Ralph Vartabedian examines the nation’s energy production boom and the push by the oil and gas industry to open up export markets.
“The oil and gas industry is pushing the Obama administration and Congress
to legalize crude exports and speed up the process of licensing gas export terminals. Industry officials argue that the U.S. is now in a position of economic strength and national security that will be further enhanced by energy exports.”
Frank Wolak, a Stanford University energy expert, cautions that it would “require billions of dollars and many years to obtain government permits for gas export terminals, giving foreign nations plenty of time to develop their own shale gas extraction programs using U.S. technology. By the time the United States is ready to export large amounts of gas, the demand could dry up.”
“Other experts worry that the U.S. will probably need all of the natural gas it will produce over the next few decades, as utilities switch from coal under pressure by environmental regulators and as the nation’s fleet of heavy trucks adopts natural gas engines.”
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“The most often-heard domestic argument in favor of U.S. exports involves job growth.”
“But experts who study the industry question such exuberance. The entire oil and gas sector is a tiny part of the U.S. economy, accounting for about 600,000 direct jobs out of 132 million.”