Between the rising cost of heating oil and the news reports on a "glut" of natural gas and dramatically lowered prices, I just made an appointment to get an estimate to switch from Oil Heat to Natural Gas. I made an inquiry of friends on Facebook, and got the following warning about Natural Gas. The most important and unpredicted factor is Japan switching to Natural Gas after the recent, post-tsunami Nuclear disaster. (Click HERE for the recent NYT report confirming this!)
"Hi, Candace. Thanks for getting in touch. The big problem with natural gas is that the low pricing you see today is unlikely to last. The glut is exaggerated. The Department of Energy recently announced that proven gas reserves had been overestimated by 66%. At the same time, producers like Cheniere are developing export capabilities to ship to places like Japan, which has sworn off nuke power and turned to natural gas. If a world market develops, we'll be exposed to pricing that is now five times higher than what we see. ($16 per million BTUs in Asia vs. less than $4 in U.S. now). The Oilheat guys don't say much, but they are switching to a much cleaner fuel (ultra low sulfur) that they blend with biodiesel, much of which is repurposed waste cooking oil - true conservation of resources. Oil burners are very flexible. They do just as well with biofuel blends as with heating oil, so there is a path forward with diminishing fossil fuels that natural gas does not have. Oilheat has been cheaper than gas almost every year before fracking began, and the EPA might impose tougher standards on frackers. The price equation could turn very quickly. Does that help?"
Many thanks to this thoughtful warning.