Washington, D.C. – The American Gas Association (AGA) today commended the National Petroleum Council (NPC) on the completion of its comprehensive assessment of North American natural gas and oil resources. The study entitled, Prudent Development: Realizing the Potential of North America’s Abundant Natural Gas and Oil Resources, was undertaken at the request of Secretary of Energy Steven Chu in September 2009. It addresses the role of natural gas in a lower carbon energy portfolio while also protecting the environment, enhancing energy security and enabling economic prosperity. The NPC study process and outcomes provide a very constructive framework for securing the confidence of policymakers and consumers in the abundance, reliability and environmental performance of the natural gas resource.
“We applaud Secretary Chu for posing the principal question – how do we, as a nation, best put to use this vast and affordable natural gas resource? And we are especially pleased that such a distinguished and diverse study team concluded that natural gas and energy efficiency can work in tandem to help solve our most challenging needs, from economic growth to energy security and environmental protection,” said AGA President and CEO Dave McCurdy. “We agree that responsible development of the resource is the lynchpin to realizing this promise and we urge our policy makers to endorse the recommendations of this study that clearly lay out workable solutions to timely and important issues.”
The study found that supplies of North American natural gas are much larger than previously thought and that these resources will be needed even as energy efficiency reduces demand and lower-carbon alternatives become more economically available. The report also concludes that environmentally responsible development of these resources is vital to realizing the full potential of the North American natural gas resource.
“Very often, when we discuss the potential role and contribution of natural gas we limit ourselves to a discussion of baseload electricity generation. I am very pleased that this study looks beyond that one market and recognizes the potential for the direct and distributed use of natural gas in residential and commercial gas markets,” said Tom Massaro, vice president of marketing and business intelligence, New Jersey Natural Gas, who chaired the Residential/Commercial Subgroup of the Natural Gas Demand Task Force of the study. “Energy efficiency is a cornerstone of our national energy policy. The efficient use of natural gas in homes and buildings is an essential tool for meeting the objective set out by Secretary Chu – to meet the needs of American energy consumers consistent with environmental, economic and energy security goals.”
AGA commends the NPC’s study endorsement of the need for energy and efficiency policies to employ full-fuel-cycle analyses of the impacts of energy consumption. AGA concurs fully with the NPC recommendation that federal policymakers should develop and adopt a consistent methodology for assessing full-fuel-cycle energy use and emissions, and that this methodology should inform regulatory decisions and energy-related policy implementation.
AGA also supports the NPC study’s top-level recognition that realizing the benefits of natural gas requires environmentally responsible development of the resource. The recognition and related recommendations, including the key role that state regulatory agencies play in this regard, echo the principles adopted by AGA’s Board of Directors early this year.
In addition to the recommended five top strategies to realize the full potential of the North American natural gas resource, the study also calls for promoting combined heat and power applications; encouraging private-public partnerships to maximize the greenhouse gas benefits of natural gas by reducing methane emissions; enacting regulatory policies that align financial incentives for utilities and their customers to use energy more effiiciently; and making continued investments in research and development to maintain America’s technology leadership position in energy innovation. AGA endorses these recommendations as important components of national energy policy.