Discuss how shale gas will revolutionize the energy industry in the not too distant future.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is not completely clear that shale gas will “revolutionize” the energy industry, but it does look as if it will make a huge change in the market for fossil fuels around the world.

Shale gas is natural gas that is found trapped in shale rock.  In the past, this kind of natural gas could not be extracted.  However, today, a technique called “hydraulic fracturing,” better known as “fracking” has been developed to extract this gas.  What this has done is to open up vast new reserves of natural gas.  To this point, the gas has mostly been exploited in the United States, but there are other places where it is believed to exist.

Shale gas has already changed the energy markets in important ways.  Just a few years ago, it was anticipated that the US would need to import large quantities of liquefied natural gas.  Today, this is no longer an issue as the US has plenty of natural gas of its own from the shale gas deposits.  If other countries have large deposits as well, it could mean a real boom in gas production.  This would likely reduce the demand for coal, and perhaps for other dirty types of fossil fuels.  This would be a big change and might reach the level of a revolution.

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