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.