Demand for specialty-steel products used in hydraulic fracking is poised to continue rising next year as energy companies step up exploration and production in shale-rock formations, Optima Specialty Steel Inc. said. Optima's sales of steel tubing to natural gas producers have climbed 15 percent in 2012, and a similar increase is forecast for 2013, said Kevin Stevick, chief executive officer of the closely held company. Growth at the Miami-based company is coming from fracking in states including Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York, he said.
Natural gas isn't just for kitchen stoves and and large power plants. Natural gas liquids are widely used in manufacturing thousands of everyday products, as well as fertilizers and other applications that people may not be as familiar with.
It has taken a couple of years for the energy industry to acknowledge a new reality: Natural gas availability is soaring in contravention of forecasting models that have been in use for decades, and the fuel is set to transform everything from power generation and transport to chemicals and even the trade deficit.
In the latter part of the previous decade, attractive natural gas wellhead prices and technological advances in exploiting shale formations prompted an exodus to Appalachia. Some of the companies flocking to the Marcellus shale formation and its enormous store of natural gas willingly paid landowners several thousand dollars per acre merely to stake their claim and, when the time was right, flip their leaseholdings for a handsome profit to another speculator or to an operating company.
The hydrofracking boom has bypassed New York thus far, but one local company is cashing in on the controversial gas drilling technology. Sabre Technical Services LLC in Slingerlands has rigs that clean and recycle millions of gallons of water needed to extract natural gas from deep rock formations in Texas, Arkansas, Wyoming, Oklahoma and other states.
Clean Energy Fuels announced today that it is teaming up with GE to continue development of what Clean Energy calls "America's Natural Gas Highway." In particular, Clean Energy has agreed to buy two MicroLNG plants from GE Oil and Gas (with up to $200 million in GE financing), to be operational by 2015.
The United States will overtake Saudi Arabia to become the world's biggest oil producer before 2020, and will be energy independent 10 years later, according to a new forecast by the International Energy Agency.
Anti-fracking sentiment in the Southern Tier was felt at the polls this week when candidates opposed to drilling were beaten up and down the ballot after intense campaigns, some that were framed as referendums on shale gas development.
A natural gas grid helped at least two large energy users -- New York University and Co-op City (a vast high-rise housing complex in the Bronx) -- stay warm and bright during Sandy because, to a significant extent, they can generate their own electricity and heat.
The U.S. Energy Department needs to explain how it will determine whether to allow more exports of the nation's bountiful supplies of natural gas, Senator Ron Wyden, a top Democrat on the Senate Energy Committee, said on Tuesday.