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Excess Natural Gas Causing Companies to Ship it Overseas

The hydraulic fracturing boom opened doors for the oil business but it also expanded the horizon for natural gas.
The hydraulic fracturing boom opened doors for the oil business but it also expanded the horizon for natural gas.

Today we have so much of it that companies are finding new ways to profit from it.

“We have a lot of gas here, in Texas in general and we have to find a way what to do with it,” said Dr. Abdallah Harouaka, Professor and Coordinator of Petroleum Engineering at UTPB.

Some burn it, some use gas lifting to get more oil out, but others are asking the federal government for permits to ship it out over seas.

“The more these things grow, then we have to find markets for them,” Harouaka said.

Those markets are growing, and a number of companies looking to Asia.

“if you want to sell gas to people that are on the other side of the ocean, then you have no other way than through this process,” Harouaka said.

Gas is normally transported by pipelines but shipping it overseas requires transforming it into a liquid by cooling the gas. A process that almost doubles the price of natural gas.

“It's very costly but there is no other way,” Harouaka said.

But when you have so much gas many prefer to use it, instead of burning it. Harouaka said the Permian Basin has more natural gas than it can handle.

And it's not the big companies who want to find these alternative ways.

“It's not the major oil companies, it's the mid-size and smaller companies who are venturing in this area and it's completely new,” Harouaka said.

An area in the natural gas industry that is just beginning to expand.

“Now, how long this is going to last? That's the million dollar question,” Harouaka said.

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