Policymakers tickle tastebuds with culinary treats from oil patch

Anyone care for a sip of a frac cocktail? How about a graham cracker chilled by liquefied natural gas?

Senators and witnesses at a hearing on natural gas on Tuesday recounted tasting such gastronomic delights derived from the oilfield amid a high-pressure debate on exporting fossil fuels.

For instance, Colo. Gov. John Hickenlooper recalled how he once “took a swig” of hydraulic fracturing fluid made with food additives.

“It was not terribly tasty,” confessed Hickenlooper, who is used to imbibing on slightly different brews as a onetime beermaker. “But I’m still alive to tell the story.”

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, recounted his own culinary brush with fossil fuels during a trip last August to Alaska.

While accompanying Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, on a trip to a liquefied natural gas facility in the state, the pair tasted a graham cracker that had been dipped in a stream of LNG. Murkowski took the first bite.

According to committee staff, the LNG-dipped graham cracker tasted just like the original — only a whole lot cooler, since natural gas only attains its liquefied state at -260 degrees.

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About The Author

Jennifer A. Dlouhy covers energy policy, politics and other issues for The Houston Chronicle and other Hearst Newspapers from Washington, D.C. Previously, she reported on legal affairs for Congressional Quarterly. She also has worked at The Beaumont Enterprise, The San Antonio Express-News and other newspapers. Jennifer enjoys cooking, gardening and hiking. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and toddler son.