Can shale deposits become responsible for re-stimulating the US’ economy? What are your thoughts regarding the exportation of liquefied natural gas overseas? Is it socially beneficial, creating more jobs and domestic revenue? Is it environmentally irresponsible, negatively impacting the environment in the long run?
The US seeks to rebound from a lagging, weary recession – one warranting a modern-day fiscal stimulus. Some believe natural gas is a solution. New developments in extraction place the US in position to export, yet the notion is initially limited due to available terminals to date. (3)
The US has some terminal resources, more than twenty as indicated by the US Department of Energy, terminals seeking exportation privileges, which would allow for the processing of 31 billion cubic feet of liquefied gas per day. (2)
Two companies, Royal Dutch Shell and Kinder Morgan, prepare to export the product from Georgia ports. (1) The pending reality of two, planned phases would equal the total export capacity of 350 million cubic feet per day.
Advocates embrace the ambitions of the two exporting companies and those in waiting.
“The Abundance of Natural Gas is Changing the Landscape…”
The President of Shell Oil Co. celebrates the US’ deal, supporting liquefied natural gas exportation, stating, “This announcement underscores how the abundance of natural gas in the US is changing the energy landscape. With a measured, phased approach, exports of cleaner burning natural gas can help meet the world’s rising energy needs while also giving a boost to the US economy.” (3)
In theory, independence on internal resources while making money on the natural products are two benefits. The US would burn more natural (rather than diesel) fuel, improving the quality of the environment further by supplying other nations, making the US a leader in green sustainability, attracting revenue in the process.
Consider information presented by a natural gas advocate and magazine editor (4):
– BP recently opinion the US could be 97% energy independent by 2020
– The US now holds more energy in the form of natural gas than Saudi Arabia has crude oil resources
– In 2007, the US Energy Information Administration projected natural gas to be second-largest generator of electricity by 2025
– A US Government study expresses GDP gains linearly aligned with LNG production
Not everyone is onboard the natural gas train, expressing concern, stating exporting would not be as beneficial as forecasted.
“Proposals to boost exports of liquefied natural gas—a costly and environmentally dangerous process…”
A professor at the University of Maryland believes exportation is not the saving grace others presage it to be. Citing the US’ cleaner methods and ability to better stimulate domestic jobs as reasons to quell exportation desires, the professor states:
“The Department of Energy is considering proposals to boost exports of liquefied natural gas- a costly and environmentally dangerous process- that generates fewer jobs and less growth than keeping the natural gas…,” adding, “Reserving natural gas for domestic industrial use would both maximize employment gains from developing abundant domestic natural gas and positively affect the global environment.” (5)
Though exporting a product in demand tempts fiscal thought, the professor points to a phenomenon of competition, which in effect, is more harmful for the environment, citing the fact that China with a GDP of half the US or the European Union emits more CO2 than both due to unregulated practices and inefficient manufacturing.
Keeping production and use within the country also attracts energy-intensive enterprises, such as the petrochemical and primary metal industries. Obama and his administration have thus far championed cleaner air and green notions; perhaps in the longer run, overturning decisions to export is the best one for all in the US and the world over?
Aaron Trussell is an environmental scientist and researcher. He enjoys sharing his research and knowledge on various business blogs. To learn more about environmental data resources, visit the link.