Out of Gas

The precarious state of natural gas is something that should be quite alarming to Minnesotans and other residents of the Upper Midwest. We use it for heating water, our furnaces, clothes dryers, and other uses around our houses, but the most important of these is heat. The way most houses are constructed these days, without regular supplies of natural gas, our houses will quickly become refrigerators in the middle of January.

Kurt Cobb posted an interesting article on his blog today discussing natural gas, NAFTA, and how we managed to put the screws to Canada in terms of taking their natural gas production from them via treaty obligations. We’ve been very lucky with two mild winters in a row to keep the natural gas crunch from becoming truly nasty. I don’t know how much longer we can expect that trend to continue…

Also, keep in mind that the scorching heat waves in California have been met as best they can by increased electricity generation, and those plants are predominantly natural gas-fired. That’s been helping to drive natural gas futures back up to their highest price since February of this year. Oh joy…

Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) is often seen as a solution, but the process of compressing the gas into a liquid, transporting it, and then re-gasifying it is very expensive, and it’ll be hard to keep up with North America’s thirst for the stuff.

Here are some additonal links for your viewing pleasure:

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