and pressure they are subjected to, and the more likely they are to be natural gas, instead of oil. Methanogens work to break organic matter down into methane and are found in places devoid of oxygen, such as beneath the Arctic permafrost, or in the stomachs of animals (ie. As this occurs very near the Eartha€™s surface, biogenic gas is usually released directly into the atmosphere. Tax incentives put in place by the 1978 Natural Gas Policy Act encouraged entrepreneurs to develop two key technologies. The technique does come with a cost however: It can potentially pollute water supplies in nearby aquifers and cause earthquakes.
Horizontal drilling is not just, as its name implies, the ability to drill sideways into rock formations, but also to drill diagonally, or even drill down to depths of thousands of feet and then change directions. They range from very near the surface with coalbed methane, to shale gas deep below the Earth's crust.
In the past five years alone the unlocking of unconventional gas resources has turned the received wisdom on global gas supplies on its head. In the past decade, the United States, which holds immense shale gas reserves, has spearheaded development of the technologies needed to extract it. The methane is formed by bacterial decay inside the coal matrix or, at great enough depths, thermogenically.
The more expensive gas becomes, and the further technology advances, the more attractive tight gas reserves appear. The potential reserves of methane hydrates around the world are enormous: estimates ranging from a thousand to a million times current global reserves of natural gas. The resulting solid is similar to ice, leading to the monikers a€?methane icea€? or a€?fire ice.a€? Reserves of it are formed at low temperatures and high pressures.
Initial seismic exploration is followed by exploratory drilling, which determines the quantity and quality of the reserves available. The cost of transport can vary widely but typically accounts for as much as two thirds of the final price. They are usually located around a meter underground, protecting them from vandalism and natural disruptions that could cause leaks.
Indeed the American Energy Information Administration's Outlook 2010 states natural gas plants will account for 80% of additional power capacity built in the United States out to 2035. Natural gas is also the only source of fossil fuel power generation that is widely employed in British Columbia, accounting for around 10% of the provincea€™s electricity. It burns gas inside an internal combustion chamber and then aims the outward gas flow over the turbinea€™s blades and spins them, generating electricity.
Firstly, as already noted, the new combined cycle plants are the most efficient forms of fossil fuel generation ever known. Other types of power plants, such as coal or nuclear, can take days to warm up and then shut back down. Since natural gas is a combustible fossil fuel just like oil, it is simple to adjust a car to run on natural gas.
On the down-side their range is only about half that of gasoline-powered vehicles, and there are few places to fill up. These could even be designed to run on much further compressed liquefied natural gas, extending their range. Historically, estimates have fluctuated wildly since natural gas first entered the marketplace.
The total reserves, however, can be defined as the amount of gas that will be recoverable at some point in the future at a certain price if the technology for that extraction exists.
Interest in unconventional gas resources only took off in the past half-decade, so realistic reserve estimates simply do not exist outside the United States and Canada, though that is rapidly changing.
In addition, the USGS believes 19.8 tcm of coalbed methane exists in the continental United States. Kawata and Fujita, can give a vague idea of what the total global reserves of unconventional gas could be. Natural gas currently accounts for almost a quarter of the worlda€™s energy consumption and its share is growing fast.
These are North America (primarily Canada and the United States who are largely self-sufficient), Europe (supplied by gas from Russia, the Caspian Basin and the North Sea) and East Asia (supplied by gas from Indonesia, the Middle East and to a growing extent globally traded LNG). It is starting construction on a major pipeline to bring gas from Central Asia to its bustling Pacific metropolises. Gas in these tanks must be stored at -162EsC, reducing it to a six-hundredth of its original volume and making it much more economical to transport.
