A few years ago, associated gas was seen as a wasteful byproduct of oil drilling. High natural gas prices have incentivized shale drillers in the U.S. to change from oil to gas drilling. Rising gas production in the U.S. is unlikely to bring down household energy bills, and could have consequences for crude oil production too. Just a few short years ago, the gas that escaped with the oil trapped in shale formations was considered basically a waste. Associated gas was flared—and it still is in some parts of the shale patch—but the idea of using it was expensive and difficult to realize. There were neither enough pipelines to carry the gas to the liquefaction plants already built along the Gulf Coast, nor was there great demand for it, with virtually every forecast seeing the global supply of natural gas at ample levels for the observable future. And then […]