For the first time in 60 years—in 2017—the US natural gas export was higher than its import. The US Energy Information Administration reports that this shift was due to the country’s rising gas production. This increase in natural gas production gave way to lesser gas imports from Canada.
This development has also increased US natural gas exports to other countries such as the Latin America—Mexico, Argentina and Chile—, Asia Pacific—China, South Korea and Japan—, and Europe—UK, Poland, and Portugal.
The Apparentness of the Phenomenon
This phenomenon brought about by US Natural Gas Exports shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s true that the country’s natural gas resource is abundant.
In the Appalachia Region alone, natural gas production tips at 26.7 billion cubic feet per day. Likewise, the Permian Basin, an oil-rich region sitting on top of Texas and New Mexico, has been gleaning a lot of attention from investors.
With the discovery of new technologies in extracting natural gas, the incumbent administration has been working to set the country as a major player in the natural gas arena.
In truth, the effects of the natural gas boom have been fanning out to various sectors of the society. Experts have yet to ascertain the impact of this growth. However, as this industry gathers strength, several outcomes have already manifested.
US Natural Gas Exports and its Benefits
Natural gas emits 50-60 percent less carbon dioxide than coal. Truly, there is a mounting need for a cleaner source of energy. Thus, natural gas will likely play a significant role in the transition from coal to renewable energy sources—especially in reducing the world’s carbon footprint.
In the energy sector, companies have switched to natural gas. The U.S. Energy Information Administration attributes two-thirds of the emission reduction from 2006 to 2014 to the energy sector’s switch to natural gas.
- US Economy
The natural gas industry readied the way for 3 million jobs. It has also contributed about $385 billion to the national economy yearly. Related industries such as steel manufacturing, chemicals, transportation and shipping industries are also set to feel the ripples of this economic shift. In 2012, the spending power of households was increased by $1,200. Thanks to lower energy costs, even households are feeling the positive developments.
- Partner Countries
The effects go beyond economic and environmental developments. The advancements in natural gas resources have allowed the US to be a transformative partner to countries looking to switch from oil to natural gas. Mexico is an example. This neighboring country sits as the top natural gas export destination for the US. It has replaced a quarter of its energy sector gas consumption with natural gas.
- Energy and Fuel Industry
For several decades, Qatar and Australia have been dominating the global natural gas production., With the emergence of the US as the third largest supplier of natural gas—according to Bloomberg—, a shift in the geopolitics of energy could very well be underway. By 2022, the US is predicted to stand side-by-side Qatar and Australia as one of the global leaders in natural gas production.
Consider the intensifying demand for natural gas from China and the rest of Asia. The US is ready and poised to respond to this huge demand. This potential has been drawing the interest of independent firms to invest in infrastructures and build Liquefied Natural Gas or LNG import facilities.
US Natural Gas Exports—Looking at its Bold Impact
The boom in US natural gas exports is not in full throttle yet. Nevertheless, it is making a definite bold impact in the energy arena.
Indeed, the development of relevant technologies and domestic consumption has leveled with gas production. With this fact, experts predict that the country will be energy-sufficient by the year 2020.
Indeed, low dependence on imported oil and fuel source results to lower energy costs. This outcome means additional cost savings for both the government and the consumers.
Economic Predictions and Other Repercussions
Economic opportunities abound too. This energy boom has ushered in millions of new jobs in 2012. Job predictions will reach up to 3.3 million, by 2020. Plus, there will be a boost in investments as well.
An IHS Markit study predicts that more than $120 billion in new capital investments will be allocated to expand the US petrochemical manufacturing capacity.
Predictions and estimates point to a 60 percent hike in the natural gas production in the next two decades. However, the downside to this growth could later be found in the air—literally. While studies show that natural gas emits more methane in the atmosphere, scientists are currently working on lowering methane emissions from natural gas systems.
US Natural Gas Exports—Looking at its Notable Future
Let’s look at this phenomenon unfold from a holistic, worldwide perspective. We can safely assume that the story doesn’t end where it is now. Whether this spirals to an adverse outcome or this blossoms to a positive payoff, US natural gas exports have made an impact in the world. They have undoubtedly opened doors for scientists, businessmen, and even countries for endless explorations in the field of renewable energy.
Conclusively, the US introduction to the natural gas revolution is a welcome development as the world blazes a new path for a coal-free future.