Approved: July 2010
It is the position of NSPE that America needs to continue developing natural gas as part of the energy supply. This is important for energy security, since our natural gas primarily comes from North America.
Recent advances in gas shale technology have increased the domestic reserves available for production. The techniques involve injecting water and sand at high pressure to fracture the rock and produce the natural gas. However, regulatory delays have sometimes made the work more difficult. NSPE recommends that the EPA and other regulators complete their studies and allow gas production to proceed. Similarly, NSPE recommends that the Department of Interior grant appropriate leases for offshore natural gas production in American waters.
Natural gas continues to fuel our homes, factories, and power plants. Pipelines are needed to transport gas from producing areas, such as Alaska, to the areas where gas is consumed. We also need LNG (liquefied natural gas) facilities. For remote gas supplies, gas-to-liquid (GTL) technology may also prove useful in moving energy supplies to where they are needed.
Natural gas is also used for transportation. CNG (compressed natural gas) is now being used by fleet operators to power some buses and heavy trucks. With research and considerable cost reduction, natural gas could be used in vehicles by making methanol, gasoline, or synthetic diesel fuel. With major cost reductions, natural gas could also be used in fuel cell vehicles, such as by producing hydrogen.
Research on natural gas technologies is needed to provide for continuing supplies in the future. In the long term gas hydrates may contribute to natural gas supplies. NSPE recommends funding for research and development for natural gas technologies for the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, the Department of Transportation, and the National Science Foundation.