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It is even better, Glenn



Instapundit was one of the first bloggers to see the potential of hydraulic fracturing, which digs deep in the Earth to tap into previously unrecoverable oil and natural gas reserves. Me too. This was, heck, 15 years ago when oil rigs began arriving in North Dakota to get the oil in the Bakken Field.

Warren Buffett also saw the potential and made billions by buying the railroad that would haul the oil to market. That's why he's a billionaire and I am a thousandaire. Good for him.

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds wrote today, "Right now, the country with the world’s biggest oil reserves — Venezuela — is putting out a fraction of its traditional production, as a corrupt and inept socialist government has lost the ability even to keep the golden goose going. Meanwhile, Iraq is in turmoil, Iran is crazy and Saudi Arabia has been looking shaky.

"Despite all this, oil and gas prices are holding steady, and while what’s going on in the Middle East constitutes a diplomatic crisis, it’s nothing like the sort of earthshaking trouble it would have been a decade or two ago.

"Why is that? Because frackers have turned the United States from nation deeply dependent on imported oil to a net exporter and the world’s single largest producer of oil and gas.

"For decades, U.S. foreign policy and defense strategy revolved around keeping the flow of oil from the Middle East going. Now it’s an afterthought. In fact, though the Navy used to have to be able to keep the Strait of Hormuz open so that oil could flow out against possible Iranian efforts to stop it, now the Navy only needs to be able to keep the strait closed, keeping Iran from selling the oil it produces for revenue it desperately needs."

Right on!

But fracking also is leading to a re-industrialization of the rust belt.

Shell invested $6 billion in a factory that will turn fracked natural gas in the Appalachians into feedstock for manufacturing. While this will never make Charleston, West Virginia, the Chemical Valley again, the plant will give the economies of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia a great boost.

Too bad New York state banned fracking. Rochester needs jobs.

Do not take my word for it. Nature.com wrote 2 years ago, "For decades, the industry's raw ingredients have mostly come from crude oil. Chemical plants break down long hydrocarbon molecules in crude to produce a smorgasbord of smaller molecules, such as ethene, propene and benzene — all important precursors to polymers.

"But shale gas, which is composed mainly of methane, ethane and propane, is turning that pathway on its head. The abundance of the gas has slashed the costs of these molecules. As a result, some are now usurping large hydrocarbons as the preferred starting point for industrial synthesis.

"This shift from oil to gas brings enormous opportunities. According to the American Chemistry Council, a trade group based in Washington, the shale boom has attracted about $160 billion in investment from the US chemical industry since 2011, and will help to create half a million jobs in plastics manufacturing over the coming decade1. But it also poses huge challenges. Some of the main techniques that are used to turn the components of shale gas into more valuable compounds — processes generally known as upgrading — are decades-old, dirty and energy-intensive. And they rarely produce the same mix of chemicals as conventional oil-based routes, which means that some relatively minor, yet valuable, chemicals such as butadiene, an ingredient of synthetic rubber, are becoming scarcer.

"These challenges are driving an intensive research effort, spanning industry and academia, to develop catalysts and reactors that can transmute small hydrocarbons in cleaner, cheaper and more efficient ways."

Which is why Shell is building that plant in Potter Township, Pennsylvania.

There is a third benefit. The cheap natural gas from fracking makes it an economically viable alternative to coal in the production of electricity. I have no problem with coal. The nation's 10th largest coal fired plant across the river from me.

But if natural gas is cheaper, go for it.

Fracking is safe. It leads to energy independence, an ability to leave the Middle East, chemical manufacturing jobs, and cheap electricity. We also are going to enter the European market and give old Vlad Putin conpetition. Only a communist or a puppet of Putin would oppose fracking.

Democrats oppose fracking.

I rest my case.

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