An Era of Endless Energy Is At Hand

Sometimes the really important news is obscured by layers of transient trivia. Actually, that is usually the case. The most important things that happen on any given day are rarely noted. This one at least made the news: the North Dakota/Montana natural gas bonanza is at least twice as large as previously estimated:

The sea of oil and natural gas underneath North Dakota is far larger than first thought.

There are 7.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the western part of the state and extending into Montana, according to the latest estimate by the U.S. Geological Survey.

That’s more than twice the oil the USGS estimated could be recovered five years ago. What’s more, the USGS has nearly tripled its estimate of the natural gas available in the area.

The revised totals could make the North Dakota field the greatest oil and gas find ever in the continental United States, topping the fabled East Texas field that made Texas synonymous with oil wealth.

And experts say the current estimate is still conservative. So if your great-uncle was a Norwegian bachelor farmer in North Dakota, you have won the lottery.

Really, though, we have all won the lottery, if perhaps not the Powerball grand prize. The cost of energy is one of the key determinants of economic growth, and the United States is poised to become the world’s great energy superpower for the foreseeable future. Cheap energy is like an across the board tax cut: it lifts all the boats. If the U.S. only had a competent government, there would be no stopping us.

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