Energy Experts Spotlight Benefits of Shale Revolution at Congressional Hearing

Testimony from numerous energy experts Tuesday at a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy hearing further cemented America’s position as a global energy leader, a status that has dramatically improved the country’s energy security.

Thanks largely to incredible advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technology, U.S. natural gas production has increased by 49 percent since 2005, while U.S. production of crude oil has more than doubled to over 10 million barrels per day, making the United States the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world.

Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of research firm IHS Market and established industry expert, gave testimony on America’s international energy leadership, saying:

“A county that was thought to be on the road to becoming the largest importer of natural gas is now on the road to being one of the major exporters of natural gas and indeed is the largest producer of natural gas in the world.”

Yergin anticipates that this trend will continue, forecasting that natural gas production will “grow by another 60 percent in the next 20 years,” a prediction detailed in a recent IHS Markit report.

Other witnesses echoed Yergin’s assessment of the natural gas industry. Sempra Energy Chief Strategy Officer Dennis V. Arriola said that, “as a result of the U.S. shale energy boom and the growth in U.S. LNG export opportunities, the outlook for domestic and international natural gas markets has never been better.”

Members of the committee also expressed support for the environmental benefits of natural gas. Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) attributed the “shift to abundant and cheap natural gas,” with “a huge reduction in our carbon emissions.” Representative David McKinley (R-WV) echoed this sentiment:

“The naysayers continue to tread out their tired disproven talking points. Unfortunately, the facts have proved otherwise. In just the last 10 years the CO2 emissions in America have gone down by 20 percent [per capita]. Shale gas has given the Appalachian area a breath of fresh air and perhaps an opportunity to finally transform and revitalize a whole region of the country.”

Witnesses and members of the committee also noted impressive growth in domestic oil production.

Yergin predicts that the Permian Basin could reach a capacity of up to 5.4 million barrels a day, making its production larger than any country in OPEC except for Saudi Arabia. Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources, agreed that the U.S. has unparalleled production potential when compared to the world stage, which has huge positive geopolitical implications:

“This historic transformation from energy scarcity to energy abundance is already resulting in a stronger balance of trade and unprecedented global energy security for the United States.”

Yergin summed up the hearing best, saying, “this new outlook for oil and natural gas has created new progress for national goals of energy efficiency, cost efficiency, environmental protection, global competitiveness, and energy security. In short, the Shale Gale has put a powerful new wind at America’s back.”

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