The U.S. is on track to export more natural gas than it imports for the first time in 60 years, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). The administration credits America’s “abundant supply of shale gas” for the historic shift, noting that our nation’s resource base can support both growing domestic and international energy demands.
The safe production and expanded use of natural gas also continues to play a critical and leading role in America’s environmental success story. This week, President Obama’s top science adviser hailed natural gas’ role in improving air quality and helping to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, calling it, a “net positive” for the environment. This news coincides with the release of a new University of Colorado study that – like countless other studies – found fracking has little to nothing to do with methane in groundwater.
- EIA: American Natural Gas Exports to Make History: U.S. frackers are about to change the last 60 years of history by making the U.S. a net natural gas exporter beginning next year, the federal government said Tues. “For the first time since 1957, the U.S. is on track to export more natural gas than it imports,” said EIA’s Adam Sieminski. … He said that will occur as the nation’s increasingly abundant supply of shale gas feeds domestic and international demand. “Although U.S. natural gas exports are increasing, there are still abundant supplies to meet domestic demand as natural gas inventories are expected to be at a record high for the start of the upcoming winter heating season,” Sieminski said. The enormous boom in natural gas production is due to the use of hydraulic fracturing that has made the U.S. a top global energy producer in a relatively short period. (Washington Examiner, 7/12/16)
- U.S. to Become Net Exporter of Natural Gas in 2017: With natural gas pipeline exports to Mexico on the rise and the ramp up of U.S. LNG exports from Louisiana, the EIA projected the U.S. will become a net exporter of natural gas in the second half of 2017. “For the first time since 1957, the U.S. is on track to export more natural gas than it imports; this will occur during the second half of next year as more liquefied natural gas export capacity comes online,” said EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski. Net imports of natural gas by contrast are expected to decline, EIA said. Despite the export increase, Sieminski stressed that “there are still abundant supplies to meet domestic demand.” (Platts, 7/12/16)
SUPPORTING COMMUNITIES, CREATING NEW OPPORTUNITIES
- Shale Tax Revenues Directed to Bradford Twp. Bridge Repair: [At a recent Bradford Twp.] meeting, supervisors adopted a resolution providing for supplemental appropriations for the 2016 budget for the recently received $42,064.50 in Act 13 Marcellus Shale impact fee revenue from the Commonwealth. “We’re going to set that aside exclusively for the bridge fund so we can get these bridges taken care of,” [Supervisor chairman Jim] Erwin said. (Bradford Era, 7/12/16)
- Marcellus Shale Impact Tax Revenues Supports Local Park Projects: Schuylkill Headwaters Assoc. will receive a $103,375 grant [from shale tax revenues] to complete a 5-foot-wide walking trail around New Philadelphia Park. The funding will also assist the association with a maintenance road to the river walk and a formal trailhead. “These programs will benefit communities, provide for safer waterways and flood protection and for private-sector job growth in areas all across our county,” [said] Sen. David Argall. … The Schuylkill Conservation District will receive a $300,000 grant…also funded through the Marcellus Legacy Fund. The grant will allow for the construction of more than five acres of floodplain and wetlands along 2,100 feet of Good Spring Creek in an effort to reduce sedimentation of 16 miles in the Upper Swatara Creek Watershed. (Republican Herald, 7/11/16)
- Natural Gas Impact Tax Fees Fund Washington Co. Walking Trail Improvements: A $125,000 grant will allow Washington officials to complete the second phase of a rehabilitation project at Washington Park. “This will allow us to continue work at the park,” said Mayor Scott Putnam, noting North Franklin Twp. also received a state grant for a bridge improvement project on Franklin Farms Road. “Our area has been very fortunate.” … “The trail is part of the park’s master plan and will help increase use of the park and give even more reason for people to want to move here,” stated State Rep. Brandon Neuman, D-North Strabane Twp.. … The grant, administered through the Commonwealth Financing Authority, is derived from Act 13 Marcellus Shale impact [tax] fees. (Observer-Reporter, 7/8/16)
- Shale Breaths “New Life” into Former Steel Plant: The shale industry is breathing life into an 80,000 sf. building not used since the former Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp. closed it in 1983. Now 25 workers are using the space to inspect and repair metal tubes used to drill oil and natural gas wells. Chris Harris, partner with Dunbar, Pa.-based JLE Industries, said his company chose the Benwood property because of its central location in the heart of the Marcellus and Utica region. … “The community has been extremely supportive and helpful. They want to see jobs created,” Harris said. “We are so fortunate to have these amazing resources right here under our feet. This is one of the largest gas fields in the whole world.” … [Retired Wheeling-Pitt employee Joe] Trubiano said the JLE shop is one example of how the shale boom positively impacts the area. “It’s a spinoff of the new industry in this area — the shale industry … At least guys are working there and making decent wages.” (Intelligencer, 7/10/16)
ABUNDANT, CLEAN-BURNING, AMERICAN ENERGY
- Top Obama Adviser: Natural Gas “Net Positive” for Environment: President Obama’s top science adviser on Monday said natural gas will be an important fuel for decades and called the “keep-it-in-the-ground” movement unrealistic. … The administration is dedicated to cutting GHGs, but it also believes natural gas has a role to play in the fight against climate change, said John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. … Holdren pointed to natural gas’s role in helping cut greenhouse gas emissions. … Holdren said natural gas will be a net positive, in terms of cutting emissions, for the next “30 or 40 years.” (Morning Consult, 7/11/16)
- New Univ. of Colorado Study: Fracking not polluting wells, CU researchers say: Virtually all of the methane found in groundwater supplies in northeastern Colorado is naturally occurring, according to a Univ. of Colorado study. The study, which examined methane levels in groundwater supplies going back 25 years, found that microbially generated methane, rather than high-volume hydraulic fracturing, is the primary source of dissolved methane in that region’s groundwater supply. … The report shows that fracking has little to nothing to do with methane in groundwater supplies. … “The ability to do this kind of far-reaching impact study using public domain data is key,” said Owen Sherwood, a lead author of the study. … “I think it’s important for people to realize that being able to light your tap water on fire in many cases is a natural occurrence,” Sherwood said. … The study found that dating back to as far as 1988, dissolved methane was discovered in 523 of the 924 water wells that were sampled, a rate of about 64%. (Daily Sentinel, 7/11/16)
- “Science Exonerates Fracking Yet Again”: University of Colorado researchers sifted through 25 years of public data maintained by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the state’s regulatory agency, to determine the source of dissolved methane in the Denver-Julesburg basin’s groundwater supply. … High-volume fracking has little to nothing to do with methane in groundwater supplies in that type of formation, according to the report. Last year, the EPA issued draft findings of an exhaustive study that concluded fracking hasn’t had “widespread, systemic impacts” on the country’s drinking water. The Colorado study seems to put an exclamation point on that assertion. … The takeaway — that fracking, when done properly, doesn’t pose a significant threat to drinking water. (Daily Sentinel editorial, 7/13/16)
Safe shale development is strengthening America’s security, boosting our economy, and providing cleaner air. Read more about these benefits on the MSC’s blog, as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages.