Volume 91 Issue 12 | p. 6 | Letters
Issue Date: March 25, 2013

Shale Gas—Why The Rush?

Department: Letters

The issue of exporting natural gas comes down to how fast we are willing to hydraulically fracture or “frack” shale to get the gas. The faster we go, the cheaper the gas and the greater will be the urge to export it (C&EN, Jan. 7, page 18).

I doubt we have any idea how much shale gas there will be or how long it will last. Have we learned nothing from the rapid depletion of petroleum that we care not a whit about husbanding such a one-time bonanza or considering future generations? Going slower would also give us time for a better understanding of all the risks of fracking. Could it be that the gas industry wants to rush, not just to make money today, but also fearing that slowing down would result in a better understanding of the risks?

Along with precious metals and rare earths, our political system badly needs some way to control the rate of consumption of nonrenewable resources.

Victor J. Reilly
Aiken, S.C.

Chemical & Engineering News
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Robert Buntrock (Mon Apr 15 21:29:07 EDT 2013)
Sounds like a wise move but unlikely to happen when there's a large number of companies producing gas (and oil) out of the formations being fracked. Ironically any attmepts to cooperate in drilling and production pace could be considered collusion and a monopoly and subject to anti-trust.

Decades ago, several people in the industry were pointing out that crude (and natural gas) are so valuable as feedstaocks for production of chemicals that maybe those fossil fuels should be saved for chemicals production rather than the ca. 4% currently used.
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