Shale Enhances American Energy Security

Thanks to shale development, the U.S. now leads the world in recoverable oil reserves, surpassing Saudi Arabia and Russia, according to a report out this week by Rystad Energy. This significant progress, made possible by advancements in technology and hydraulic fracturing, has transitioned the U.S. from a position of energy uncertainty to one of abundance and global strength. In fact, shale development has positively transformed the U.S. into a global clean energy leader while helping to create good-paying jobs here at home.

Consider the fact that natural gas development is presenting the tristate area with an historic opportunity to usher in a new era for our region’s manufacturers.  Case in point: Shell’s recent announcement that it plans to build an ethane cracker facility in Beaver County that’ll create 6,000 construction and more than 600 jobs once the plant is complete. Additionally, Harvard Business School experts concluded that “low energy costs benefit both large and small businesses and will lead to a large number of middle-skills jobs that pay attractive wages.”

The facts are clear: shale development is strengthening our national security, boosting our economy, and providing cleaner air. To continue to capitalize on shale’s game-changing benefits, lawmakers must focus on policies that encourage and further enhance natural gas production and use – rather than misguided, dangerous proposals for even higher energy taxes and unnecessary, burdensome regulations.

Here’s what they’re saying about America’s enhanced energy security:

Energy Security

  • “U.S. Oil Reserves Largest in World Thanks to Shale”: The U.S. is sitting on top of the world’s largest oil reserves, and more than half of the supply is trapped in the kind of shale rock that helped grow Pa.’s drilling industry. … More than half of the US’s remaining oil reserves are in unconventional shale oil, Rystad Energy data show. Texas alone holds more than 60bn barrels of shale oil. … The U.S. is in a good spot moving forward because shale oil is more economical to produce than the conventional oil pumped out of Saudi Arabia and OPEC countries. (PennLive, 7/5/16)
  • U.S. Overtakes Saudi Arabia and Russia in Recoverable Oil: The U.S. has overtaken industry giants Saudi Arabia and Russia in recoverable oil reserves, a new international study says. The U.S. is sitting on 264 billion barrels, 8 billion barrels more than Russia and 52 billion more than Saudi Arabia, the dominant member of OPEC. … Three years ago, the U.S. was behind Russia, Saudi Arabia and Canada in Rystad’s estimates of recoverable oilThe big jump for the U.S. is largely due to technological advancements such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling that squeeze oil and gas from shale formations. (Los Angeles Times, 7/5/16)
  • U.S. Surpasses “World’s Biggest Exporting Nations”: The U.S. holds more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia and Russia, the first time it has surpassed those held by the world’s biggest exporting nations. … Conventional oil producers, such as Saudi Arabia, have traditionally used their huge resource riches to wield power globally, particularly among big consumer countries such as the U.S. This relationship has been disrupted in recent years by hydraulic fracturing and other new technologies that have helped the U.S. unlock vast reserves and enabled it to become more energy independent. (Financial Times, 7/5/16)
  • “Happy American Energy Independence Day”: Now, for the first time in a half-century — thanks to the shale oil and gas revolution — true American energy independence is not just a pipe dream. It’s easily achievable — if the next president takes the right steps. Such an energy strategy means we could stop draining our economy of about $200 billion a year, which we could really use here at home. … What I am talking about is about taking the strategic steps necessary to making the U.S. the energy dominant force on the planet within five to 10 years by using our super-abundance of fossil fuel resources. … As we tap into the full potential of our tens of billions of shale oil and gas we can become the number one export nation on the planet. This could easily mean more than $1 trillion a year in oil, gas and also coal exports each year — perhaps exceeding 5% of GDP. (Investor’s Business Daily column, 7/1/16)

Local Benefits

  • “Two Pa. Natural Gas-Fueled Power Plants Soon to be Operational”: Two upstate natural gas-fired power plants, each capable of meeting the electricity needs of one million homes, are close to being operational, the owner says. Panda Power Funds, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, says the Panda Liberty plant on 33-acre site in Asylum Twp., near Towanda in Bradford County, is very close to entering commercial operations. … Each of 829-megawatt plants is expected to have 27-full-time employees, [Panda spokesman Bill Pentak] said. … Although both are adjacent to branches of the Susquehanna River, they are cooled with air, not water, he pointed out. Construction continues on a third Panda project, the conversion of the former Sunbury Generation 400 megawatt coal-fired generating plant on a 19-acre site in Shamokin Dam to a 1,124 megawatt facility fueled by natural gas. (PennLive, 7/6/16)
  • “Pa. to Get Power from Shale Gas”: Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. signed a 10-year sales agreement to become the sole supplier to a 1,500-megawatt plant planned for Lackawanna Co., Pa. Billed as one of the most efficient power plants in the country, the Lackawanna Energy Center power plant will start full-scale operations by the end of 2018. Dan Dinges, the company’s top executive, said the agreement is unique in that it will power a state-of-the-art facility from natural gas “directly in our backyard.” … Natural gas is becoming the primary source of electricity in the U.S.. … Cabot relies almost entirely on natural gas found in the Marcellus shale basin, which lies beneath Pennsylvania. (UPI, 7/6/16)
  • Peters Twp. Benefits from Pa.’s Shale Impact Tax: Despite not having any gas wells, Peters received more than $300,000 in impact fees from state Act 13. … Act 13 allows the state to collect fees from unconventional gas wells, including those that produce by hydraulic fracture, and then to distribute to state and local entities affected by drilling. … The gas impact fee money will be used for the township’s paving program and will reduce the amount the township was planning to spend from its surplus funds, Silvestri said. Peters is expected to spend $1.55 million on road paving in 2016. (Observer-Reporter, 7/4/16)

Visit the MSC’s blog and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.