The US is ramping up natural gas production in a manner not seen since the post-World War II boom—scoring a nearly 9% increase through the first five months of 2008, reports the New York Times. The drilling boom comes as new technology is able to release gas long believed to be out of reach, sparking hopes that growing domestic supplies will help keep heating costs down and American industries competitive.
Drillers have used new technology to tap into massive shale beds once thought economically unfeasible, including the Barnett fields near Fort Worth. And while some critics question just how much natural gas will result, the industry is increasing exploration. It's “almost divine intervention,” says one gas company exec.“Right at the time oil prices are skyrocketing, we’re concerned about global warming, and we wake up and we’ve got this abundance of natural gas around us.”