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The Golden Age of Gas... Possibly: An Interview With The IEA

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Submitted by James Stafford via,

The potential for a golden age of gas comes along with a big “if” regarding environmental and social impact. The International Energy Agency (IEA)—the “global energy authority”--believes that this age of gas can be golden, and that unconventional gas can be produced in an environmentally acceptable way.

In an exclusive interview with, IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven, discusses:

  • The potential for a golden age of gas
  • What will the “age” means for renewables
  • What it means for humanity
  • The challenges of renewable investment and technology
  • How the US shale boom is reshaping the global economy
  • Nuclear’s contribution to energy security
  • What is holding back Europe’s energy markets
  • The next big shale venues beyond 2020
  • The reality behind “fire ice”
  • Condensate and the crude export ban
  • The most critical energy issue facing the world today

Interview by. James Stafford of In 2011, the IEA predicted what it called “the golden age of gas,” with gas production rising 50% over the next 25 years. What does this “golden age” mean for coal, oil and nuclear energy—and for renewables? What does it mean for humanity in terms of carbon emissions? Is the natural gas boom lessening the sense of urgency to work towards renewable energy solutions?

IEA: We didn’t predict a golden age of gas in 2011, we merely asked a pertinent question: namely, are we entering a golden age of gas? And we found that the potential for such a golden age certainly exists, especially given the scale of unconventional gas resources and the advances in technology that allow their extraction. But the potential for a golden age of gas hinges on a big “if,” and we elaborated on this in 2012 in a report called “Golden Rules for a Golden Age of Gas”. Exploiting the world’s vast resources of unconventional natural gas holds the key to golden age of gas, we said, but for that to happen, governments, industry and other stakeholders must work together to address legitimate public concerns about the associated environmental and social impacts. Fortunately, we believe that unconventional gas can be produced in an environmentally acceptable way.

Under the central scenario of the World Energy Outlook-2013, natural gas production rises to 4.98 trillion cubic metres (tcm) in 2035, up nearly 50 percent from 3.38 tcm in 2011. But we have always said that a golden age of gas does not necessarily imply a golden age for humanity, or for our climate. An expansion of gas use alone is no panacea for climate change. While natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel, it is still a fossil fuel. As we have seen in the United States, the drastic increase in shale gas production has caused coal’s share of electricity generation to slide. Of course, there is also the possibility that increased use of gas could muscle out low-carbon fuels, such as renewables and nuclear, from the energy mix.

OP: When will we see “the golden age of renewables”?

IEA: Although we have not yet predicted a “golden age” of renewables, the current, rapid growth of renewable power is a bright spot in an otherwise bleak picture of global progress towards a cleaner and more diversified energy mix. Still, the investment case for capital-intensive, low carbon power technologies carries challenges. We need to distinguish between two situations:

•    In emerging economies, renewable power often provides a cost-competitive alternative to new fossil based generation and are perceived as part of the solution to questions of energy supply, diversification, and economic development. In China, for example, efforts to reduce local pollution are stimulating major investments in cleaner energy.

•    By contrast, in stable systems with sluggish demand, no technology is competitive with marginal electricity prices, due to overcapacity. Governments are nervous about increasing investment in low-carbon options which impact on consumer prices, and this is causing policy uncertainty. But long term energy security and environmental goals need to be kept in mind.

The overall outlook for renewable electricity remains positive, even as the outlook can vary strongly by market and region. However, the electricity sector comprises less than 20% of total final energy consumption. The growth of renewables in other sectors such as transport and heat has been more sluggish. For a golden age of renewables to materialise, greater progress is needed in these areas, for example, with the development of advanced biofuels and more policy frameworks for renewable heat.

OP: How is the shale boom reshaping the global financial and economic system? Who are the winners and losers in this emerging scenario?

IEA: One of the key messages of our World Energy Outlook-2013 is that lower energy prices in the United States mean that it is well-placed to reap an economic advantage, while higher costs for energy-intensive industries in Europe and Japan are set to be a heavy burden.

Natural gas prices have fallen sharply in the United States – mainly as a result of the shale gas boom –  and today they are about three times lower than in Europe and five times lower than in Japan. Electricity price differentials are also large, with Japanese and European industrial consumers paying on average more than twice as much for electricity as their counterparts in the United States, and even Chinese industry paying  almost double the US level.

Looking to the future, the WEO found that the United States sees its share of global exports of energy-intensive goods slightly increase to 2035, providing the clearest indication of the link between relatively low energy prices and the industrial outlook. By contrast, the European Union and Japan see their share of global exports decline – a combined loss of around one-third of their current share.

OP: The IEA has noted that the US is no longer so dependent on Canadian oil and gas. What could this mean for pending approval of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline? How important is Keystone XL to the US as opposed to its importance for Canada?

IEA: The decision on the Keystone matter is one that must be taken by the United States Government. I am afraid it is not for the IEA to comment.

OP: With the nuclear issue taking center stage in Japan’s election atmosphere, is Japan ready to pull the plug entirely on nuclear, or is it too soon for that?

IEA: This year’s World Energy Outlook, which we will release in November 2014, will carry a special focus on nuclear energy, so please stay tuned. While I won’t discuss what Japan should do, I will say that every country has a sovereign right to decide on the role of nuclear power in its energy mix. Nevertheless, nuclear is one of the world’s largest sources of low-carbon energy, and as such, it has made and should continue to make an important contribution to energy security and sustainability.

A country’s decision to cut the share of nuclear in its energy mix could open up new opportunities for renewables, particularly as some phase-out plans envision the replacement of nuclear capacity largely with renewable energy sources. However, such a decision would also likely lead to higher demand for gas and coal, higher electricity prices, increased import dependency on fossil fuels and electricity, and a more difficult path towards decarbonisation. Such a scenario would therefore make it much more difficult for the world to meet the 2°C climate stabilisation goal, and have potentially negative impacts on energy security.

