The shale revolution, however, has been a game-changer. To be sure, there are those who have yet to grasp the consequences of this change.
Studies from the U.S. Department of Energy as well as various think tanks show LNG exports as economically beneficial to the nation, not only providing thousands of construction jobs, but incentives for increased domestic gas production. All of this promises to be a boon to gas producers, rig hands, royalty owners and energy-rich states like Pennsylvania and Texas. Meanwhile, the notion that the price of natural gas might spiral upward as exports grow has been debunked.
Despite already growing demand for natural gas – gas now accounts for the largest fuel share of our electric power generation – the inflation-adjusted price of gas is at a 25-year low. The resources unlocked in shale are vast – 2,200 trillion cubic, roughly a 90-year supply. It’s time to put the ghosts of our energy past to bed. We should fully embrace the economic, environmental and geopolitical benefits that will come from the export of natural gas.
For one thing, any increase in global competition for LNG sales will benefit consumers worldwide. While the old dominant gas exporters -- think of Qatar, Malaysia, Russia and Iran – must adjust to the new reality, gas-importing countries, many of which are our political allies, are rejoicing. Natural gas prices in much of the world have been pegged to oil prices and, consequently, have been very high.
Just two years ago, LNG prices in Asia were four or five times what they were in the U.S. The introduction of U.S. gas exports will help soften global gas prices in the long-term and likely stimulate demand. A more robust LNG market might lure some buyers away from cheaper but much dirtier coal.
China, in particular, seems to realize the danger to public health from its heavy reliance on coal for electricity generation. In December, Beijing issued its first red alert over air pollution, shutting down schools and requiring drivers to only use their cars on alternate days. Although China is building dozens of emission-free nuclear plants and investing heavily in wind and solar power, backing off of coal is a gargantuan task. China singlehandedly consumes as much coal as the rest of the world combined.To his credit, Mark did not mention that both Hillary and Bernie want to "keystone" fracking.