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Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted June 1, 2015

Get Moving on Natural Gas Exports

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette op-ed (Eberhart): On the last day of December 2013, former U.S. Department of Labor chief economist Diana Furchgott-Roth outlined 10 economic opportunities the nation had missed during the previous year. For example, by not tapering quantitative easing, pursuing reasonable pension reform or approving the Keystone XL pipeline, Ms. Furchgott-Roth said the Obama administration had missed a chance to “substantially increase our GDP growth rate, enriching Americans and lowering our unemployment rate.”

Also on the list of overlooked opportunities was reforming the “complex permitting process” that is hamstringing the export of American liquefied natural gas to an energy-hungry world.

Since 2000, global LNG demand has grown an estimated 7.6 percent per year. And that rate is expected to increase: Ernst & Young predicts that by 2030 global demand will reach 500 million metric tons, doubling 2012 levels.

At the same time, because of the surge of natural gas from American shale, the United States is awash in the stuff, with domestic natural gas production increasing 41 percent in the past decade alone.

Ten years ago we were an LNG importer. Today we’re the world’s largest natural gas producer.

And with the amount of technically recoverable natural gas in the United States 100 times greater than our current consumption, we have a boon to the economy that is expected to contribute up to 665,000 net jobs and $115 billion to GDP by 2035. We are expected to have enough gas to meet our own needs while also helping to satisfy staggering demand in places like Japan, Korea, India, China and Taiwan.

Clearly, this is an opportunity we don’t want to miss. But a protracted, redundant and expensive approval process could put it just out of reach.

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Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.