Report: American’s Outlook “Dramatically Altered” Thanks to “Abundant, Affordable” Natural Gas

An IHS Global Insight report released yesterday — Fueling the Future with Natural Gas: Bringing It Home — examines the clear, shale gas-related benefits for American consumers, the economy and our environment.

To be sure, in a period of just several years, the United States has gone from a position of energy scarcity to energy abundance. This new report reinforces this fact, stating that the shale revolution has “radically changed the outlook” for America. The results? More cost-savings for consumers, good jobs, and an economic rebirth, all while enhancing our environment.

Here are key IHS findings:

  • Once considered to be in imminent danger of depletion, the US natural gas resource base is now widely agreed to be sufficient to last 100 years at current rates of consumption.
  • The growth in US oil and natural gas production is fueled by capital spending on exploration and development, which exceeded $87 billion in 2012. Since the majority of the technology, tools, and know-how are home grown, an overwhelming majority of every dollar spent through this supply chain remains in the United States and supports domestic jobs.
  • Unconventional oil and gas activity and energy-related chemical manufacturing, directly or indirectly, were responsible also for 2.1 million jobs, nearly $284 billion in value added to GDP and more than $74 billion in government tax revenues in 2012. By 2025, these contributions are expected to grow to 3.9 million jobs, $533 billion in value added to GDP, and $138 billion in government revenues.
  • The new outlook for natural gas cost and availability has created new possibilities for making progress toward national goals of energy efficiency, cost efficiency, environmental protection, and energy security. It is also contributing jobs and revenues to the economy at the national, state, and local levels.
  • This reality opens many doors for efficient use of natural gas resources and infrastructure in critical areas of the US economy and quality of life, including cleaner electricity generation and direct use in businesses, homes, transportation and manufacturing.
  • Increased use of natural gas in the national energy economy will help achieve national goals of energy efficiency, environmental protection and energy security.

And here’s what others are saying:

  • “Report Predicts Stable Natural Gas Prices” for Consumers Thanks to Shale: The price of U.S.-produced natural gas will remain stable and relatively low for at least the next two decades, boosting opportunities for exploiting the fuel’s economic and environmental benefits, according to an industry-supported report Thursday. … Advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have led to a dramatic turnaround in natural gas production over the past few years.  Viewed as increasingly scarce just a decade ago, when its price rose above $15 per million Btu, natural gas produced from unconventional tight reservoirs now is plentiful and cheap, leading to reassessments of the entire U.S. energy landscape. … “This means that the North American natural gas resource base can accommodate significant increases in demand without requiring a significantly higher price to elicit new supply,” IHS said in a news release. (Houston Chronicle, 1/16/14)
  • AGA President & CEO Dave McCurdy: America’s “Abundant, Affordable” Natural Gas Supplies Benefit Consumers, Environment: New realities for domestic natural gas use are now possible because of a dramatic change in the U.S. energy landscape. “Fueling the Future with Natural Gas: Bringing it Home” outlines the many opportunities across the economy to increase natural gas use – and they are all too significant to ignore. …Just using traditional natural gas appliances provides significant cost savings for consumers. Households that use natural gas appliances for heating, water heating, cooking and clothes-drying spend an average of $600 less annually than homes using comparable appliances. For industry, it has been well documented that increased domestic natural gas has led to a manufacturing resurgence in the United Statesstrengthening our economy and making us more competitive—as companies move operations previously located abroad back stateside to take advantage of natural gas’ accessibility and lower price. IHS CERA estimates that cheaper natural gas would create 300,000 jobs and $500 billion in investment by 2025 in the chemical sector alone. … And the environmental benefits are just as significant as the end uses. Natural gas is 92 percent efficient when the full-fuel-cycle is calculated… This energy savings helps reduce customers’ utility bills and appliance life-cycle costs, while also lowering greenhouse gas emissions. (The Hill op-ed, 1/16/14)

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