July 2014, Vol. 241, No. 7

Features

Effect Of Shale Plays On U.S. Natural Gas Composition

The unexpected and stunning success of the shale plays in the United States over the past decade has dramatically changed the nation’s energy picture for years, if not decades, to come. For instance, about 40% of the natural gas produced in the nation now comes from shale, and that percentage is predicted to go even higher in the decades ahead (see Figure 1). Compare this to less than a decade ago, when U.S. natural gas reserves and production were on the decline and it was expected that the United States would soon begin importing large quantities of natural gas to meet demand. Now, instead, natural gas reserves are increasing and production is about to create a surplus

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