I missed this when it came out, but Michael T. Klare has a great piece in The Nation about "The Geopolitics of Natural Gas." It’s short — I recommend reading the whole thing. A few tidbits:

[The U.S.] now relies on natural gas for approximately one-fourth of its total energy supply, more than from any source except oil. … Natural gas provides approximately 14 percent of the energy used to generate electricity in this country, 45 percent of home heating fuel and 31 percent of the energy and petrochemicals consumed by agriculture and industry. …

The United States currently relies on North American supplies for most of its gas, but with those reserves being depleted at a rapid pace and few untapped fields available for exploitation, need for gas from other regions is growing …

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A key factor in the geopolitics of natural gas is the heavy concentration of reserves in a relatively small number of producing countries. All told, the top ten gas producers harbor 76 percent of the world’s proven reserves, while the top five–Russia, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates–hold nearly 67 percent. This means, of course, that these countries are in a very strong position to control the global flow of gas and to influence market forces.

Great — more reasons to be beholden to dictatorships.

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