Posted May 10, 2016
We’ve written a number of posts recently on U.S. climate gains from increased use of clean-burning natural gas (see here, here and here). Domestic natural gas is the main reason the U.S. is leading the world in reducing carbon emissions – underscored by government data this week showing that energy-associated emissions in 2015 were 12 percent lower than 2005 levels.
Yet, some continue to miss the role natural gas is playing in U.S. climate progress. Instead of declaring victory, some continue to rally, protest and campaign against natural gas and its infrastructure – opposing the very thing that is achieving what they want. Unfortunately, they’re impacting public policy along the way.
Nowhere is there a better illustration of this negative impact than in New York state.
Posted May 9, 2016
With new government data showing that U.S. carbon emissions in 2015 were 12 percent below 2005 levels, it might be time for some to take “yes” for an answer – that yes, on reducing carbon emissions, the United States is showing the way for the rest of the world with abundant, clean-burning natural gas.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says despite the fact the U.S. economy was 15 percent larger in 2015 than it was in 2005 (inflation-adjusted numbers), energy-related carbon dioxide emissions were lower last year than they were 11 years ago.
Posted May 4, 2016
The progress the United States is making toward its climate goals starts with clean-burning natural gas.
Increased domestic natural gas production and its use is the primary reason the United States leads the world in reducing carbon emissions. It’s the keystone for a workable strategy to advance climate goals while sustaining economic growth and prosperity – the U.S. model. The U.S. Energy Department’s Christopher Smith, last week in Houston:
“A big part of the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that we’ve been able to manage in the United States is due to the fact … we’ve got trillions of cubic feet of natural gas that we are going to be able to produce safely, and our domestic supply has gone from one of scarcity to one that has enabled us to use more natural gas in baseload power consumption.”
Posted May 3, 2016
Two more data sets underscore the positive economic impact of America’s energy revolution and the relevance of the U.S. model of concurrent energy and economic growth, consumer benefits and climate progress.
First the consumer benefits part. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that Americans’ cost of living is lower since June 2014, thanks to reduced household energy costs because of decreases in crude oil and natural gas prices. (Right here we’ll add that increased U.S. oil and gas production is a key driver in these declines that are benefiting consumers.)
Posted April 25, 2016
During a speech last week to labor union officials, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo talked big about the need for big infrastructure in this country. Gov. Cuomo mentioned the building of the Erie Canal in the 1800s, the interstate highway system that was launched in the 1950s and the construction of big bridges. The North America’s Building Trades Unions audience cheered and clapped warmly when Cuomo called for the vision and leadership needed for America to once again build big infrastructure:
“We built this nation into the greatest nation on the globe with our hands and sweat. That was the American way. We were tough, we were gutsy, we were daring, and there was no challenge that we wouldn’t take on, and we built this country and we regained that spirit of energy and positivity and ambition. … We can do these big projects. We did do these big projects … The George Washington Bridge, the Verrazano Bridge, hundreds of miles of subway system under New York, an 80-mile aqueduct built in the 1800s just to get water to New York City. We never said no …”
The next day, Cuomo’s administration said no – to the proposed $683 million Constitution natural gas pipeline. No to infrastructure – privately financed at that. No to the construction jobs wanted by the folks who cheered the governor the day before. No to consumers in New York state, who’d benefit from abundant, clean-burning natural gas, piped into a number of the state’s southern counties from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale.
And some wonder why so many Americans are cynical about politicians.
Posted April 8, 2016
Great discussion this week at a program focused on the role of natural gas in America’s future economy, hosted by the Hudson Institute. The discussion couldn’t have been timelier, given surging U.S. natural gas production and the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s recent projection that for the first time ever, natural gas will be the United States’ No. 1 fuel source for electricity generation this year.
Yet, the natural gas discussion quickly, necessarily, turns into a conversation about building new gas infrastructure – needed to serve areas that for lack of infrastructure are either isolated from the resource or the supply is significantly constrained, impacting utilities, consumers and businesses.
Posted April 5, 2016
Last week EPA launched a new program it hopes will encourage U.S. oil and natural gas companies to voluntarily focus on reducing methane emissions from oil and gas operations. EPA:
The Methane Challenge Program will provide partner companies with a platform to make company-wide commitments to cut emissions from sources within their operations by implementing a suite of best management practices within five years. Transparency is a fundamental part of the program, and partner achievements will be tracked by submitting annual data directly to EPA.
Two points: First, our industry is already on it, deploying technologies, innovation and yes, best management practices, effectively capturing methane from energy operations. And it’s succeeding. EPA data shows that since 2005 methane emissions from field production of natural gas have dropped 38 percent, and emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells have dropped 79 percent – at a time of surging natural gas production.
It’s happening because energy companies are working hard to collect methane, the main component of natural gas, for the market. Indeed, the abundance of domestic natural gas is helping lower consumer energy costs for U.S. consumers – including those in the Northeast, which historically has paid more for electricity than other parts of the country – and increasing average annual household disposable income by $1,200.
Posted February 24, 2016
Two separate but related news items last week demonstrate the economic promise and geopolitical significance of America’s natural gas export opportunity.
The first headline, “U.S. LNG Set to Hit Global Market,” signifies a landmark moment in America’s trajectory from energy scarcity to abundance. The export facility covered in the article – Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass in Cameron Parish, La. – actually opened as a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in 2008. Just two years later in September 2010, it became the first U.S. facility to apply for a Department of Energy permit to export LNG. After a decade that saw U.S. natural gas production jump 45 percent – and following an extensive review process – Sabine Pass is set to ship its first cargo to Europe.
Posted February 12, 2016
What if we had a market-based approach for reducing carbon dioxide emissions – gifted to the United States because of its unique combination of abundant energy resources, technological advances and know-how – that not only would yield CO2 reductions at world-leading levels but also would strengthen our economy and security? And all at potentially less cost than the mandates under the CPP?
OK, it wasn’t an altogether serious question, because that approach and the progress it has generated actually exist. Progress on emissions and energy has come from America’s ongoing energy revolution, a renaissance fueled by vast shale reserves and driven by safe hydraulic fracturing and advanced horizontal drilling.
Posted February 1, 2016
Iran’s plan to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) within two years is what you call a market signal, one that should cause U.S. policymakers to reconsider the ponderous pace with which proposed U.S. LNG export projects are gaining federal approval. The Wall Street Journal reported:
Iran is pushing to find new ways to extract and export its vast natural-gas reserves, including developing facilities to liquefy the commodity and ship it to Europe in two years now that western sanctions are no longer in place, according to a top Iranian official. Iran holds the world’s largest reserves of natural gas, but has long lacked the export infrastructure of competitors like Russia and Qatar. … Tehran is exploring several options to help the country “join the international LNG club,” said Alireza Kameli, Managing Director of National Iranian Gas Export Co., in an interview here.
Options for Iran include restarting its own advanced LNG export project that was halted in 2012 because of the western sanctions; building a pipeline under the Persian Gulf to Oman, which has LNG export facilities Iran might be able to use; and the construction of floating LNG facilities. Iranian officials say the country could export about 30 billion cubic meters (more than 1 trillion cubic feet) to the European Union long-term, the Journal reported.
While experts may disagree over how soon Iranian LNG exports could reach global markets, it makes sense for the United States – the world’s leading natural gas and oil producer – to capitalize on its natural gas abundance by speeding up federal approvals for domestic LNG exports to non-Free Trade Agreement countries. While a number of LNG export projects have received the go-ahead from Washington in the past couple of years, final non-FTA authorizations for more than 20 facilities remain under review at the Energy Department.