AGA has confidence in the expanding natural gas resource base and its ability to satisfy existing and new markets at very competitive prices. We do not believe that U.S. exports of natural gas will have a material impact on core LDC customers for the foreseeable future. Further, we believe that new market demand is critical in terms of stimulating new production technologies and practices that benefit all natural gas consumers. Also, substituting natural gas for other fuels produces global environmental improvement, regardless of where it is consumed.
For these reasons we believe that natural gas, similar to other domestic commodities, should not be restricted in terms of exportation to foreign countries. Should access to the domestic resource base be unreasonably constrained, or should other unforeseen market transformations occur that would likely result in significant negative impacts on the customers of local gas utilities, this position could be re-evaluated.
Significant growth in domestic natural gas production is altering the energy landscape in the United States. A combination of advances in drilling and well completion technologies widely deployed during the past five years has rejuvenated natural gas production, particularly from shale formations. As a result, natural gas is well positioned to serve as a reliable, secure and clean energy source for U.S. homes, businesses and industries for decades to come. A recent surge in natural gas liquids’ production associated with unconventional oil and gas production further enhances the domestic supply outlook.
Domestic gas production and the potential for future sustainable growth is so substantial that it has attracted attention from natural gas marketers and producers envisioning the United States as an exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to markets in Europe, the Caribbean, South America and Asia. In addition to representing a notable reversal of expectations, the idea of exporting a clean domestic energy resource has supporters and detractors. Those who support LNG exports cite resource abundance and diversity, overall economic growth, and job creation as critical factors for expanding domestic energy export trade. Detractors raise concerns that energy exports may lead to domestic pricing uncertainty and connect the U.S. market to the vagaries of a global commodity market.
Momentum appears to be building for development of LNG export infrastructure along the U.S. Gulf Coast as well as at points along the East Coast and the west coast of Canada. Approvals granted by the U.S. Department of Energy and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for export licenses and project planning have set the stage for a transition.
©2013 American Gas Association
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