The largest increase will come from China where demand could grow from five to seven times, depending on circumstances. Like oil, Canada is Americaa€™s dominant supplier of natural gas imports, supplying 15% of their total. Alberta has pumped an immense amount of gas out of the ground, almost 3.8 trillion cubic metres, leaving them with an estimated 2 trillion cubic metres of conventional reserves. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers estimated in 2003 that before natural gas extraction began in the 1940s, Alberta possessed around 5.8 trillion cubic metres of conventional gas.
The Grand Banks and Scotian Shelf off Newfoundland could contain as much as 1.7 trillion cubic metres.
Tight gas is the first to see full scale production: the northeasta€™s Jean Marie formation is the site of the provincea€™s main tight gas development. Coalbed methane consists of 90% to 100% methane and therefore requires less refining than any other fossil fuel in use. Depending on power demand, and the availability of hydroelectric power, the province will resort to its small fleet of natural gas burning power plants to meet demand at peak hours. Located just outside of Port Moody, this station was built in the 1960s and 1970s but has been heavily upgraded. With capacity for five to seven LNG shipments per month, the facility is set to come into operation in 2015. The worlda€™s large reserves of natural gas largely overlap with the worlda€™s oil supplies. The huge capital investments required for pipelines mean suppliers sell gas at prices set in long term contracts in order to guarantee a market for their product.
Russiaa€™s Gazprom, for instance, is working hard to promote long term contracts with European utilities to get them to sign on to multi-year contracts with prices set high. It is a technology that has been in existence for 40 years but only recently have the costs of this technology come down enough to make it economically viable. This makes the price of natural gas as a commodity a central aspect of natural gasa€™s economic viability. A lack of infrastructure, specifically the quantity of pipeline capacity, can limit gas availability and cause price rises.
Tight gas, shale gas, and coalbed methane exist in greater quantities than conventional gas reserves, and are only just beginning to be tapped.
Since developing these sources is more expensive, they will likely only see widespread development when the price of gas is high. Furthermore almost 70% of new homes being built rely on natural gas for heating, beating out once dominant electricity and oil by large margins. In the decade leading up to 2008, demand rose as more people lived in natural gas cooled or heated homes, average summers became hotter and winters colder, and the economy boomed.
With gas prices at their current levels, running a car on compressed natural gas is already cheaper than on petroleum.
Bodies like the Potential Gas Committee at the Colorado School of Mines have increased the United Satesa€™ estimated reserves from 1,525 tcf in 2006 to 2,170 tcf in 2010.
Furthermore, new and advanced exploration, well drilling, completion and stimulation technologies are allowing us increasingly better access to domestic gas resourcesa€”especially a€?unconventionala€™ gasa€”which, not all that long ago, were considered impractical or uneconomical to pursue.
The MIT report, the Future of Natural Gas, estimated the levelized cost of electricity in 2005 in the United States to be roughly 5.6 cents per kWh. The MIT report predicts that in the most likely future carbon tax scenarios, natural gas generation will begin to squeeze coal out of the electricity market until well after mid-century when truly carbon-free energy sources (which they predict will be predominately advanced nuclear power, not wind or solar as many would expect) gain much deeper market penetration. Natural gas production is growing rapidly with the expansion of shale gas, but most renewable energy technologies still require additional support to achieve widespread market penetration. Natural gas plants only account for around 10% of the provincea€™s generating capacity, the remainder being from huge hydroelectric projects, many over 50 years old.
When the greater efficiency of NGCC plants over coal plants is taken into account, the carbon emissions per billion Btus drops another 25% compared to coal. Paradoxically, natural gas itself, methane, is the most powerful greenhouse gas known: one kilogram of methane is equivalent to 21 kilograms of carbon dioxide in its ability to trap heat. If extracted carelessly, they could accidentally be released into the atmosphere en masse, a serious and sudden hit to the climate that could prove catastrophic.
Like coal and oil, gas is a fossil fuel formed from the cooking of decayed organic material over millions of years.
The estimates of how much are buried underground and available to humanity have been increasing exponentially over the past fifty years. For the same amount of energy produced, gas emits 30% less carbon dioxide when burned than oil, and as much as 45% less than coal.