OP: What is the key factor holding back European energy markets?

IEA: Europe has quite a few advantages but also many hurdles to overcome. If I had to pick one key factor that is holding back European energy markets, I would say it is the lack of cross-border interconnections. Let me explain what I mean. As we showed in WEO 2013, Europe's competitiveness is under pressure, as energy price differences grow between Europe and its major trading partners – the US, China and Russia. High oil and gas import prices combined with low gas and electricity demand, following the recession, are impacting European economies.

Europe should accelerate the use of its indigenous potential and reap the social and economic benefits from energy efficiency, renewable energies and unconventional oil and gas. In open economies, there are significant advantages to be gained from free trade and a large energy market. One example: Today, we cannot make use of competitive electricity prices across the EU, as physical trade barriers exist and markets remain national. Europe is failing to achieve its potential. The electricity grid and system integration is very low, which also serves as a barrier to the full and efficient exploitation of renewable energy potentials. This is why addressing the issue of cross-border interconnections is so important.

OP: Where do you foresee the next “shale boom”?

IEA: According to WEO projections, there will be little non-North American shale development before 2020 due to the much earlier stage of exploration and the time needed to build up the oil field service value chain. Beyond 2020, we project large-scale shale gas production in China, Argentina, Australia as well as significant light tight oil production in Russia. The current reform proposals in Mexico have the potential to put Mexico on the top of that list as well, but they need to be properly implemented.

OP: What is the realistic future of methane hydrates, or “fire ice”?

IEA: Methane hydrates may offer a means of further increasing the supply of natural gas. However, producing gas from methane hydrates poses huge technological challenges, and the relevant extraction technology is in its infancy. Both in Canada and Japan the first test drillings have taken place, and the Japanese government is aiming to achieve commercial production in 10 to 15 years.

One thing I always mention when I am asked about methane hydrates is this: It may seem far off and uncertain, but keep in mind that shale gas was in the same position 10 to 15 years ago. So we cannot rule out that new energy revolutions may take place through technological developments and price incentives.

OP: Have we hit the “crude wall” in the US, the point at which oil production growth may end up slowing due to infrastructure and regulatory constraints?

IEA: In January 2013, the IEA’s Oil Market Report examined the possibility that as surging production continues to move the US closer to becoming a net oil exporter, there may come a time when various regulations, particularly the US ban on exports of crude oil to countries other than Canada, could have an adverse impact on continued investment in LTO – and thus continued growth in production. We called this point the “crude wall”.

A year later, in our January 2014 Oil Market Report, we noted that with US crude oil production exceeding even the boldest of expectations in 2013 by a wide margin, the crude wall now seems to be looming larger than ever. Having said that, challenges to US production growth are not imminent. Potential US growth in 2014 seems a given, even against the backdrop of resurgent non-OPEC supply growth outside North America.

OP: How is this shaping the crude export debate and where do you foresee this debate leading by the end of this year?

IEA: You are better off asking my friends and colleagues in Washington! This is obviously a sensitive topic. Different people feel differently about it, often very strongly. Oil policy always is the product of multiple, sometimes-competing considerations.

OP: What would lifting the ban on crude exports mean for US refiners, and for the US economy?

IEA: Many refiners and other major oil consumers have said they support keeping the ban amid worries that allowing exports would result in higher feedstock costs and erode their competitive advantage, or shift value-added industry abroad. On the other hand, oil producers have in general come out in favour of lifting the ban, arguing that the “crude wall” may become so large that it cannot be overcome; they see the possibility of a glut causing prices to slump and thereby choking off production. We have not produced any detailed analysis on the economic impact of lifting the ban, so I cannot comment on that part of your question.

OP: Are there any other ways around the “crude wall” aside from lifting the export ban?

IEA: As we wrote in our January 2014 Oil Market Report, much of the LTO is produced in the form of lease condensate, which is most optimally processed in a condensate splitter. There is currently only one such facility in the United States, although at least five others are in various stages of planning and construction.

I mention this issue because one could imagine a scenario under which lease condensate is excluded from the crude export restriction. The US Department of Commerce, which enforces the export ban, includes lease condensates in the definition of crude oil. However, this definition could be changed, or the Commerce Department could simply issue lease condensate export licenses at the behest of the President.

OP: How will the six-month agreement to ease sanctions on Iran affect Iranian oil production? And if international sanctions are indeed lifted after this “trial period”, how long will it take Iran to affect a real increase in production?

IEA: The deal between P5+1 and Iran doesn’t change the oil sanctions themselves. The oil sanctions remain fully in place though the P5+1 agreed not to tighten them further. Relaxing insurance sanctions doesn’t mean more oil in the market.

As for the second part of your question, I am afraid I can’t answer hypotheticals and what-ifs.

OP: What is the single most critical energy issue in the US this year?

IEA: I think that if you take the view that the energy-policy decisions you make now have ramifications for many decades to come, and if you believe what scientists tell us about the climate consequences of our energy consumption, then the single most critical energy issue in the US is the same issue for every country: what are you going to do with your energy policy to mitigate the risk of climate change? Energy is responsible for two-thirds of greenhouse-gas emissions, and right now these emissions are on track to cause global temperatures to rise between 3.6 degrees C and 5.3 degrees C. If we stay on our present emissions pathway, we are not going to come close to achieving the globally agreed target of limiting the rise in temperatures to 2 degrees C; we are instead going to have a catastrophe. So energy clearly has to be part of the climate solution – both in the short- and long-term.

OP: What is the IEA’s role in shaping critical energy issues globally and how can its influence be described, politically and intellectually?

