From daily commutes to keeping homes warm in the winter, Americans rely on energy each day. Because of its importance in everyday life, it is crucial that energy resources remain readily available and affordable. The ability for the U.S. to access reliable energy is known as its energy security.
When a country is in control of its access to energy, and doesn’t need to rely on other countries, it’s more secure. For over 60 years, the U.S. couldn’t produce enough natural gas to meet its energy needs, instead relying on imports from other countries – until now. In 2017, the U.S. became a net exporter of natural gas. This remarkable transformation means that, because more natural gas was produced than needed, we can now export more to other countries than we import.
Why? Hydraulic fracturing, horizontal drilling and a number of innovative technologies enabled the nation to extract more natural gas at an affordable price, making the U.S. the world’s leading producer. By importing fewer energy resources and exporting more to allies, the nation is creating jobs, boosting the economy, and securing its footing in the global energy marketplace.
Exporting natural gas. Growing American Jobs.
With global demand for energy expected to increase drastically in the coming years, U.S. natural gas exports show no sign of slowing down. According to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017, global energy demand will rise at a rate equivalent to adding another China and India to today’s demand level by 2040. Additionally, natural gas use will rise by 45 percent in the same period.
This opportunity will undoubtedly boost America’s economy at home. We just completed a second liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant in Maryland. This one terminal alone is creating thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenue. In addition to the two already in operation, four other LNG projects are currently under construction and many more are in various stages of proposal.
These export terminals hold a bright future for the U.S. economy. By 2040, U.S. exports of LNG could create 452,000 jobs nationwide and add $73.6 billion to the economy.
Supporting Our Friends. Becoming an Energy Leader.
Because we now have more than enough affordable natural gas at home, we can sell to our allies around the world. This ensures our allies have what they need, while weakening the hand of bully nations that use energy as a bargaining chip to advance their own interests. Helping our allies, and removing the bargaining chips of nations whose interests don’t align with our own, has firmly established the U.S. as an energy superpower.
Many countries in eastern Europe are now looking to the U.S. for natural gas to diversify their energy sources. For example, Poland was heavily dependent for years on energy imports from one country that used the natural gas it supplied as leverage for more power. To reduce its reliance on a single country alone and increase its own energy security, Poland completed its first LNG import terminal in 2016 and started importing U.S. LNG in July 2017. It has subsequently agreed to buy additional U.S. LNG going forward, with other countries in the region—including Lithuania and Croatia—expressing interest in doing the same.
And because natural gas is a cleaner burning fuel source, American LNG exports will often benefit the environment for everyone. Greater adoption of LNG enables countries to modernize their energy infrastructure while reducing the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere. It is projected that LNG will have greenhouse gas emissions 43 to 52 percent lower than today’s dominant fuel by 2035.
Natural gas is transforming the energy landscape at home and around the world. Because the U.S. is now producing record amounts of natural gas within its own borders, the national economy is growing, and America is becoming a stronger global leader.