Fact Check: U.S. LNG Provides Reliable, Lower-Emissions Energy For the World
Whether you want to call it natural gas, methane gas or something else, the fact remains that U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) is providing needed, reliable energy across the globe, and helping to reduce emissions and improve the health of communities in the process.
In a recent opinion piece, “Keep It In the Ground” group Rainforest Action Network, calls for banks to “stop financing any fossil fuel expansion, especially deceptive methane gas projects,” citing examples like India and Europe in its fear-mongering and misinformed rationale.
EID has discussed numerous times the role that U.S. LNG has played in Europe’s energy security, particularly over the last year as the impacts of rising demand amidst a backdrop of Russian sanctions and the war in Ukraine hit the European Union and United Kingdom.
Likewise in India, the country is facing growing energy demand and trying to improve access to electricity and clean cooking fuels. That includes increasing the share of renewables in its energy mix – it’s currently 80 percent coal, oil and biomass – as well as importing LPG (liquefied propane gas) to reduce harmful indoor air pollutants from currant widespread cooking practices. This is a complex challenge, but the combination of renewable energy and natural gas is already helping provide “secure, affordable and sustainable energy,” according to the International Energy Agency. IEA explains:
“India has also been prioritizing access to electricity and clean cooking. Progress in both have been remarkable: 700 million people gained access to electricity since 2000, and 80 million new LPG connections for clean cooking were created. The Government of India is continuing to focus on providing secure, affordable and sustainable energy, while achieving its ambitious renewable energy targets and reducing local air pollution.”
Here’s a few more key facts on U.S. LNG:
FACT: Natural gas will be needed for the long-haul.
RAN calls for banks to stop financing LNG terminals, despite the increasing need for investment to ensure energy security in importing nations. A recent IEA report underscores the need for continued LNG investment to meet demand, and nations like Japan are promoting natural gas in their quests for carbon neutrality.
Japanese industry minister Yasutoshi Nishimura recently told the LNG Producer-Consumer Conference in Tokyo:
“We must accelerate energy transition and within that transition, LNG plays an extremely important role.”
In the United States, the transition to more natural gas in the power sector has drastically reduced emissions.
As U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data show:
“From 2016 to 2020, the carbon intensity of U.S. power generation fell 18 percent, driven by a shift in the U.S. electricity generation mix away from coal and toward natural gas and renewables.” (emphasis added)
FACT: The U.S. natural gas and oil industry is strives to provide the cleanest natural gas in the world.
Lost in the opinion piece are the steps and work that the domestic industry has taken to ensure that U.S. oil and natural gas is among the cleanest in the world.
Here are a few examples:
1. The Natural Gas STAR program, a partnership with U.S. oil and gas operations to implement methane reducing technologies and practices and document their voluntary emission reduction activities. As of November 2021, program participants have reduced 72 trillion cubic feet of methane emissions.
2. The Environmental Partnership, a growing coalition that works to continuously improve the oil and natural gas industry’s environmental performance through technically feasible and commercially proven solutions that will result in significant emissions reductions.
3. The Methane Challenge Partners, a program to challenge participants to make ambitious commitments to reduce their methane emissions through the program’s two commitment options: the Best Management Practice (BMP) Commitment Option and the ONE Future Emissions Intensity Commitment Option.
The national efforts are enhanced by companies along the natural gas and LNG supply chain who are making individual efforts in their areas to reduce emissions and impacts of their facility.
For example, to meet the demand for low carbon intensive LNG, NextDecade is targeting production of low carbon intensive LNG with the use of carbon capture, and working with leading producers to supply responsibly sourced gas. In addition to designing their Rio Grande LNG project to meet or exceed all the strict environmental and regulatory requirements, NextDecade is working closely with city partners and the local community, as well as establishing an expansive conservation effort five times the size of their Rio Grande LNG export facility.
Their effort will ensure that nations like Japan and European countries have access to verifiably low carbon intensity resources from a company that is conscious about their operations, a benefit that is only available from American natural gas suppliers.
Bottom Line: The U.S. oil and natural gas industry is providing reliable, affordable and sustainable energy across the globe – regardless of what you call the resource.