Two Former Energy Secretaries: Foreign Demand For U.S. LNG “Simply Astounding,” Natural Gas Is Part of Energy Transition
Affordable natural gas has already helped the United States dramatically lower greenhouse gas emissions and the nation should continue exporting the fuel to help allies around the world meet their own climate goals, according to former Energy Secretaries Ernest Moniz and Dan Brouillette.
Speaking at a recent forum, the two former secretaries – one Democratic and one Republican – stressed that while an energy transition is occurring, natural gas is still part of the picture. As Moniz, who served during the Obama administration, said:
“It’s going to be a transition, but I think that the ground truth is that natural gas is going to remain a very important part of the global picture.”
Brouillette, who served during the Trump administration, agreed, adding that demand for cleaner-burning American natural gas was growing around the world:
“The demand in emerging economies around the world is simply astounding. It’s important we provide that marketplace with U.S.-produced natural gas because we are the cleanest producer in the world.”
Their statements reflect the growing international recognition that natural gas will be key to helping countries meet their emissions reductions goals. This is becoming especially clear in Asia, where China and Japan are looking to natural gas as a source of reliable, low-emission energy.
Speaking at the same event as Brouillette and Moniz, Ejima Kiyoshi, Japan’s minister of economy, trade and industry, said that natural gas would play a key role in helping Japan and other Asian countries meet their climate goals. Kiyoshi said that while the energy transition will look different in each country, fossil fuels will remain important:
“These transitions must take into account the different circumstances of each country and utilize all energy sources and technologies, including not only renewable energy and energy efficiency improvement, but also incorporating the clean use of fossil fuels.”
Natural gas is a key part of the Chinese climate solution.
The use of American natural gas is expanding in Asia. In addition to Japan, Vietnam is planning to more than double its imports of LNG between 2026 and 2035 and even China is planning to rely on natural gas to meet its climate goals while ensuring reliable power.
The world’s largest energy consumer and biggest carbon emitter, China has committed to ambitious carbon-neutrality timelines and sees natural gas as the way to achieve them.
China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) announced last week that it planned to cut coal-fired generation to 44 percent of energy consumption by 2030 and to 8 percent by 2060 as China transitions from coal to natural gas to meet its climate goals.
In its most recent annual long-term energy outlook, CNPC estimated a 2.8 percent per annum increase in demand for natural gas over the next two decades, as the country uses LNG as a bridge fuel. They further predicted that natural gas consumption will peak around 2040 at 550 billion cubic meters.
Foreign demand for American LNG is here to stay
The Chinese announcement shows the truth behind Moniz’s and Brouillette’s words: Foreign countries are increasingly coming to rely on American natural gas as a source of affordable, clean, reliable energy. The shale revolution has already helped to reduce emissions associated with electricity generation in the United States and now China, Vietnam, and other parts of Asia are eager to do the same.