IEA: Founded in response to the 1973/4 oil crisis, the IEA was initially meant to help countries co-ordinate a collective response to major disruptions in oil supply through the release of emergency oil stocks to the markets.

While this continues to be a key aspect of our work, the IEA has evolved and expanded over the last 40 years. I like to think of the IEA today as the global energy authority. We are at the heart of global dialogue on energy, providing authoritative statistics, analysis and recommendations. This applies both to our member countries as well as to the key emerging economies that are driving most of the growth in energy demand – and with whom we cooperate on an increasingly active basis.


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Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:13 | 4424091 Mercury
Mercury's picture

Obama could have been pushing (instead of fighting) this from day 1 under the guise (if necessary) of a trasition to a cleaner major fuel source.

If nothing else (from his perspective) the subsequent economic boost would have allowed him to have gotten away with far more fantasy, unicorn and rainbow shit.

Instead we get this phony, green energy, taxpayer raping, crony circus and a bunch of aborted and stillborn programs that haven't improved anything.

Not so smart after all.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:15 | 4424125 NOZZLE
NOZZLE's picture

Merc, the only thing Obanga is focused on pushing is someone else's fudge. Making the US more powerful is the last thing on his mind.  Besides, its so much fun watching one of Uncle Warren's trains of death derail and burn an entire town to the ground instead of building a pipeline.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:27 | 4424192 Stoploss
Stoploss's picture

I guess no one was paying attention when he said his primary goal was to downsize America..



Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:58 | 4424259 SRSrocco
SRSrocco's picture

ANOTHER PUFF PIECE:  Amazing how intelligent and at the same time how really STUPID we are.  It seems as if no one at the IEA understands "ANNUAL DECLINE RATES." 

The first 4 large shale gas fields that came online in the U.S. were the Barnett, Woodford, Fayetteville and Haynesville.  Right now, all four have peaked and are in decline.  Only one is treading water.

The COMBINED PEAK of natural gas production from these 4 large shale gas fields was about 17 Bcf... Billion cubic feet a day.  Again... that's the total peak production of all 4 fields combined.

Citi put out a report in 2013 stating the ANNUAL DECLINE RATE for U.S. Natural Gas production was 24%.  Thus, with a 71.5 Bcf rate at the end of 2013, the U.S. Shale Gas Players have to add 17 Bcf in 2014, 2015, 2016 and so on and so forth.... to keep production from falling.

That means, the U.S. shale gas industry has to add a BARNETT, WOODFORD, FAYETTEVILLE & HAYNESVILLE each year to keep production flat --- forget about growing.

The only shale gas field that has kept U.S. natural gas production from declining is the mighty Marcellus.  Even though the Marcellus still has a lot of gas to produce... SHALE GAS DECLINE RATES ARE A REAL BEE-OTCH

It will be interesting to see how this unfolds as the world realizes SHALE ENERGY was just another PONZI SCHEME in a line of PONZI SCHEMES.

Bill Powers, who I believe is one of the more astute Energy Analysts, believes we are going to see much higher natural gas prices.  Industry analysts forecast natural gas prices at $4.50 MMBtu with 10-20 years of growing production.  We all ready hit $5.40 MMBtu and the fun is only just beginning.... Silly analysts.

God Hath A Sense of Humor...


2014: The Year The U.S. Shale Gas Bubble Bursts & The Boom For Precious Metals?
Tue, 02/11/2014 - 14:03 | 4424317 samsara
samsara's picture

"Citi put out a report in 2013 stating the ANNUAL DECLINE RATE for U.S. Natural Gas production was 24%. Thus, with a 71.5 Bcf rate at the end of 2013, the U.S. Shale Gas Players have to add 17 Bcf in 2014, 2015, 2016 and so on and so forth.... to keep production from falling."

For God's sakes man.  Don't confuse them with facts.  Their face gets all funny and they melt down in obscenities.

We're talking Unicorns here!    and and and skittles..... 

ya can lead a man to knowledge, but you can't make them think.

Tell them "I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. "

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 21:03 | 4426110 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture



...or Tuesday afternoon wry humor.

Amazing how intelligent and at the same time how really STUPID we are.

The intelligent will laugh at this article, the naive will believe it.

It seems as if no one at the IEA understands "ANNUAL DECLINE RATES."

Any of them who do understand it keep their mouths shut if they want to remain employed there. As for IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven, she is paid specifically not to understand it.

She even uses retard math:

Natural gas prices have fallen sharply in the United States – mainly as a result of the shale gas boom –  and today they are about three times lower than in Europe and five times lower than in Japan.

Three times lower? Five times lower? These expressions do not make any sense. If an item is priced at 100, what would five times lower be? Five times 100 is 500. Would the price then be 100 minus 500? It might be reasonable to assume that she means US NG prices are one third of those in Europe and one fifth of those in Japan, but it might not be reasonable to assume that she knows what she means.

Of course, the article carried the obligatory fairy tale narrative:

surging production continues to move the US closer to becoming a net oil exporter

However, what set this piece apart was the punchline regarding US oil production:

challenges to US production growth are not imminent.

That's uproariously funny, in a full retard kind of way.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:50 | 4424275 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

That is why the past 5 years have seen the greatest increases in the production of oil and gas that the country has ever seen...


BHO had nothing to do with it, but he sure did not get in the way...

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:18 | 4424134 swanpoint
swanpoint's picture


Tue, 02/11/2014 - 14:05 | 4424328 nuclearsquid
nuclearsquid's picture

YEAH, GO U.S.!  We have all this cheap gas.  So much we can export!  We can celebrate by spending all the Yuan people will be paying us for said gas.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:16 | 4424136 TideFighter
TideFighter's picture


Tue, 02/11/2014 - 19:32 | 4425746 scrappy
scrappy's picture

(waving my arms around and muttering things to myself)



Wed, 02/12/2014 - 07:39 | 4427350 Joseff Stalin
Joseff Stalin's picture

Methane is 20 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide.  Methane hydrate in the permafrost and Artic sea floor is decomposing at an alarming accelerating rate.  A positive feedback loop now exists.  We must convert as much of this methane to carbon dioxide as fast as possible.


