DOE Pumps $30 Million Into Fracking Projects As Natural Gas Takes Center Stage

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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The Energy Department plowed tens of millions of dollars into projects designed to explore new fracking technology as the U.S. leans heavily on natural gas amid harsh winter weather.

DOE’s decision will help the agency master oil and gas development in untapped, energy-rich areas, according to a press statement Wednesday from the agency. The funding targets the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale in Texas and the Huron Shale, which spans four states in the Appalachian.

The effort will help “strengthen America’s energy dominance, protect air and water quality, position the nation as a global leader in unconventional oil and natural gas (UOG) resource development technologies, and ensure the maximum value of the nation’s resource endowment is realized,” the statement notes.

DOE’s funding effort comes shortly after Americans consumed a record-breaking amount of gas during the most-recent cold snap, according to data from PointLogic Energy, an oil and gas firm that monitor gas usage. The country used more gas throughout the holidays last year than in 2014, a year that saw a so-called polar vortex cover the U.S.’ east coast with arctic air.

Snowstorms and frigid temperatures pounded parts of the Northeast and the Midwest during Christmas and New Year’s Day. Pennsylvania county, for instance, was clobbered with 60 inches of snow in two days following Christmas day – the storm shattered records and required the national guard to help keep the roads clear and residents safe.

Northern Erie County, Penn., accumulated over 60 inches of snow a day after Christmas, according to Cleveland’s National Weather Service (NWS), reports. Thirty-four inches of snow descended on Christmas Day, marking a single-day record snowfall in Erie.

The country consumed more than 143 billion cubic feet of gas as temperatures dipped to all-time lows on New Year’s Day, the data show. Prices for natural gas skyrocketed to the highest level in a month — gas is not the only fossil fuel states are turning to for warmth this winter.

DOE’s move to pump money into the industry also comes President Donald Trump moved late last year to nix Obama-era regulations leveled against the fracking industry.

The Interior Department published in late December of 2017 a repeal of the rule in the Federal Register. Energy Producers were locked in court battles over the rule since it was finalized in 2015.


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