Natural gas gets its name from its gaseous state and consists mostly of methane: one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. On the other hand there is a risk that gas may remain so cheap for so long that it will prevent renewable sources from ever becoming economically competitive.
In the case of natural gas, as well as oil, it is usually algae and zooplankton layered on the oceana€™s floors that formed the basis of the thick organic deposits that are the oil and gas we use today.


Often found near oil fields, conventional gas fields can, with relative ease, be tapped by drilling technology that has existed since the Second World War.
Energy experts have long thought the development of these resources as commercially unfeasible and technologically impossible. The first was fracking, a technique first developed in the 1940s but only applied to natural gas extraction in the 1980s. These technologies have allowed drilling companies to unlock the huge gas potential in more challenging reserves. It does not seem hyperbolic to say that in future decades people may look back on this development as a pivotal moment in the history of energy. As a result of sustained technological advances, shale production has exploded, going from only 1% of total natural gas production in 2000, to 25% today and perhaps as much 50% by 2030. The existence of coal-bed methane has been known for centuries because of the threat it posed to coal miners, who risked getting blown up or asphyxiated by gas pockets. At the time of writing, tight gas was the primary type of unconventional gas extracted in the province of British Columbia. Though little was known about the substance only thirty years ago, it was thought responsible for occasionally clogging natural gas pipelines.
In what could potentially be a revolutionary development, in 2013 the Japanese announced they had successfully managed to pump gas from methane hydrate deposits for the first time.
If the gas available is deemed economically worth the effort, wells will be sunk into the ground that can pump the gas to the surface. Nevertheless the refining process is complex, and involves different industrial processes for removing the oil, condensates and water, in addition to separating out the natural gas liquids (NGL) which can themselves be valuable (ie.
LNG technology matured in the 1990s and is today becoming an increasingly prevalent means of transporting natural gas across oceans. It is an essential part of the industrial process for the manufacture of many chemicals, plastics, fertilizers or fabrics. Gas turbines have efficiencies slightly less than steam generation but their main advantage comes with the ability to turn on or off almost immediately. Once the hot gases that caused the turbine to spin escape from the turbine, they are piped to a steam-generating pool where they heat water, which in turn spins its own turbine.
The higher efficiency translates directly into a lower fuel requirement for the same electricity output. This characteristic makes natural gas plants ideal for meeting peak electricity demands, and a good replacement for old and inefficient coal-fired plants that are currently used for this purpose in many regions, especially the United States. The main difference is a larger tank is needed to house the gas that is compressed at 3,600 PSI. The sticker price is another impediment to widespread adoption of NGVs: they are more expensive at the dealership than petroleum cars.
Measuring them accurately is complex because the concept of reserves is as much an economic as a geological one. They give a total of 453 tcm of shale gas, 209 tcm of tight gas sands and 255 tcm of coalbed methane. By mid-century the IEA expects it will overtake coal, and then oil, as the premier fossil fuel, and therefore the most widely used source of energy in the world.
It also affords improved energy security: every major economic region (North America, Europe and East Asia) has enough supplies to remain self-sustaining for an estimated 75 years at projected growth rates.
India too will see a similar exponential increase in demand, but starting from a lower baseline, will still use only a half to a third as much gas as China.
Just like oil, natural gas has played a huge role in Albertaa€™s economy in the past forty years, and over that time period the province has pumped an immense amount of gas out of the ground, almost 3.8 tcm, leaving them with an estimated 2 tcm.
It further estimates that 189,000 Canadians are directly employed in the natural gas industry, with another 400,000 indirectly employed supplying the gas companies, or through money spent by those who do work in the gas industry. The gas used by British Columbians is primarily transported through a single pipeline owned by WestCoast stretching from the north-east to the lower mainland. These power stations together consume around 15% of the natural gas used in British Columbia. Energy analysts believe the effect could be to bring about a global spot market for gas, as there is with oil, where gas can be delivered where it is needed, when it is needed, surpassing trade barriers and higher long term contract prices set by suppliers.
