When natural gas exploration companies began what has become a nationwide drilling boom, they pointed to energy independence, but the Associated Press reports this morning that U.S. producers are poised to ship vast quantities of their gas overseas in order to get a higher price.
"As the industry looks to profit from foreign markets, there is the specter of higher prices at home and increased manufacturing costs for products from plastics to fertilizers," AP reported. "If approved, the resulting boom could lead to further increases in hydraulic fracturing."
Hydraulic fracturing—better known as fracking—is a highly controversial method of injecting pressurized liquids and solids into the earth's crust in order to free up more gas and oil deposits.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration says that natural gas production has increased by one-third since 2005.
Meanwhile, three separate companies—Energy West Corporation, Jetez Petroleum and Snake River Oil and Gas—have been conducting a unique process called vibroseising in which they shake the earth in western Idaho and eastern Oregon to determine where best to explore for natural gas.
Another company, Bridge Resources—once trumpeted as the face of Idaho's new gas exploration bonanza—limped away from its Idaho operations after negotiating scores of Idaho land leases but ultimately collapsing under financial troubles. Snake River Oil and Gas snapped up much of Bridge Resource's assets in March 2012.