Learn by listening – Natural Gas

In today\’s \”look at me\”, \”I need to be seen\” world it\’s easy to get trapped in the noise around us. Sometimes we have to stop and listen. There\’s a lot that can be learned in 30 minutes or less. It can come from the news, people around you, industry experts, or any number of sources. The key is to be ready to listen when the conversation starts to shift from the every day, look at me noise around us. This 30-minute education came at a leading IT industry conference during breakfast.

My knowledge of the gas industry was expanded at breakfast during a conversation between a gas industry expert and several Boston area residents. The conversation started on the gas line explosions that took place in the Boston area last month. It was even more compelling that the expert was African American and the residents were white. Anyone familiar with the history of Boston and African Americans can appreciate this scenario. You can also appreciate the fact that the exchange was enthusiastic and informational all around. It broke a lot of stereotypes and provides a glimpse into how communication should work. But, I digress.

So, what did I learn in less than 30 minutes?

  1. The flow of natural gas through the U.S. is monitored by competing gas companies to ensure that their supply isn\’t being \”poached\” by its competitors. In fact, the increasing volume of gas in the pipeline that caused the Boston explosions was first noticed by an engineer in Ohio.

  2. Although the U.S. is a leader in natural gas production, it imports a considerable amount of its internal supply from British Columbia, Canada. The province of British Columbia has a 150 year supply of natural gas. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that Canada is indeed a large energy partner with the U.S.

  3. The US exports a considerable amount of its natural to China and Japan. Japan has increased it\’s use of natural gas in light of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011.

  4. Although the future of coal is diminishing in the U.S. to alternate sources such as solar, wind, bio-fuels, etc., it remains an abundant resource for countries like China continues to build coal-burning power plants.

  5. China is also the world leader in solar power; Quite a contradiction!

  6. Ocean winds are another source of energy.

All of this took place in the span of 30 minutes. At the end, everybody moved off to start the morning workshops and presentations. A lot can happen when you take the time to listen. Obviously, it takes more than just listening – always try to verify as well!


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