The dramatic ramp up in US natural gas production in recent years caught many by surprise, as an anticipated need for imports changed seemingly overnight to mainstream talk about exporting natural gas as LNG.

In addition to the export conversation, there are numerous other applications for natural gas that are now attractive given the fuel’s abundance and historically low price. The power generation, petrochemical and transportation sectors are three major sources of increased consumption, but there is even a company using cheap gas to melt down waste plastic in order to separate out crude oil that can be sold back to refineries.

An energy panacea right? Not so fast. The Department of Energy will soon release a study on the possible impacts natural gas exports could have on the US economy, and some claim gas over-reliance could drive the price back up, with knock-on energy security implications.

In this video – the first in an Breaking Energy series – we discuss this issue with one of the country’s leading natural gas analysts, Ian Nathan, Manager, Global Gas and LNG at consultant and publisher Energy Intelligence Research & Advisory.