America’s Largest Natural Gas Field found in Haynesville, Louisiana
Largest Natural Gas Deposit in U.S. found in Haynesville, LA-
In 2008, the largest natural gas reservoir in North America was discovered underneath rural pastureland in Northwest Louisiana, also extending into the borders of Southwest Arkansas and Northeast Texas. Deposited approximately 150 million years ago, the gas accumulation is attributed to the gradual build-up of rich, organic lime mud upon other layers of sediment. According to Gregory Kallenberg’s documentary, aptly titled Haynesville, the natural gas deposit could potentially power the entire United States for several decades. The quantity of gas that can be found in the Haynesville deposit totals about 130-150 billion cubic feet (BCF) per square mile, with Louisiana alone holding 230 trillion cubic feet – equal to 147.2 million trips across the U.S. from California to New York. Due to the overwhelming measure of natural gas under their rural land, many folks have leased their property under contract to oil and gas companies so that these corporations may pursue drilling in the area, however countless problems have surfaced in the past because of flawed lease agreements. The Haynesville documentary follows three individuals distinctly impacted by the gas discovery; with one Kassi Fitzgerald, a sort of unsung hero, adopting the tiresome task of negotiating lease agreements for her community. A home and landowner in Stonewall, Louisiana, Kassi craved nothing more than to protect her neighborhood from the devastating impacts of careless drilling. Case in point; the small rural area of Deberry, Texas. Landowners in the community had signed a lease contract with a gas company without water and land protections, and underwent serious troubles in 1985 after an injection well – a container which retains chemicals and waste byproducts that accrue due to drilling – broke on site, contaminating the town’s water supply. Residents were forced to fend for themselves; unable to drink their own water, nor bathe in their own homes because of this unsound lease contract.
As of now, the United States is using 100 times more energy annually than needed to survive. The country employs almost twice as much energy per capita than Europe, and roughly 75 percent of that energy comes directly from fossil fuels. On average, America uses 47 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) a day – with oil taking up a massive 37 percent; gas 25 percent; coal 24 percent; and a meager 7 percent covering nuclear and renewable energy. Coal represents approximately 50 percent of America’s electricity production, and is responsible for emitting around 40 percent of greenhouse gases. Not to mention, coal contains a hazardous waste which was to blame in the largest industrial disaster ever recorded. On December 23rd, 2008, because of an unintended catastrophe, toxic ash was spilled on a tributary of the Tennessee River and sequentially contaminated water supply. Besides water quality, coal and most other fossil fuels endanger ambient air – with smog formations already covering most of China and now starting to amass over the U.S. Eastern coastline. To boot, energy consumption is rapidly increasing throughout America. The Department of Energy reports that, in 1950, the U.S. consumed roughly 70 billion kilowatt hours (KWH); flash forward to 2009, and that number has skyrocketed to over 1 trillion KWH. According to the Haynesville documentary, however, the United States does not yet have a fully integrated system to store energy; indicating that most clean energy solutions would be rendered useless until the proper technology is introduced.
Fortunately though, environmental researchers assure that the already established grid infrastructure can be converted to operate using natural gas. When considering the natural resource from an environmental standpoint, it is the least carbon intensive fossil fuel available; plus it is one of the least expensive forms of hydrocarbon since it is so abundant in the United States. It has been estimated that natural gas deposits found throughout America could support the entire country’s electricity output for around 104 years – with a projected net worth of $1,750,000,000,000 – and those figures only include already detected gas fields. More importantly still is the position of sustainability, and, like any form of fossil fuel, this resource will eventually run out. Natural gas can, however, play a vital role in sustaining our activities until advanced technology can be developed regarding grid infrastructure and power storage. This resource could be the stepping stone in providing America the precious time she needs to expand and advance renewable technologies, and will help to support many hurting families in the meanwhile. A short while after the Haynesville formation was unearthed, the Encana Oil and Gas Company discovered an additional shale formation 500 feet directly above the Haynesville gas field.