Posted June 12, 2018
As the natural gas industry prepares for the upcoming World Gas Conference in Washington D.C. (June 25-29), let’s take a look at some of the issues bringing together many of the world’s most influential leaders, policymakers and experts from sectors ranging from finance, to trading, to law, to government.
The conference agenda reflects the key role natural gas plays in reliable power generation, a cleaner environment, affordable energy and the security of our nation and our allies, as well as the infrastructure working behind the scenes to make sure this energy is available when we need it most.
Natural gas is the leading source of electricity for power generation in America, providing a cleaner and more reliable power source for everything from your cell phone to your coffee pot to E-commerce.
The U.S. depends on the availability of electricity at the flip of a switch. Power systems require energy generation that can be dispatched 24/7 and that is flexible enough to follow changes in supply and demand. Natural gas generation can reliably and efficiently meet both needs -- providing dispatchable power at an affordable cost to meet steady predictable demand while providing the flexible and fast-ramping power that is needed to support the grid and keep the lights on when consumers demand electricity.
It’s also an essential partner that helps the growth of intermittent renewable sources like wind and solar – providing reliable power when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.
Total U.S. carbon emissions are at 25-year lows, and the biggest contributor — driving almost two-thirds of the CO2 emission reductions from 2006 to 2014 — came from fuel shifting toward natural gas.
Thanks to natural gas, the air we breathe is the cleanest of the modern era and continues to improve. Total emissions of the six criteria air pollutants in the U.S. have declined 73 percent since 1970, even as the economy grew 253 percent, and wider use of natural gas is a leading factor.
Looking at recent headlines, it’s no surprise that national security will take a prominent role at the WGC. At a POLITICO Playbook Interview this week, U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana highlighted the important role of U.S. energy in strengthening America’s global influence:
“Energy policy is something that gets a lot less credit than it should for helping our allies. Geopolitically, we are able to use energy now to help our friends around the world – with liquefied natural gas, with a lot of the other things we’re doing, to become energy dominant.”
The key to these issues, and to sustaining our nation’s energy renaissance and our position as the world’s largest producer of natural gas and oil, is our nation’s energy infrastructure. As expansive as our infrastructure is, it needs new investment and expansion to keep pace with a growing population, demand for goods and services and energy needs (not to mention keeping energy affordable).
Exporting domestic natural gas also is critically important to America’s standing in the world and our ability to help allies abroad. Recent numbers from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) show that the U.S. is among the world’s leading liquefied natural gas exporters. EIA:
Global trade in liquefied natural gas (LNG) reached 38.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2017, a 10% (3.5 Bcf/d) increase from 2016 and the largest annual volume increase on record … In 2017, there were 19 LNG exporting countries and 40 LNG importing countries. Australia and the United States were among the countries with the largest increases (2.7 Bcf/d combined) in 2017 LNG exports.
Natural gas continues to change the energy landscape in this country and beyond. American natural gas generates the power we need for our homes and businesses, provides the building blocks for our manufacturing renaissance, and makes our nation more secure. Not that long ago, it didn’t seem possible that the U.S. would lead the world in natural gas and oil production, much less lead the world in reduction of carbon emissions at the same time. Now both are realities.
The world’s energy transition is taking place at a rapid pace, making it that much more important for a discussion among industry’s leaders who are working to effect change in this critical area.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica Lutz is a writer for the American Petroleum Institute. Jessica joined API after 10+ years leading the in-house marketing and communications for non-profits and trade associations. A Michigan native, Jessica graduated from The University of Michigan with degrees in Communications and Political Science. She resides in Washington, D.C., and spends most of her free time trying to keep up with her energetic Giant Schnauzer, Jackson.