News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

October 9, 2013

Like Vigo County, U.S. oil production at its highest in decades

TERRE HAUTE — Within the last five years, North American oil production, largely from hydraulic fracturing of shale, has eclipsed that of Saudia Arabia.

And in terms of global market share, shale development has propelled the United States into being the world’s largest natural gas producer, James Clad, former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asia Pacific Affairs, said Wednesday in a phone interview with the Tribune-Star.

And despite shale development, the production of oil and natural gas from hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” could have a future impact on the coal-produced power in Indiana, he said.

Such is the case in Vigo County, where several oil fields have been started. Yet such production also raised a concern of potential fracking in Terre Haute.

Opponents say fracking harms the environment, results in methane leakage and water pollution.

The city of Terre Haute this year adopted a resolution that imposed a moratorium on fracking for oil or gas in the city. The stated goal was to ensure safe drinking water in outer areas of the city where people use wells.

Clad said such local control is important. “It is a good idea to have the local authorities interested and watching. I think that any time there is an enhanced monitoring and watchfulness, it is a good thing,” he said.

Clad on Tuesday addressed the Indianapolis chapter of the American Committee on Foreign Relations, a national nonprofit group dedicated to advancing dialogue on international events and foreign policy. In addition to his former government position he has been an international political risk consultant and a professor at Georgtown University.

Total American oil production this year struck its highest since 1989, Clad said, referring to an article he wrote earlier this week for The National Interest, a bimonthly foreign policy journal based in Washington, D.C.

“During last year alone, U.S. oil producers added an extra million barrels a day, the largest one-year increase in America history, an astonishing turnaround,” he said.

Clad said investments in coal power technologies, such as coal gasification, may not match that of shale. “The one fixed thing that is keeping this innovation moving and alive is the floor price. Energy since the late 1990s has been pretty consistently high, which gives investors the confidence to hazard their money” in new shale technologies.

Some improved production efficiencies in fracking include a closed-cycle hydraulic method, which recovers and reuses water, Clad said. Another advancement is the use of a fine particulate “that is pushed out at great force and is also recovered. I am not saying it is a panacea, but I think the technology is moving in the direction of less troubling environmental [impacts] and becoming more efficient as well.”

Duke Energy’s Edwardsport coal gasification plant, Clad said, “is certainly the country’s most efficient coal plant,” but the project went over budget, he said. Clad said that while the plant is cleaner than traditional coal facilities, it would not meet EPA’s new carbon rule for emissions for new coal power plants.

“The abundance of natural gas seems to be steadily marginalizing coal as power plant feedstock,” Clad said.

“Coal gasification costs apparently seem to be far more expensive than to continually refine and reduce the per unit cost of fracking,” Clad said. In addition, Clad said he thinks “the availability of natural gas is leading to the retirement of coal power stations,” he said.

Citing information from the U.S. Energy Information Agency, Clad said that 175 coal-powered plants are expected to come off line in the United States by 2016. “The country is now the largest producer of natural gas in the world and it is coming primarily from hydraulic fracturing,” he said.

Angeline Protogere, Duke Energy spokeswoman, said the newest EPA carbon rules apply only to new power facilities. Edwardsport is an operational plant and is not effected by the rule. The EPA has not yet established new carbon rules for existing coal power plants.

Should the EPA require companies to develop new technology to capture and store carbon, Duke’s Edwardsport plant has the space “for carbon capture,” Protogere said.

“We believe it is important to have a diversity of fuel sources and to maintain coal in the mix,” Protogere said. “It powers the vast majority of electricity that is produced in this state. We think it is important to find ways to burn it cleanly, because it is an abundant resource.”

The U.S. has more coal that any other nation, Protogere said, and Indiana has an estimated 17 billion tons of coal reserves that can be recovered using current technology. At current production rates, the Indiana Geological Survey estimates Indiana’s recoverable coal supply could last about 500 years.

“The challenge is to burn that fuel in a cleaner, more efficient way and that is why we built the plant at Edwardsport. It uses advanced technology to gasify coal, strip out pollutants and burn that cleaner gas to produce electricity,” Protogere said.

“It substantially reduces the environmental impact of burning coal to produce electric power,” she added.

Duke’s Edwardsport plant has the ability to burn both coal and natural gas, Protogere said.

