Top U.S. Intelligence Officials: Natural Gas Key to American Security, Job Growth

Last week, yet another study — available in full here — was released underscoring the global impact of clean-burning, job-creating American natural gas. The report, titled Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds, was prepared by the National Intelligence Council of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODMI). The comprehensive ODMI study identifies key economic influencers, chief among them America’s strengthened energy security due to the safe development of unconventional oil and natural gas.

Bloomberg News reports this about the new study: “In a tectonic shift, energy independence is not unrealistic for the U.S. in as short a period as 10-20 years,” the report states.

Here are key excerpts from the study:

  • The US has regained its position as the world’s largest natural gas producer and expanded the life of its reserves from 30 to 100 years due to hydraulic fracturing technology.
  • With shale gas, the US will have sufficient natural gas to meet domestic needs and generate potential global exports for decades to come.
  • The economic and even political implications of this technological revolution, which won’t be completely understood for some time, are already significant. In a tectonic shift, energy independence is not unrealistic for the US in as short a period as 10-20 years.
  • The prospect of significantly lower energy prices will have significant positive ripple effect for the US economy, encouraging companies to taking advantage of lower energy prices to locate or relocate to the US.
  • Preliminary analysis of the impact on the US economy suggests that these developments could  deliver a 1.7-2.2 percent increase in GDP and 2.4-3.0 million additional jobs by 2030.
  • During the last five years the combined technologies of fracking and horizontal drilling have been an energy game-changer in the United States.
  • US industry will also benefit from increased domestic natural gas production, which will lower energy costs for many manufacturing industries. Over time, the increased domestic energy production could reduce the US trade deficit because the US would be able to reduce energy imports and may be able to export natural gas and oil. Increased domestic energy production could boost employment at home.

Other top national security leaders understand that safe domestic natural gas development can be leveraged to strengthen America’s standing in the world. U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “wants to make sure that natural gas becomes a real weapon in the U.S. geopolitical arsenal,” according to the Wall Street Journal, which describes the senator as a “defense expert.” This from the Wall Street Journal:

“U.S. shale gas reserves are already transforming European natural gas markets since LNG previously destined for the United States has now been made available for Europe,” concludes a new report prepared by the minority staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where Mr. Lugar is the ranking member. “The United States can do much more to use both LNG exports to benefit NATO allies facing energy insecurity in Europe and to promote economic growth in the United States,” it says.

And in the Washington Times, Senator Lugar writes this in an op-ed under the headline “U.S. natural gas exports could break Russian dominance”:

We should allow exports of U.S. natural gas, now abundant thanks to shale gas, to all our NATO allies. America has surpassed Russia as the world’s largest natural gas producer. At current consumption rates, we have an estimated 100-year supply, and prices have fallen so low that new drilling activity is drying up. We could easily export some of this surplus as LNG without causing consumer gas prices to spike here at home.

Without question, the responsible development of clean-burning American natural gas continues to be a “game-changer on a global scale,” driving job creation, deficit and trade imbalance reduction, enhancing energy security all while protecting our environment. Indeed, natural gas is Powering an American Renaissance.