In the past geologic history of this planet, global heating occurred once before.  All higher life forms died.  Only thermophilic bacteria survived.  All life forms on this planet are descended from these thermophilic bacteria.

We must harvest the decomposing methane hydrate at the greatest possible rate in order to protect ourselves from extermination. In all of history, this is a thing to do, and do it now.


Send letters to board of Directors of Sea Drill, Golar LNG, and Fluor Corporations encouraging them to design and build the floater rigs to capture and market this methane. Go long SDRL, GLNG.

Also send letters to the major oil and gas companies, XON, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell and Gasprom.


Also send letters to the Rothschilds and their banks, encouraging them to finance the venture.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:13 | 4424116 NOZZLE
NOZZLE's picture

Ooooo, this is not going to force Americans to spend more for renewables. This is not good for the environment, its going to incwease GweenHouse gASSes, make CO2GasGore really upthet, turn the oceans acidic and destroy coral reefs (Yeak okay an atomic Bomb at Bikini Atol failed to accomplish that but for sure CO2 will), cause massive droughts and increase the fly counts swarming around the faces of TurdWorld types while they bang their tin pans demanding more American grain. 

Idiots, I cant wait for the next Warren Buffet railroad train full of oil to derail and incinerate an entire town so the press can ignore that and instead focus on fracturing limestone with sand, water and horrible chemicals like, like NACL and, and HCL and C3H8O  otherwise known as wood alcohol.  Oh the humanities.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:36 | 4424234 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

MDB got nuthin on you...

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:18 | 4424135 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

The IEA is pretty consistently wrong on such things as regards predictions, but prediction is hard for everyone.

The only quality in that interview was the discussion of how shale oil (LTO) is mostly lease condensate, which qualifies as "oil" only because of somewhat loose definitions.  LTO is very light on the important fractions, diesel and kerosene.  There has been some debate on this, but there are articles out noting Eagleford shale output (which exceeds the Bakken) contains a tiny amount of those fractions compared to what is in conventionel, proper Nigerian oil.

Why does this matter?  BTUs.  The less energy that is in what comes out of the ground, the worse the ratio of energy required per energy out.  In the end, this ratio is far more important than cost to drill vs price obtained.



Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:23 | 4424152 Mercury
Mercury's picture

I'm not sure they're right about nat gas being (solely) a fossil fuel either. How many dinosaurs were on Titan?

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:25 | 4424160 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

Somewhat not important.  Regardless of origin, you can only drill where the geology says it might be trapped.  Origin is not important.  Only geology is.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:26 | 4424181 perelmanfan
perelmanfan's picture

Origin matters because it indicates potential supply. Biotic oil is limited, abiotic is potentially far more abundant.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:36 | 4424226 Apply Force
Apply Force's picture

And flow per time is the context - how much, how fast, regardless of origin?

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:36 | 4424228 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

Nope.  Not at all.

There are still only so many occurences of geologic trap rock structures in the right kinds of rock.  It doesn't matter at all what origin is.  100 years of drilling has shown that you fail 100% of the time drilling anywhere the geology isn't the right kind to trap hydrocarbons.  You fail often even in the right geology -- but in neither case does the analysis of seismic imagery care one iota where the hydrocarbons came from.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 19:36 | 4425766 scrappy
scrappy's picture

Don't those ruskies target crevices in the crust to drill for deep oil?

Anyway here is a crazy debate...


Wed, 02/12/2014 - 07:49 | 4427362 Joseff Stalin
Joseff Stalin's picture
USSR Gas Well Blow Out = Nuclear Bomb Puts Out The Fire

Wed, 02/12/2014 - 09:22 | 4427502 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Abiotic oil, even if it were to actually exist, is about as relevant as teats on a bull...

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:38 | 4424243 Matt
Matt's picture

How fast do you think the oil is going to get generated? Have you heard of empty wells suddenly oozing oil out of their casings due to having refilled again?

Even if you go with young-earth creation, that oil took at least 4000 years to fill up a reservoir, and then we suck it all out in 40 years.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 22:32 | 4426444 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

that makes too much sense Matt, we must reject it

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 19:34 | 4425759 thestarl
thestarl's picture

Suppose the worlds only 5000 yrs old to and there will be a second coming some time soon

Wed, 02/12/2014 - 09:28 | 4427517 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

And that about sums up the prospects for abiotic oil...

It begs the question, WWJD?  where D is Drive....

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:35 | 4424210 Mercury
Mercury's picture

Origin is important if the imperative is for renewable energy sources.


The revolution is shale gas wasn’t about detecting it’s presence via geology but overcoming the difficulty of extracting it. Besides, the geology also says nat gas is in places like landfills.


Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:38 | 4424236 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

You don't understand the business.  You drill for nat gas in geologic traps and you are only commercially viable if there are NGLs there.  Natural Gas Liquids like butane and propane and ethane.  THOSE are what pay the bills for the drilling.  Gas is a by-product of NGL recovery. 

Dry gas vs wet gas is the difference between shut down and production.  You can get paid if you flow butane.  If all you flow is methane, you will not drill another well.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:58 | 4424309 Mercury
Mercury's picture

As per my earlier point, maybe the government should have been looking into what they could do to help out those economics instead of wasting capital on windmills and solar.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 14:05 | 4424329 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Care to fathom what the level of subsidies (direct or otherwise) are for fossil fuels are?