If the price is high or rising and falling rapidly, this can have a ripple effect across many different industries.
As an increasing share of the electricity market is served by natural gas, this can lead to higher natural gas demand. For instance, American natural gas demand fell 5% between May 2008 and May 2009, following the banking collapse of late 2008.
At the same time the market feared the depletion of natural gas supplies as commentators forecast a looming peak in North American gas production.
The global recession that began in 2008 caused a fall in natural gas demand as industrial output decreased and people worked to save money on their gas bills.
Electricity from coal on the other hand, which will be hit by higher building and permitting costs, will rise to 9.5 cents per kWh. The price of power from these plants is extremely low because the province has been receiving power from them since their construction. All fossil fuels release a number of pollutants into the air when burned: carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, particulates, and carbon dioxide, all of which have effects upon the environment, both local and global. This has prompted many energy experts to advocate natural gas as a a€?bridgea€? technology from the more carbon intensive fossil fuels, especially coal.
We combine information from multiple federal and state sources including EIA, FERC, SEC, state public utility commissions (PUCs) as well as proprietary OTC Global Holdings forwards and SNL price assessments into a cohesive, instantly accessible decision support platform. Gas, however, has unique characteristics that can give it an edge over coal and oil in the 21st Century, without some of the drawbacks inherent in many renewable energy technologies like wind and solar. These discoveries have been driven by rising interest in gas and a corresponding surge in gas exploration around the world.
This will give natural gas an economic leg up over these more traditional fossil fuels in the decades ahead when carbon taxes or cap and trade systems are likely to come into play. Up to 20% of the gas can, however, consist of varying amounts of other hydrocarbons such as ethane, propane, butane, and sometimes smaller amounts of carbon dioxide, oxygen, and nitrogen. If oil, once it has formed, continues cooking for millions more years, it too can degenerate into natural gas. Until recently conventional gas extraction accounted for all but a tiny percentage of all the gas pumped. Fracking involves injecting water, sand, and small amounts of other chemicals into rock formations at high pressures, causing them to crack and allowing the gas to flow. The American boom in shale gas has been dubbed the a€?shale gale,a€? upending predictions that American gas production would soon steeply decline.
Natural gas formed this way is in a near-liquid state and is almost pure methane, with little hydrocarbons like propane or butane, but small amounts of carbon and nitrogen.
In the 1980s and 1990s the USGS announced the discovery of vast reserves of methane hydrates just underneath the ocean floor on all of eartha€™s continental shelves.
Processed natural gas is piped to LNG terminals that liquefy it and pump it aboard massive LNG freighters. This technique can bring efficiencies of 50 to 60%, the most efficient form of fossil fuel generation yet discovered.
For instance a NGCC plant with 60% efficiency requires 25% less fuel than a coal-thermal plant with 35% efficiency in order to produce the same amount of electricity. The Union of Concerned Scientists points out that fast-cycling NGCC plants would do a good job of complementing renewables such as wind and solar in a future low-carbon economy.
A vehicle running on natural gas emits fewer dangerous emissions than a petrol-powered car: 93% less carbon monoxide, 50% less reactive hydrocarbons and 33% less nitrogen oxides. The idea of estimating reserves therefore has a number of assumptions built into it about the future state of the world.
This is not to say that oil or coal are likely to be squeezed out any time soon, but rather that world energy consumption will vastly increase, an estimated 53% between 2008 and 2035, and natural gas will account for a lot of it. The massive LNG tankers can be directed to any port in the world that is equipped with regasification equipment, a development that is allowing natural gas consumers to diversify their consumption and keep prices competitive. The Government of Alberta is optimistic that development of coalbed methane extraction technology will postpone depletion of the provincea€™s gas reserves since their scientists estimate the province holds 14 trillion cubic metres of that, a tremendous amount.
