Natural Gas Finds Could Herald Energy Shift in US

Discoveries speed push to replace coal, oil
By Clay Dillow,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2009 8:42 AM CDT
A tattered US flag flies on Anadarko Petroleum Corp.'s rig atop a plateau in Greater Natural Buttes, Utah.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A huge natural-gas discovery in Louisiana, on the heels of similar finds elsewhere over the past decade, is fueling a push to shift the nation’s energy portfolio, the Wall Street Journal reports. Louisiana’s Haynesville Shale could hold the energy equivalent of 18 years of current US oil production; one industry group thinks there’s enough natural gas to satisfy a century’s worth of US demand.

That figure has sparked interest among policy makers looking to reduce dependence on foreign oil and cut greenhouse-gas emissions. To produce the same amount of energy as coal, burning gas emits half the carbon dioxide, and an 11% production increase has driven natural-gas prices down 41% this year while oil is up 12%.