June 13, 2014

Research says natural gas surge could reduce dependency on coal

The surge in fracking and natural gas production has created a much less dependency on coal, which could ultimately lower the total greenhouse gases.

The increase in hydraulic fracturing throughout the nation has made natural gas one of the most sought-after sources of energy. According to research from the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford, the surge in fracking and natural gas production has created much less dependency on coal, which could ultimately lower total greenhouse gases.

Currently, coal-fired energy makes up 78 percent of the carbon pollution in the energy industry, and fracking is causing just a small portion of the total emissions, the Associate Press reported. The massive difference could have more energy investors moving toward fracking and natural gas production.

This is especially true since the Environmental Protection Agency recently announced a bill to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent by the year 2030, the AP reported.

“A global shale gas boom could therefore indeed lead to a crowding out of most pollution energy sources, such as coal,” the Oxford research explained.

U.S. investing more in fracking and natural gas

The Oxford research explained that coal-fired energy has dropped by “negligible levels” and that fossil fuels have even declined by a third. Specifically in the U.S., the increase in natural gas exploration from fracking could possibly be a “blessing” to the environment because the greenhouse gases would continue to drop with less coal-powered energy needed.

“When carefully regulated, impact on water could be minimized while greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced when unconventional gas crowds out coal and provides efficient backup for renewable power,” the Oxford study explained. “Implementation of smart policies will be critical to ensure that these resources are not only a winner for politics and economics, but also for the environment.”

Questions around fracking methods

While the Oxford researchers see the move toward more fracking as a solution to the greenhouse gas issue from coal, many are still hesitant about the process because of ground water pollution. However, the drilling method has been around since the 1950s and recently became popularized when horizontal drilling technology made it easier to retrieve trapped gas in shale deposits.

The federal government also has strict guidelines for energy companies to list every single chemical that is used in the fracking process for the public to see and feel more at ease.

With fracking becoming a new resource for U.S. energy, oil well equipment providers can turn to Broadwind Energy for precision gearing and repair services to keep frac pumps running efficiently.