Are you familiar with the concept of  "Depletion Allowance".... 

Hell, Exxon's tax break alone dwarfs all of renewable subsidies combined...

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 14:21 | 4424402 Mercury
Mercury's picture

So buy XOM.

Sure it's unfair.  I think everyone should have a depletion allowance.

There are more things that the government could do to increase demand instead of just encouraging production.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 14:35 | 4424450 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Here, this might be what you are looking for:

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:51 | 4424231 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Recycling that old canard are we?

Point to all the NG fields currently being exploited that are not associated with sedimentary rocks...

Moreover, comment on the observed NG Carbon isotope ratios compared to the known primordal ratios from study of moon rocks and the like...

There was no doubt a lot of primordial NG associated with the formation of the earth, but that stuff is long gone... 

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:17 | 4424138 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Too many people, finite resources.

Either we have fewer people, or more renewable energy.

Unfortunately, renewables cannot do the work of non-renewables - especially in food production.

We cannot sustain the trajectory of the past 100 years with non-renewables, renewables, or a combination of both any more than the FED can float equities in perpetuity with QE.

There are going to have to be fewer people.

BTW - using natural gas to run vehicles is going to make home heating unaffordable for many.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:23 | 4424159 Gumbum
Gumbum's picture


Turns out that exponential growth is a bitch...

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:48 | 4424274 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

Exponential growth ends with a total die off when there are no longer enough resources to sustain the population.  Look at bacteria in a petrie dish.


Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:29 | 4424201 perelmanfan
perelmanfan's picture

Maybe. The average European uses less than half the energy of the average American, but their quality of life is almost certainly better. A vast amount of efficiency accomodation can be made in the U.S. before a nation this size can no longer support this many people.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:57 | 4424303 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

Lots of luck relocating all those living in the exurbs closer to jobs in cities (those that still have jobs that is).  As for all those living in places uninhabitable withoug 24/7 AC ......  well, a lack of water may empty the Southwest and once Florida is underwater, that issue will be solved but all that will take a little time.

And just TRY and make Americans give up their second and third cars, their power EVRYTHING, air conditioners, etc.

Our great-grandchildren (if there are any around by then) will be lucky to have a medieval level lifestyle - which seems to be the goal of those who would be our future 'Lords and Masters'.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 14:21 | 4424393 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Eb, I don't disagree, but I'd qualify your position with the statement that "renewables cannot do the work of non-renewables at current usage models".

If we change the Usage Model, then this is entirely possible and -- I'd argue -- inevitable in a world with a growing population, that demands a hi-consumption/Western lifestyle.

Such changes include not only RRR (Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle), but shortening the Supply Lines to lesser dependance on Long Distance transport via inefficient vehicles (trucks!), and a transition to more Regional and Local Sourcing.  Certain non-perishable and vital supplies can and will have to be transported by rail and ships (ocean and inland Merchant Marine), as they are amazingly fuel efficient (MPG per ton).

Unless large planes become even more fuel efficient, or switch their Jet Fuel (Kerosene from Petroleum) to LNG (Liquified Nat Gas), their operating costs will remain at the mercy of Oil prices.

Wed, 02/12/2014 - 08:06 | 4427381 Joseff Stalin
Joseff Stalin's picture
Oil Driller Breaches Salt Mine Under Louisana Lake

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:38 | 4424154 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Maria van der Hoeven, unlike previous IEA appointees, is in way over her head... 

Check out her background if you don't believe me...

A mouthpiece for hire....

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:22 | 4424157 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture

if you believe what scientists tell us about the climate consequences of our energy consumption


That darn 'if' is always causing trouble.  The ideologues are telling us that energy consumption has catastrophic climate consequences.  The science - the actual data - not so much.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:24 | 4424170 Gumbum
Gumbum's picture


The actual data is telling us the same thing.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:42 | 4424246 Apply Force
Apply Force's picture

When data points are too few and/or irrelevent the consequent predictions suck.  See most climate data with "predictive" value.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 14:21 | 4424406 Apply Force
Apply Force's picture

Your first link from the 75 study shows runaway warming in the co2 predictive model.  Nope.  Something less than that, so back to the soooo many interactions, both chemical and physical, that need to be taken into account to get a proper predictive model.  And never mind volcano eruptions and solar cycles (talking Landscheidt, not simply TSI).  And Svensmark has a bunch right as well, imho.  And how might the Galactic Year influnence climate? Then you link skepticalscience, which is almost as dogmatic as WUWT.  C'mon.  Our models are principally incomplete, but we have plenty of arrogance and hubris to back them up!

The pollution data about DDT and PCB's effect on phytoplankton is the deadly part - pollution kills.  Ask the birds, fish, turtles, etc eating plastic from the Pacific gyre - or ask the bees since we are still not sure why CCD is happening.  Lots of mass die-offs right now - not so sure we will all be around to see how the climate may change anyway.

And lastly, the merits of climactic science fail principally by the terms they work from - not the best source, but the info presented is a good place to work from:




Tue, 02/11/2014 - 14:27 | 4424431 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Are you taking something for your verbal diarrhea? You should consider it...

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 15:03 | 4424554 Apply Force
Apply Force's picture

And there's the tell...  Too much to consider, better that you just shut down.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 15:32 | 4424712 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

It is very hard to address a fractally wrong post, as was the case for yours...

Yes, SKS is dogmatic in that they adhere to peer reviewed science to make their point, instead relying on disingenous manipulation of figures and other forms of bullshit...

But, hey why don't you simply read the original paper?

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 16:04 | 4424853 Apply Force
Apply Force's picture

Read it - hence my references to DDT and PCB's from your first link.  Did you read it?

Procedural BS and Terms of Reference cloud so much of what "science" is performed and/or reported in any field (climate, health - anything), perhaps especially in well-established channels, that much could be best referred to as propaganda.  Peer review as a standard in and of itself is currently lacking - sorry.

