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Energy/Environment Lab results raise question: Do we need oil if we have natural gas?

Researchers say they've unlocked the chemistry that could help gas beat oil as a cheaper source for liquid fuels and 'commodity' chemicals used to make plastics and other products.

By Staff writer / March 14, 2014

Jim Urquhart/Reuters

Researchers say they have uncovered a way to convert key compounds in natural gas to alcohols for use in industry and transportation far more cheaply than current approaches, raising the possibility that gas could unseat petroleum as the primary source for fuel or chemicals used to produce materials such as plastics.