With the announcement of the $31 billion purchase of natural gas producer XTO Energy, Exxon left no doubt where it thinks the future of energy is headed. While natural gas prices are in the tank right now, this is still good news on every front. The United States is the Saudi Arabia of natural gas, we’ve got enough to fuel our economy for many decades. It’s a home-grown energy source so we’re not shipping petro-dollars off to dictators and terrorists. It’s got a much smaller carbon output per btu than diesel or gasoline. And as American-based fields are developed there will be lots of pipeline and construction work to be had.
What we need now is for the federal government to develop an energy policy that will turn this gamble by Exxon, and any other company that gets into this market, into a sustainable business model. That would certainly do more for the economy and the environment than all the jaw-jacking going in in Copenhagen this week. Useful charts here if you follow the energy business.
And it’s not like we’ve got to reinvent the wheel to start using natural gas in trucks and vehicles. Unlike plug-in hybrids, all-electric vehicles and fuel cells, for a little bit of coin you can convert any car or truck right now to burn natural gas.