How about you address Landscheit,

 Svensmark and/or the Galactic Year in regard to long tem climate - or is it all a bit much to piece together?  There is more to long term climate than our limited models are able to predict.

I think we both agree pollution is bad; I simply have less faith in your crystal ball.


Tue, 02/11/2014 - 16:30 | 4424969 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Show one shred of evidence that cosmic rays are anything but the tiniest of climatic perturbations. I suggest you learn about the CLOUD experiment...

And yes, we do shit in our crib, that is hardly news nor is as responsible as ocean acidification vis a vis phytoplankton...

And why is it that the only place where peer review has "failed" is climate science but it seems to get more everything else correct...

So please take your psuedo-scientific bullshit climastrology and shove it up your ass. The adults are trying to have a real discussion...

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 17:40 | 4425235 TuPhat
TuPhat's picture

Flak, when will you be an adult?

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 19:24 | 4425712 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

I am still waiting for your elucidation of QED...

Sorry, anyone claiming astrological cycles explain climate science needs to be called out...

Deal with it...

Now, how about that lesson in QED?

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 21:39 | 4426247 Apply Force
Apply Force's picture

You are perhaps less thoughtful than I had imagined.  Oh well, I'll still read your views on BTU's.

Wed, 02/12/2014 - 00:56 | 4426913 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Sorry to disappoint you...

But don't try to play poseur with me...

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 22:40 | 4426489 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

"And never mind volcano eruptions and solar cycles"

you're right never mind them, they're an incredibly small factor

"Published reviews of the scientific literature by Moerner and Etiope (2002) and Kerrick (2001) report a minimum-maximum range of emission of 65 to 319 million tonnes of CO2 per year. Counter claims that volcanoes, especially submarine volcanoes, produce vastly greater amounts of CO2 than these estimates are not supported by any papers published by the scientists who study the subject.

The burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use results in the emission into the atmosphere of approximately 30 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year worldwide, according to the EIA. The fossil fuels emissions numbers are about 100 times bigger than even the maximum estimated volcanic CO2 fluxes"

Solar irradiance changes have been measured reliably by satellites for only 30 years. These precise observations show changes of a few tenths of a percent that depend on the level of activity in the 11-year solar cycle. Changes over longer periods must be inferred from other sources. Estimates of earlier variations are important for calibrating the climate models. While a component of recent global climate change may have been caused by the increased solar activity of the last solar cycle, that component was very small compared to the effects of additional greenhouse gases

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 23:57 | 4426745 Apply Force
Apply Force's picture

Jesus fucking Christ, Davey - it's NOT the CO2 released by volcanoes - it's the fucking dust!  Dust that then blocks out the sun and makes it colder here on Earth. 

And again with the TSI figures - the sun is not just TSI!  Do you know what Alfven waves are?  How might the electro-magnetic connection to the sun effect the Earth and our magnetosphere? Sunspot count & intensity, coronal holes, etc, etc, etc.  How well correlated are the mini ice ages and sunspot activity, for instance?

But if there is absence of evidence there is then evidence of absence in your view?  Poor form.  We can measure but a fraction of what is going on in REALITY.

Wed, 02/12/2014 - 00:53 | 4426912 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Being passionate doesn't make it any more correct... Sorry...

Begging the question is also poor form..

Actually, as far as the Earth goes the sun is the TSI unless you think that there is some Voodoo thingie that physicists missed. And if you do think they missed something, you should look up Dunning-Kruger...


Wed, 02/12/2014 - 02:32 | 4427092 Apply Force
Apply Force's picture

Your hubris comes through loud and clear, old Flak.  Good luck with that.

Wed, 02/12/2014 - 09:17 | 4427478 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

And your Dunning-Kruger makes you a text-book example of it....

PS Giving yourself a greenie is the epitome of lameness...

Wed, 02/12/2014 - 09:26 | 4427508 Apply Force
Apply Force's picture

No arrows up or down from me on this thread at all - you have haters, but you know that.

Wed, 02/12/2014 - 13:15 | 4428365 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

I love how you say it's very very complicated when, in reality, it's pretty basic principles at work.

Funny how the sudden rapid rate, and the uniqueness of that rate changed, measured in the ice cores, correlates with other modern things. Funny how the CO2 and temperature lag is scientifically expected. And then there's common sense accellerators like warming oceans, darker colors, melted ice, thawing permafrost etce etc etc

you can post all you want but thousands and thousands of scientists in many many disciplines all fighting in peer reviewed analysis have come to these conclusions. That's a little different than your posted comments

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 14:07 | 4424348 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



Show us Gumbum...

(oh, that's right - you can't.  Sorry to have woken you from your slumber.)

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:37 | 4424241 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Care to cite some of that science? You know, the real kind, not the blog stuff...

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 14:06 | 4424341 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



As I've schooled you over and over, it is up to you to provide the data that proves your theory, chumpmeister.

Water freezes at 32 degrees F.  Repeatable, observable truth.  Show us something equally robust that climate change is real.  Been waiting for decades...

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 14:15 | 4424361 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

That was pathetic even by your standards...

Here, chew on this:

or better yet

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 14:20 | 4424398 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



All debunked.

(to play again, place another quarter in the slot)

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 14:53 | 4424433 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Debunked? Where?

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:42 | 4424187 akak
akak's picture

"The Golden Age" of what gas?

I was well into it before I realized, to my confusion, that it was NOT talking about gasoline, but natural gas.

Funny how there was hardly one mention of the proper phrase "natural gas" in the whole article.

Fuck I hate lazy, sloppy and presumptuous ambiguity.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:30 | 4424207 rsnoble
rsnoble's picture

Some people in the US can just turn on their environmentally safe kitchen sink and set it ablaze.

