Posted June 26, 2018
“The future begins here.” International Gas Union President David Carroll launched the world’s largest natural gas conference with a simple, yet unmistakable message on the importance of natural gas – an opening punctuated by a pulsating sound track, a live marching band and the Harlem Globetrotters.
There’s certainly reason for optimism – and a crowning by the princes of basketball entertainment. As the World Gas Conference convenes in Washington, D.C., natural gas is ascendant. It is a coveted fuel for electricity generation, a new staple of U.S. energy exports that’s helping friends and allies abroad, and it’s increased use is the main reason U.S. carbon emissions are at 25-year lows, allowing the United States to lead the world in that area. Natural gas, a number of WGC speakers said on Day 1, is a key to reducing global energy poverty.
It appears natural gas is up to the challenges of today and tomorrow.
U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said natural gas’ role couldn’t have been imagined just a few decades ago:
“They would have been dumbfounded, yet here we are today. We’re bearing witness to this astonishing energy miracle and to an equally amazing miracle in [natural gas production].”
Innovation in natural gas production and its growing use, Perry said, are responsible for the United States’ ability to grow its economy and improve the environment. “America is on the cusp of energy independence,” he said, which is unleashing the U.S. manufacturing and business sectors. By exporting liquefied natural gas, the U.S. is “sharing our energy bounty with the world” and “empowering our friends and allies.” Perry:
“That gives us the opportunity not only share our energy but our energy success story, to encourage others to choose our energy path.”
Others chimed in. Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the American Gas Association:
“Our abundance of energy changed the conversation about our energy future forever. … By safely producing, transporting and delivering natural gas, we’re changing the world we live in. … Natural gas is a foundation fuel for prosperity around the world.”
Chevron Chairman and CEO Michael Wirth said humankind has always transitioned from one energy source to the next – from peat moss to whale blubber to oil and natural gas and to renewables. Wirth said reliable, affordable energy is the key to reducing poverty and creating jobs. “Natural gas underpins our energy future,” he said, while urging that the “power of free markets” be allowed to work: “Both domestic and international markets need to be allowed to do what they do best: deliver reliable, affordable and ever-cleaner energy.”
ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Darren Woods said industry acknowledges the “dual challenge” of providing energy the world needs while addressing climate issues. “Natural gas is a big part of the solution,” Woods said.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.