06/06/2012 01:20 pm ET Updated Aug 05, 2012

The Future of Natural Gas -- An Interview With Raymond Learsy

Massive natural gas discoveries along with new extraction techniques have led many to claim natural gas as the fuel of the future -- which could ensure U.S. energy independence, reduce geopolitical risks, and help meet U.S. electricity demands for the next 575 years.

Yet why have we seen so many negative publications and reports? Does natural gas really have a place in our future and is it the golden chalice we have been led to believe?

To help us investigate these issues and others was fortunate enough to have a chat with the well known author and Huffington Post Contributor Raymond Learsy.

In the Interview Raymond talks about the following:

• Why Natural gas could displace gasoline
• The top 3 forms of energy for national security
• The New York Times Vendetta Against Natural Gas
• Nuclear Energy's place in America's energy future
• The future of Fracking
• Why we can't rely on coal for future power generation

OP: What do you think is the link between say the New York Times and some of the concerns in the commodity market?

RL: Well, some of the reporting of the New York Times I feel is weighted too heavily on the fiction that surrounds the pricing of oil. I've written a number of posts, some of which are in my new book, some of which are in my previous book, that deal with the way the New York Times repeats without any serious, in-depth questioning the sort of general handouts of the oil industry and OPEC. For example, if Saudi Arabia says, "Oh, we're having difficulty meeting current demands," there's no insightful discussion of what their potential is, how long they've been sitting on the fence before they expanded their production capability, etc., etc. It's always taken at face value. And then, of course, you have this extraordinary series of articles that came forward earlier in 2011 about natural gas.

OP: Yeah, I saw that at The Huffington Post. I actually used that in one of my media classes.

RL: Did you?

OP: Yes.

RL: Well, thank you. I'm flattered. This was unbelievable for a leading newspaper to really take on the mantle of yellow journalism and to attempt to defame a whole new vista and direction of energy and the potential of what natural gas holds to place it into question and, thereby make people less focused on it, taking it less seriously, when it is really the golden chalice that has been given to us to make the U.S. energy independent.

OP: Okay.

RL: I'm just amazed at the kind of language they use and the way that they try to undermine the whole focus on the development of natural gas in this country and elsewhere. And that much of what had been written that placed the whole natural gas enterprise into doubt was based on exchanges of emails that were unattributed. In other words, we didn't know who sent the emails.

OP: Right.

RL: We had nothing but hearsay, and a very editorialized hearsay, supporting a particular pre-program point of view.

OP: Well.

RL: I mean it was shocking.

OP: Well, why do you feel that's the case? I guess we could look at the New York Times as some kind of the benchmark for U.S. journalism. What is the motive? Or is it lazy journalism? Or something else? Why do you feel the media, the New York Times specifically, is offering a mischaracterization of the energy markets?

RL: Let me show you this. It is from a study that MIT made shortly after the New York Times articles and I don't think it was specifically meant as a rebut to the New York Times, but it goes into a great deal of detail that natural gas will result in demand reduction and displacement of coal-fired power by a gas-fired generation. And because of its more limited CO2 emissions further de-carbonization of the energy sector will be required and natural gas provides a cost effective bridge to such a low carbon future. In other words, natural gas, the way it's structured, it's enormous availability (we are finding more and more of it since these articles have been written), and it's extraordinary low cost, present a very real danger to other forms of hydrocarbons. And I don't know quite what the New York Times' love affair is with the oil industry, but their articles were something that placed the whole idea of natural gas as a substitute, not simply for coal, but eventually for transportation fuel replacing gasoline, into jeopardy.

It just bedazzles me because you have at the current price of natural gas, which is about two and a half dollars an MMBtu, right? We have crude oil selling today at $95 a barrel. A week ago it was $100 a barrel.

To read the full interview, please visit

Daniel Graeber is a senior journalist at the energy news site He is a writer and political analyst based in Michigan. More of his articles can be found on his Authors page at

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