American innovation brought about the natural gas production boom the U.S. is now experiencing, and Americans would be fools not to capitalize on it, energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens said at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in Maryland.

The U.S. has the advantages of the Marcellus Shale Formation — which mostly sits under New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio and is the world’s biggest natural gas field — and the technology to successfully extract gas from it, Pickens said. Similar wells have been attempted in Europe but haven’t produced results like those in America.

“This is a resource that we have to use in this country, and you can recover the economy off of the resource,” Pickens said.

The innovation of American drillers have led to 800,000 hydraulically fractured wells in the U.S. to date, Pickens said.

The abundance of natural gas could help the U.S. be more energy secure and decrease reliance on oil imported from less stable regions of the world. Pickens argued that politicians who support the free market should encourage gas development because the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has shifted that market forever. However, there is no natural gas cartel inhibiting a free market.

Pickens said he believes the market will one day favor other forms of energy, but with the domestic supply and very low price, natural gas can’t be beat. Gas is too cheap for wind energy or other renewables to compete with in the near future unless they are subsidized, he said. The U.S. should focus on developing gas until either its price rises or wind energy prices come down and make it a more viable option.

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