Don't dare think about getting a wood stove though.

I hate this fucking bullshit.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:34 | 4424225 Rising Sun
Rising Sun's picture

nat gas will be a huge part of the future - unless GS and JPM start buying up tankers of LNG and let them float offshore to keep prices artificially high


the good news is that the extraction market is fragmented (harder to monopolize)


in conclusion, fuck you GS and fuck  you JPM

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 13:40 | 4424248 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

LNG is not oil.

LNG, even insulated, has loss due to heat.  You can't just let it sit.  It disappears.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 14:07 | 4424346 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Don;t waste you time with this one, he is clearly beyond any point of being able to understand things...

BTW, LNG isn't really "insulated" in a conventional sense, they transport it in the equivalent of a giant dewar flask....

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 14:21 | 4424396 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



It does not boils off, and the "boil off" has to be released.  But if left to simply boil off slowly, pressure/BTU gradients will form (like thermal stratification layers in a lake), which can be unstable.  So LNG volumes must be regularly rotated.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 15:51 | 4424438 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

BTU gradients??

Do you even know what a gradient is?


For shits and giggles, I googled "BTU+gradient",  

Do you know what came up? NADA, ZIPPO...

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 16:03 | 4424848 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



That's because all you know is what you google.  Let me educate you (yet) again.  The BTU content of LNG shipments varies, depending on its source and liquefaction process, among other things (you can google that, hackmeister).  So when you blend shipments in a storage vessel (LNG tank), you are mixing volumes with variation in the BTU content.

Believe it or not, the BTU content within an LNG tank is not uniform.  That lack of uniformity (which I call 'gradient') accelerates if boil off continues and no rotation occurs.  Eventually, the differential can be quite dangerous to the integrity of the vessel. 

If you knew anything about the topic - or any topic for that matter - you would crawl back into your sister's closet and assume the fetal position.


Tue, 02/11/2014 - 16:36 | 4424981 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

You are truly a bald faced bullshit artist....


Tue, 02/11/2014 - 16:38 | 4424989 Johnny Cocknballs
Johnny Cocknballs's picture

Hmmm.  I don't always agree with your assessments, Flak, but in this matter, you could not be more correct.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 16:54 | 4425046 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



Based on what experience JC?  I would wager that I have more hands-on knowledge of LNG than anyone on ZH.  Tell us what you know about the subject?  I'm sure you were an executive at multiple natural gas distribution companies in your lifetime, right?  I'm sure you know about liquefaction and LNG trucking and cryogenic properties and vaporization and all that, too.

Let me know if you want me to expose you...I'll be happy to do so.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 17:20 | 4425148 Johnny Cocknballs
Johnny Cocknballs's picture

I don't doubt that you have more "hands on experience with LNG".

But I think you lost the plot some time ago.  Judging from the above, it's not a subthread I'm interested in joining. 


You're right that h-c global warming or 'climate change' hasn't been proven.  There's a consensus, of course, and it hasn't been disproven either to the extent ff emissions conceivably could well impact climate...

another topic I generally avoid.  People who have no trouble imagining that pharmaceutical research and the industry as a whole might be influenced by their sponsors suddenly see no such influence as possible when people studying climate change are funded mostly by ngos and governemnt commissions that presuppose it.  They will, however, simply assume that research funded by oil cos is per se bullshit.


Neat trick - not only is the science on one side "indisputible" - its researchers are above being influence by who funds them, and all the scientists on the other side are evil and dumb.






Tue, 02/11/2014 - 17:38 | 4425227 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Anyone can fund a study that dispute the conclusions that climate science has reached. The trick is to do it in an honest way that stands up to scrutiny. And you have to do it in a way consistent with all the existing data. In other words you have to explain the Ice Ages, the size of the temperature dips when big volcanoes erupt, variations in solar intensity and all that stuff....

Mann's 1999 hockey stick paper maybe cost $150,000 to produce, the Kochs spent close to $200,000,000 trying to influence the 2012 election... 

Given that there are no shortage of people that will do anything for a buck, why is that the Kochs et al cannot find anyone competent enough to put together some research that is not a pile of steaming crap???

By the way, anyway who disputes that C02 is a greenhouse gas may be safely ignored, that was demonstrated in 1859...

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 18:32 | 4425458 Johnny Cocknballs
Johnny Cocknballs's picture

There are likely too many confounds - too much entropy in the climate system - to prove the matter one way or the other right now.  From solar activity, to volcano activity, to the earth's wobble, to relatively simple air and ocean currents.

However, certainty is not how science proceeds.  In the case of climate change, a pragmatic approach would mean proceeding with the best evidence, weighing the costs of not doing anything.  Reducing emissions is the wise thing to do.

Frankly, the focus should have been and should be on the deleterious health effects of pollution, and the economic costs that entails.  There is far less doubt that smog and 'acid' rain, for example, is harmful to animals and plants.  I'd love to see a study contending the opposite.



Tue, 02/11/2014 - 18:45 | 4425515 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture

the focus should have been and should be on the deleterious health effects of pollution, and the economic costs that entails.


So, by extension of your logic, you would contend that attempting to preserve life is better economically than not intervening on health effects of the prevailing world?  Does that extend indefinitely, or is there a cross-over point (based on your studies, of course). 

If you think I'm being outlandish, you should step back and think about what you are really saying.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 19:33 | 4425749 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Certainty is exactly how science proceeds, you boot strap known certain results. The mantra is todays physics is tomorrows calibration....

You are confusing climate and weather, big difference. The only important thing under under debate is the value of the climate sensitivity to a doubling of C02: is 2.5 C or 4 C or even higher...The rest is basically details...

And if you were really interested there are no shortage of economic studies that outline the costs... 

