IEA: Benefits of Shale Revolution Are Only Just Beginning
“[T]he world has not seen yet the full impact of [the] shale revolution – it is just starting.” That’s how Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, explained the incredible benefits that are yet to come thanks to an abundance of U.S. shale oil and natural gas during a press conference with U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry last week.
Not only is the United States leading the world in oil and gas production, but in large part thanks to increased use of natural gas in electricity generation, the country is also leading the world in CO2 emissions reductions – a point emphasized by Birol:
“In the last 10 years, the emissions reductions in the United States has been the largest in the history of energy – almost 800 million tons – and this is a huge decline of emissions.”
And as Perry highlighted, what is yet to come as a result of abundant U.S. shale oil and natural gas is just as exciting:
“Next year the United States will become a net exporter of energy. That is incredibly historic.”
The impact of U.S. shale on global liquefied natural gas exports is only just beginning.
The role that U.S. shale will play in shaping the future global LNG market was a major talking point in the leaders’ comments, with Birol emphasizing:
“There is a huge expectation around the world for U.S. LNG.”
In 2000 there were only five countries capable of importing LNG and by the end of the year 49 countries will be able to receive these shipments. Birol attributes this growth to U.S. shale propelling the country to become a major LNG exporter:
“This is mainly driven by the expectation of importing U.S. LNG… I think the United States has all the responsibility to provide LNG to the rest of the world, and as such to bring in more flexibility to the markets, more security to the markets and more diversification.”
Today, the United States exports LNG to 31 countries on five continents, according to Perry, and the Energy Information Administration expects U.S. export capacity to more than double by the end of the year. As Perry said:
“Over the next 18 months, [the United States] will increase our LNG export capacity by 150 percent.”
As EID’s latest infographic shows, the United States already has 20.5 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) in existing, under construction or approved LNG export capacity, with another 26.2 bcf/d proposed or in pre-filing.
The natural gas being produced from shale in rural America – be it Midland County, Texas or Susquehanna County, Pa. – is delivering huge benefits across the United States and globally. And as IEA’s projections show, we haven’t even scratched the surface of the opportunities the shale revolution could bring to the world.