Several years ago, when experts believed the United States was running out of natural gas, natural gas import facilities where being built to meet our nation’s growing energy needs. At that time, serious discussions were underway among some foreign countries — notably Iran, Russia and Venezuela – aimed at forming an OPEC-like natural gas cartel.
Today, those conversations are history thanks to advancements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Given the abundance of natural gas that has been discovered in American shale formations, not only is there much consideration around converting those import terminals of a few years ago to export terminals, but the manufacturing sector is moving back to the United States to take advantage of this abundant resource.
The U.S. Department of State also views America’s abundant natural gas resources as a “tool of diplomacy.”
And according to the Baker Institute at Rice University, “The emergence of shale gas is perhaps the most intriguing development in global energy markets in recent memory. … The dramatic lessening of Europe’s dependence on Russian gas will likely reduce Russia’s ability to unduly influence political outcomes. European buyers will have ample alternatives to Russian supplies, thereby reducing Moscow’s leverage in the balance of power between Russia and the [European Union.]”