Clad said not all new oil production is from fracking, as oil is also being produced from companies returning to former oil fields and extracting oil without fracking.

“It is a very fluid picture,” he said.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 10, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Wednesday and Thursday, based on jail records.

    July 10, 2014

  • Ethics panel considers $5K fine against Bennett

    Indiana’s State Ethics Commission will decide whether to accept a proposed settlement with former state schools Superintendent Tony Bennett that fines him $5,000 for using state resources for his 2012 campaign.

    July 10, 2014

  • Group: 5,000 same-sex marriages in Illinois

    A survey indicates thousands of same-sex couples are marrying in Illinois.

    July 10, 2014

  • Study: Hunting restores forests in state parks

    A study by a Purdue University research team has found that regulated deer hunts in Indiana state parks have helped restore forests damaged by too many white-tailed deer.

    July 10, 2014

  • MET070914 house exterior.jpg Historic Ohio Boulevard house inspired by 1948 Cary Grant movie

    Spurred in 1948 by a newly released movie staring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy, coupled with a growing post-World War II housing market, General Electric partnered with Hollywood’s RKO Studios to build “dream homes” throughout the country.

    July 9, 2014 4 Photos 1 Story

  • Detour ahead

    A panel of public and private officials is calling for $10 billion in projects to upgrade Indiana’s aging roads and bridges, but its members concede there’s no money to pay for it all.

    July 9, 2014

  • MET070814 barrels.jpg MARK BENNETT: Making road work a barrel of fun for drivers

    We’re lucky orange barrels can’t talk.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • City Council to take up city finances tonight

    The Terre Haute City Council will have a chance in a special meeting tonight to delve deeply into the city’s financial health. However, council members are being asked to avoid raising the most controversial subject of recent weeks: The city’s use of Redevelopment Commission tax increment finance (TIF) money.

    July 9, 2014

  • Bennett accepts $5,000 fine in ethics settlement

    Former Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett has agreed to pay $5,000 as part of a settlement with Indiana’s ethics watchdog in which he admits to using state resources for campaign work but is cleared of formal ethics violations in the grade-change scandal that cost him his job as Florida’s schools chief last year.

    July 9, 2014

  • Vermillion Jail trusties face new charges

    Two former inmate trusties at the Vermillion County Jail face new criminal charges after a recently discovered security breach at the jail.

    July 9, 2014

  • Lawrence police acquire armored military vehicle

    A central Indiana city has acquired an armored military vehicle for use in highly dangerous situations.

    July 9, 2014

  • Free carwash for law enforcement

    Mike’s Carwash locations in Central Indiana, including Terre Haute, will honor the sacrifice of IMPD Officer Perry Renn and thank all those who serve and protect our communities with a free carwash for police and emergency personnel today and Friday.

    July 9, 2014

  • Indiana agencies told to ignore gay marriages

    Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s office is telling state agencies act as if no gay marriages had been performed during three days following a federal court order.

    July 9, 2014

  • State reports West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes

    INDIANAPOLIS — State health officials confirmed the first signs of West Nile virus activity in Indiana for 2014. Mosquitoes in Marshall and Pike counties have tested positive for West Nile virus. There have been no reported cases of West Nile virus in humans in the state this year.

    July 9, 2014

  • Indiana education board faces contentious meeting

    Indiana’s State Board of Education is gearing up for another showdown between Democratic schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz and Republican Gov. Mike Pence’s appointees and staff.
    The board is set to consider a pair of resolutions dealing with control of the board during a meeting Wednesday.

    July 9, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 9, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Tuesday and Wednesday, based on jail records.

    July 9, 2014

  • Indiana getting $849,000 for outdoor projects

    Indiana is receiving $849,000 to use toward outdoor recreation and conservation projects.

    July 9, 2014

  • Semi fire halts I-70 traffic in Putnam County

    A fire in a semi tractor-trailer temporarily closed eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 in Putnam County on Tuesday evening.

    July 9, 2014

  • I&M proposes five solar facilities in two states

    Indiana Michigan Power plans to seek permission to build five solar generating facilities in the two states it serves.

