The Natural Gas Roundtable is a non-profit group formed to advance the dialog on issues regarding natural gas and energy policy.
For over 40 years, the Natural Gas Roundtable has been a Washington tradition as the leading organisation bringing together all segments of the US natural gas industry for open and honest dialogue on energy policy and issues facing the energy industry. Politicians, regulators, industry executives the media and others have flocked to the monthly luncheons, which have been held in the same room of the historic University Club over these years. The Roundtable recently had a hand in launching what will hopefully prove to be another durable Washington institution, the creation of the Congressional Natural Gas Caucus. For the benefit of our international readers, a congressional caucus is a group of members of the United States Congress that meets to pursue common legislative objectives.
The Natural Gas Roundtable was founded in October of 1968 by the former head of the American Gas Association (AGA), George H. “Bud” Lawrence and former Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) General Counsel Jerome McGrath. According to Lawrence’s book Turnaround (a compendium of stories and recollections about Washington and the natural gas industry), the idea for the Roundtable was hatched when Lawrence appeared before the “Natural Gas Men of Houston” and decided that the existence of a similar organisation in Washington, DC could have obvious benefits. The group has met once a month since its inception, and proved to be a source of communication, information and even sometimes disparate interests. Above all, though, the Roundtable has been a key forum for representatives of the natural gas industry, interested government and regulatory bodies, suppliers of equipment and services, attorneys in private practice with industry clients, the financial community and the media to meet and discuss current issues affecting the natural gas industry.
The group was initially launched as the Gas Men’s Roundtable (although affectionately referred to as the Round Man’s Gas Table). Over 20 years ago the name was changed to the more politically correct “Natural Gas Roundtable”. The group continues to be administered by AGA and, for the last decade has been headed up by David Sweet, Executive Director of the World Alliance for Decentralized Energy and active member of IGU Technical Committees.
On November 19, 2009, David Sweet called the Roundtable to order for the purpose introducing the Co-Chairs of the newly formed Natural Gas Caucus in the US House of Representatives. Congressmen Tim Murphy (Republican-Pennsylvania) and Dan Boren (Democrat-Oklahoma) united to start the Congressional Natural Gas Caucus, a bipartisan effort to educate, promote awareness of, and develop policy in Congress on the importance of natural gas in the nation’s energy portfolio.
The Congressional Natural Gas Caucus is committed to informing and educating other members of Congress and the American people about the clean-burning domestic fuel. The Caucus will be focused on discovering environmentally-friendly ways to produce natural gas and explore the ways natural gas can help meet the country’s energy needs while leading the country towards an independent energy future. It currently has 66 members – 36 Republicans and 30 Democrats – from 26 states.
There is also talk now about formation of a Natural Gas Caucus in the US Senate. If, and when, that occurs the Natural Gas Roundtable will be there to provide a forum to discuss and advance this initiative as well.