Read my latest response on the National Journal’s Energy and Environment Experts blog to the question, “Drill, Barry, Drill?”
President Obama’s plan to expand offshore natural gas exploration is a clear sign that his administration understands the importance of achieving American energy security on all fronts. While AGA is happy that the president sees the vital short- and long-term role that natural gas plays in a low-carbon future, greater inroads to capturing natural gas’ inherent efficiency and robust domestic resource base are still needed.
Just this Tuesday, AGA reported that at year-end 2009 the known reserves of natural gas in the United States likely increased for the 11th straight year, approaching 250 trillion cubic feet. Combined with the most current estimate of undiscovered resources, we have a total future supply equaling more than 100 years at the current rate of use. This is the highest level in more than 35 years. Much of the supply optimism can be traced to the influences of unconventional onshore resources such as natural gas from shale and tight sands. Access to offshore natural gas reserves will provide additional strength to domestic resources.
This kind of robust supply base reinforces the pivotal role that natural gas will continue to play in the years ahead. When used directly in homes, businesses and industry, natural gas is at its most efficient. And when used for power generation, natural gas is the cleanest of fossil fuels. All of these benefits point to the need for continued domestic exploration for natural gas onshore and off, unconventional and conventional.
The goal of a diverse stable of carbon-neutral alternatives for power generation is an important one; it is certainly a goal worth pursuing. To that end, AGA has long supported the development of a diverse domestic energy supply, including oil, nuclear, coal, wind, hydro, solar and, of course, domestic, abundant and clean natural gas.
But we as a nation also need to get behind the best low carbon fuel that is domestically accessible, already abundant, available and ready right now. Natural gas meets all of these criteria and expanded offshore access will help to ensure it continues to do so.