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 18:01 | 4425310 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



So state your point next time or state nothing, instead of parachuting in as a grandstander, JC. 

You are deceived if you think that it is necessary to disprove something because some people hope it to be true.  If there was actual value in that, the entire science community would be racing around trying to disprove things haphazardly.  Failure to prove something with scientific rigor in and of itself dispenses the need to disprove it.  That is the discipline of science.  No tricks - just logic.  You should try it.

You should also check your statement about there being a "consensus" on global warming/climate change.  That's another myth.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 18:22 | 4425430 Johnny Cocknballs
Johnny Cocknballs's picture

I would wager that I have more hands-on knowledge of research methodology than do you, so how about you desist from lecturing me about it.  

The discipline of science depends on an inability to falsify, not an ability to "prove."  A distinction with a difference that is quite obviously lost on you.

As to the employment of logic, I'd also wager I know more about that subject than do you.  But I suspect you do, at least, know that ad hominem is not a valid argument, ergo, you aren't arguing, you're smearing this thread with verbal feces.

And there is more of a consensus on human activity engendered climate change than just about anything.  A consensus, of course, is not proof, as such, of anything.

Where did you come across what you pass off as knowledge?

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 18:34 | 4425468 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



You just made my point.  Thank you.  So long as attempts to validate the theory of climate change continue to yield evidence that invalidates the theory, there is no need for anyone to affirmatively expend effort to "disprove" it.  

I'll take your wager any day of the week, chump. 

(put a mark in your "loss" column)

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 18:37 | 4425488 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture

And there is more of a consensus on human activity engendered climate change than just about anything.


You forgot the "/sarc" tag.  So there is more consensus on that then say, water freezing at 32 degrees Farenheit?  Or that gravitational acceleration is 32 feet per second2?  Or that green-leaved plants generate sugars through a process of photosynthesis?  Really?  Tell me more, please...

(that thud is the sound of your credibility hitting the pavement)

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 16:58 | 4425054 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



Realized that you were out of substance, eh Flak?  That's usually how things end with us.

Thanks again for playing.  You might want to pick up that jock strap on the floor (it's yours).

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 19:00 | 4425611 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

I disappeared from this thread too early.

On the off chance anyone comes back, my comment about LNG disappearing due to heat loss was as rebuttal to the concept of storing offshore to manipulate price.

The mechanism for disappearance was to be boil off, but question for anyone who knows.  I have heard that the number is about 1%/day.  Regardless of details of non uniformity of distribution, is that a reasonable number for BTU loss, because this is only Earth shattering in importance.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 20:05 | 4425892 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

You didn't miss anything...

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 21:58 | 4426322 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

haha okie doke

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 17:18 | 4425136 Cornholiovanderbilt
Cornholiovanderbilt's picture

I'd watch King Kaiser in Tulsa.  He owns the tankers and a bank holding company.  And he's an Obungler

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 14:04 | 4424334 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

To maintain the GRC (Global Reserve Currency) status of the Petro-Dollar, the price of Oil/Petroleum will continue to be 'managed' by the oil cartel (OPEC).

At the same time, a drop of NatGAs prices widens its adoption, but causes a dilemma (for some, not others) due to its Substitution effect on the use of oil vs gas.  This, in turn, puts pressure on the Petrodollar, whose architects/owners must maintain a slight positive demand/growth to prevent its deflation or collapse (ie. being dethroned as the GRC).

Ideally the Petrodollar needs to grow into the ultimate global currency:  The Energy-Dollar.  Sorry SDR and Bitcoin... nice try but no cigar, as universal currency is based on (a) Precious Energy and/or (b) Precious Materials.  This hold true in this Galaxy, and any other. 

For the Energy-Dollar to happen, it must also control or dominate the bulk of the global NatGas reserves and their delivery systems (pipelines).  And if they (TPTB) can't control or dominate these supplies and pipelines, they must prevent their competitors (China and Russia) from doing so.  This therefore leads to Energy Wars.

Energy Wars include Pipeline Wars, and are automatically linked to Currency Wars.  These, in turn, cascade into Cold Wars (spying, economics) and Warm Wars (social unrest and government coups by revolting 'masses', orchestrated by Foreign Agents fomenting said unrest).  E.g. Libya, Syria, Ukraine.  Warm Wars (a term I just coined) are proxy wars for Hot Wars.  They are a necessary substitute for Hot Wars, as the Super-powers can not afford to first blow up the world, in order to rule it.  Tactical use of military forces will continue, as War is still "diplomacy by other means".

Bottom line:  The sovereign entity (country or Oligarchy) who controls Key Resources also wins the Currency Wars, and then becomes the "King of the World".

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 14:22 | 4424399 viator
viator's picture

As opposed to what? Coal, brown and black? Wind power that slices up eagles and condors and requires equal capacity of hydrocarbon fueled generating capacity running on standby all the time? Nuclear? Solar power with no electrical gird to support it?

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 16:46 | 4425018 Johnny Cocknballs
Johnny Cocknballs's picture

I dunno about a golden age, but expect a lot more warfare and fuckery in the eastern mediterranean where Israel, not content to simply claim other people's land, is also claiming what should unequivocally be the economic waters of Palestine, Lebanon, and, it seems, Syria.

Of course, they're about due to invade Lebanon again for the, what will it be...4th time, in defense of itself.  Maybe they'll sneak over the border to launch a few harmless rockets at the desert to provide some cover.

It's certainly worked before, and we can be sure the US press will obediently support their version of events.

Leviathan means new and interesting reasons to justify regional wars.

Wed, 02/12/2014 - 14:33 | 4428776 Remnant_Army
Remnant_Army's picture

It is strongly advised to buy a gas stove. 

If looking for some Truth, look here:

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!