    July 9, 2014

  • MET070814 voice four.jpg Hitting a high note

    A 17-year-old from Casey, Ill., won “The Voice of the Valley” Tuesday night, singing and shaking his hips and legs to an Elvis Presley song, then wooing the grandstand audience at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds with a country tune.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • MET 070814 STORM STAUNTON.jpg Clay County residents clean up debris, get power back

    Several power outages still affected hundreds of Duke Energy customers on Tuesday, more than 24 hours after storms and strong winds swept through west-central Indiana, leaving a swath of damage in the Staunton, Brazil and Center Point areas.

    July 9, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET 052106 EVANBAYH ADDRESS.jpg Return to Indiana?

    Evan Bayh is keeping Indiana Democrats on hold.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Planning under way for 2014 Downtown Block Party

    Wabash Avenue will be full of activity Aug. 23 as the 2014 Downtown Terre Haute Block Party takes over five city blocks in a celebration of music, food and events.

    July 8, 2014

  • MET 070814 CATHOLIC WARE.jpg Guys give food bank a lift

    A $14,000 donation Tuesday from Guys Who Give enables Catholic Charities to be at nearly 75 percent of its $2.5 million goal to purchase and operate a new, larger food bank near Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field.

    July 8, 2014 2 Photos

  • wilson,robert.jpg ‘Dangerous’ suspect in police custody

    A man sought by the Vermillion County Sheriff's Department has been nabbed by police in Indianapolis.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • eBus brings financial empowerment to town

    A 40-foot long mobile classroom is scheduled to roll  into Terre Haute today, carrying what its sponsors call “financial empowerment.”

    July 8, 2014

  • Elderly woman accused of killing 89-year-old husband

    An 83-year-old woman, described as "a loose cannon" by her landlord, has been arrested in this Buffalo suburb for beating her 89-year-old husband to death.

    July 8, 2014

  • wilson,robert.jpg BREAKING: ‘Dangerous’ suspect in police custody

    A suspect police considered “armed and dangerous” is now in custody in Marion County.
    Robert Wilson is facing local charges there and has a hold on him for Vermillion County, according to Vermillion County Sheriff Robert J. Spence.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • 051713 BAYH SMILE.jpg Former governor Bayh weighs decision to run again

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Evan Bayh is keeping Indiana Democrats on hold.
    Party loyalists longing for a political savior to retake the governor's office have been waiting on Bayh ever since he abruptly decided to leave the U.S. Senate and political life three years ago.

    July 8, 2014 3 Photos

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 8, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Monday and Tuesday, based on jail records.

    July 8, 2014

Latest News Poll
AP Video
Argentina to Face Germany in World Cup Final Kim Kardashian Hits Up Valentino Show in Paris Israeli Offensive Escalates in Gaza Attack Raw: 10-year Sentence for Ex-New Orleans Mayor Service Held for 200 Whose Bodies Went Unclaimed Police: Prostitute Accused in Overdose Death "Hotwives" Spoofs Reality TV Raw: Rocket Explodes Over Israeli Wedding World's Tallest Water Slide: See It for Yourself Sterling Testifies in Los Angeles Clippers Trial Weaver Reprises Ripley Role for 'Alien' Game Froome Crashes Out on Bumpy 5th Tour Stage Raw: World's Tallest Water Slide Opens Thursday Dodgers Found Partly Responsible in Fan Beating APNewsBreak: Different Attackers in Benghazi? Raw: Brazil Fans Cry After World Cup Loss Fans Dying to Be Near Jazz Greats Four Kids, Two Adults Shot Dead Near Houston Obama: 'Photo Ops' Won't Solve Border Crisis Raw: Fans Gather for Argentina-Netherlands Match
NDN Video
Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel Pilot buys pizzas for travelers delayed by storm Klose nets record, Germany rout Brazil 7-1 'Purrmanently Sad Cat' Looks Adorably Sad All the Time Pharrell 'humbled' by success of mega-hit 'Happy' Day After: Brazil Reeling in WC Loss Jennifer Lawrence Facepalms Emma Watson Athletes Bare All for ESPN Magazine's Body Issue Raw: Brazil Fans Leaving Stadium Before Half Andi Dorfman Walks Out During the Rose Ceremony 5 Firework Fails for July 4th Justin Bieber Catches Tom Hanks Getting Down, Showing ‘How We Do It Big shoes to fill for Brazil ahead of Germany clash Man's 'Potato Salad' Plea Takes Off on Kickstarter

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010