Nergy sources in the 21 st century: Is natural gas an environmentally and economically viable alternative to oil?

Actually, this is a research paper for Geology Class, not really for Geopgraphy.
Background Information
The majority of the energy consumed in the United States to power our homes, cars, and industry
comes from fossil fuel sources like oil, coal, and natural gas. Renewable sources, like wind and
solar, constitute a very small percentage of the total.
Despite calls for more domestic drilling and new sources of energy, Americaas reliance on
foreign oil has climbed steadily in recent years, from 44.5% of total consumption in 1995 to 57%
in 2010. The US burns 19.5 million barrels of oil a day, one quarter of world consumption and
more than China, Japan, India and Russia combined. Something to consider regarding our oil
dependency: every American man, woman & child uses 2.7 gallons of oil a day. There has been a major call to reduce Americaas dependence on foreign oil; others demand America use less oil
in general. Several sources of energy have been getting widespread press recently as alternatives
to foreign oil including natural gas, so-called a?cleana? coal, and shale oil.
Assignment
1) First you must research and write about these 5 topics:
(a) Geological factors. How does natural gas form? Where is it generally found within
the Earth?
(b) Natural Gas Reserves. How much natural gas is found in the U.S.? Where are the
reserves located? Include maps in your paper. How difficult (and expensive) is it to
extract natural gas from the ground? How is the gas extracted? What is hydraulic
fracturing (fracking)?
(c) Transportation. Where are the reserves located? Are they close to major cities,
ports, train tracks, etc.? How is natural gas transported? Does the U.S. already have
infrastructure to transport large amounts of natural gas or will it need to be built?
(d) Environmental factors. How environmentally friendly is burning natural gas? How
environmentally friendly is the extraction of natural gas? What are the impacts of
extracting the gas? What is hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and what is its environmental
impact? Fracking and its impact on the environment has been in the news a lot recently.
Can environmental issues associated with fracking be overcome?
(e) Economic factors. What does it currently cost to extract natural gas? What impact
will expanded used of fracking have on the cost to extract natural gas? How does the
cost of natural gas compare to that of oil?
2) Then, you must state your answer to the title question a?is natural gas an environmentally and
economically viable alternative to oil?a?
3) Then, you must support/defend your answer (2) above.
Resources To Get Started With
Here are some websites that will help you get started with your research. Note that you may not
use Wikipedia as a reference, but you may certainly use the references cited on Wikipedia. Be
sure to reference any information cited in your paper.
afdc/fuels/natural_gas.html
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Try to find the most up-to-date information possible a your references will be checked, so make
sure they are reputable as well as full of good information. Spend time looking for good sources
and make sure you reference them properly in your text. Try not to depend on just one good
reference a using multiple references roughly equally will look good when your paper is graded.
This paper should be an insightful analysis of the United Statesa natural gas reserves and their
usefulness in alleviating Americaas oil dependence.
Assigment Requirements
The paper should be double-spaced with 1a? margins a use a 12 font. Build your paper using as
many references as you find necessary. Your references may be all from the web, or they may
be from newspapers or reputable newsmagazines. The a?References Citeda? section constitutes
part of page 5 of your paper (donat leak into 6 pages).
Please be sure to read the instructions for writing GEL 1 papers. See document
WritingGEL1papers.pdf on the course SmartSite. Following these guidelines is imperative
for getting a good grade and learning to be a coherent writer.