ISIS-linked militants are threatening huge natural gas reserves the world needs badly right now, potentially making them more accessible than previously thought.
A decade after the devastating 2005 earthquake in southern Pakistan unleashed devastating gas leaks that helped create the region’s biggest ever natural gas revolution, the world is about to take a huge leap in energy security by securing enough of the liquid fuel for decades to come. The massive reservoirs and the infrastructure needed to unlock them could be the key to averting a worst-case scenario in which global temperatures are driven into a new climate-change-fueled “tipping point” and the rise of energy-hungry, polluting, and energy-inefficient nations continues unchecked.
The massive deposits of energy-rich shale gas found in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere are an opportunity that cannot be passed on to any nation in the world, including the United States, said Marc L. Andreae, a former U.S. Geological Survey scientist and chief executive of the Frontier Group in Houston, Texas.
“There’s no other place in the world that has this opportunity, and the ability to capitalize on it,” Andreae told DW.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimates the remaining reserves could total as much as 7,000 billion cubic meters of natural gas, or enough to meet global demand for another 150 years. That’s more than the entire output of the United States from 2005 to 2014. In other words, these are the largest proven reserves of any energy source on Earth, dwarfing the hydrocarbon reserves of the world’s largest oil and gas producing nations.
For the past several decades, all attention by energy giants (and governments) has been focused on exploiting fossil fuel reserves. But shale gas, which happens to be cheaper and easier to transport than oil and similar fossil fuels, offers a new opportunity. For example while some estimates put the U.S. proved reserves for oil at more than 100 billion barrels (bbl), the