Picarro Blog

The Promise of Natural Gas

Date: June 14, 2012

Natural gas will not live up to its promise without the vital support of a society focused on transparency.

One mustn’t look too far to find a story about natural gas production - whether from the perspective that it will transform the global economy or drive the climate past the point of no return. Whether you’re for gas or against it, the only chance we have to make clearheaded decisions about the issue is through credible measurements and complete transparency.

In a recent article in the NY Times, Dan Yergin, author of The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World and chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Davos this year, reports on how natural gas production, if done properly, stands to transform not just the U.S. but the global economy. Increased gas production in the Western Hemisphere, he writes, will mean fewer oil imports into the U.S. coming from the Eastern Hemisphere, which will in turn cause Middle Eastern exports to flow into Asia – a trend that stands to pull us out of the global recession.

But what about the dark side: contaminated groundwater, increased greenhouse gas emissions, toxic VOC leaks, land scaring, etc. etc.? Are these things inevitable? In the International Energy Agency’s recently released report “Golden Rules for the Golden Age of Gas,” Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven states, “The technology and the know-how already exist for unconventional gas to be produced in an environmentally acceptable way. But if the social and environmental impacts are not addressed properly, there is a very real possibility that public opposition to drilling for shale gas and other types of unconventional gas will halt the unconventional gas revolution in its tracks. The industry must win public confidence by demonstrating exemplary performance; governments must ensure that appropriate policies and regulatory regimes are in place.”

I wholeheartedly agree with Ms. Van der Hoeven, and I truly wish the natural gas industry to be wildly successful! To that end, Picarro is developing solutions that will enable scientists, NGOs, industry personnel, regulators, or anyone imaginable to provide complete transparency of emissions throughout the natural gas lifecycle, from fracking wells through distribution pipelines to kitchen stoves. Our transparency-generating solutions mean that the energy companies have complete control their own destiny. Their choice is to either come clean, be green and be safe; or risk being halted in their tracks by the rest of society empowered with Picarro solutions. What is it going to be?