Canadaa€™s Arctic is estimated to hold 4.9 trillion cubic metres, though extracting it economically will be difficult in the regiona€™s harsh climate. Ministry of Energy and Mines estimates there could be as much as 2.7 trillion cubic metres waiting to be discovered. The major estimated reserves are, by size, the Peace River (northeast), Klappan and Groundhog (north Netchako basin), Elk Valley and Crowsnest (southeast corner), Hat Creek (central interior), and Comox and Nanaimo (Vancouver Island). This includes most of Washington, Oregon and Idaho, though the eastern parts of those states can be serviced by Alberta gas. As stated in the Future of Natural Gas, an interdisciplinary study by MIT, a€?long pipeline connections create dependency between buyers and sellers and give substantial power to those who control pipelines.a€? The leverage of those who control gas pipelines has been illustrated by the ongoing dispute between Ukraine and Russia over transit fees on gas Russia exports to Europe. Qatar has been leading the way with LNG, shipping gas to Europe in a bid to undercut Gazproma€™s share of the European market.
Natural gas emits less of these pollutants than coal and (with the exception of carbon monoxide) oil. Methane release into the environment can come from a wide range of sources as diverse as landfills, livestock and coal mining. Whether you're a strategic or financial analyst, SNL Energy's flexible product gives you the ability to tailor information about the natural gas industry to meet your needs.
New technologies have allowed for the development of so-called unconventional gas reserves, like shale gas, tight gas and methane hydrates. To date, little research has been done into how much fire ice exists on Earth, but a vague estimate by the Department of Energy puts Americaa€™s reserves at nine quadrillion cubic metres, a staggering 1,500 times greater than all of America's combined remaining gas reserves, conventional and unconventional. Once at their destination these freighters disgorge their cargo at another LNG facility which will re-gasify the gas and then pipe it to where it is needed. NGCC technology has already become cheaper than coal power in most regions and is set to become the standard form of fossil fuel power in the years ahead. Lower carbon natural gas plants could be turned on to pick up the slack when the wind does not blow or the sun does not shine, and then be quickly turned off when the weather becomes more favourable. Ninety-one of them are already producing natural gas, and because full-scale development of natural gas resources didna€™t begin in earnest until after the Second World War, so only around 11% of the worlda€™s gas outside North America has yet been extracted.
This is not including unconventional natural gas reserves which could be very large indeed. The province is actively encouraging the development of coalbed gas fields, providing a grant $50,000 to gas companies for every coalbed gas well drilled.
The dispute led to temporary disruption of gas to Europe in 2009, and led the EU to begin casting around for more secure sources of gas.
This power has been included in the provincea€™s a€?Heritage Contracta€? and appraised at around 5.3 cents per kWh. The largest contributor by a significant margin however is methane accidentally released during the extraction, processing and transportation of natural gas, about a third of the United Statesa€™ methane emissions. This very recent development is a game changer for the global energy system and means that gas can meet much of the world's energy needs for perhaps a century or more. So we cannot rule out that new revolutions may take place through technological developments. This technology is thought to be making the natural gas market a more global one, like oil, by breaking the regional pipeline networks that currently dominate the global gas market. The first exploratory wells are now underway in the provincea€™s Peace River and Elk Valley coalfields to determine if coalbed methane can be extracted economically.
This is a small, but significant, slice of both the United States and Canadaa€™s contribution to global warming and is added on top of the carbon dioxide emitted when the methane successfully extracted is burned in power plants, home heaters or factories.
Coalbed methane, tight gas, shale gas, and methane hydrates are all natural gas found in different geological contexts.



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  2. MAMEDOV 29.10.2013 at 18:49:13
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  3. ASKA_SURGUN 29.10.2013 at 17:41:34
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  4. Qaqquli 29.10.2013 at 23:41:36
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