The Marcellus Shale alone accounts for one fifth of total U.S. natural gas production, and the massive deposit is partially responsible for the United States becoming one the the world leaders in energy production. The real power behind U.S. natural gas production comes from the shear quantity the country is able to produce. On the international market, the U.S. is quickly becoming determinant in setting energy prices, and as industry technology improves so will the country’s power over other producers. There is so much natural gas in the U.S. that, due to innovations in fracking technology, the country could supply its own needs for 400 years and those of the world for 85.
Economically, this kind of quantity of natural gas gives the United States incredible power in terms of international trade. Without flooding the market and driving prices down even further, shale reserves allow for the ability to act as a battery for global demand. Storing the newly available natural gas is vital to the economic power in fracking. In fact, the discover of new fracking methods and access to large shale formations such as the Marcellus formation has altered recent U.S. outlooks. Before 2008, the U.S. was prepared to allow increased imports of natural gas so as to keep up with domestic demand. Since then the country has become an exporter, and a powerful one at that.
However, this is not to say that natural gas production is fool-proof. Fracking as a means of retrieving the valuable resource is very sensitive to international prices. If global prices for natural gas drop too low, fracking is longer an economically viable method. As a result, a drop in prices in 2014 caused a call for the reduction of natural gas production in 2015 by some of the industry’s largest players.