Real Clear Pennsylvania: Solving the Global Energy Crisis Starts in Pennsylvania

The United States is the world’s top producer of natural gas and oil, and millions of consumers across the country and around the world rely on American-made energy for heating their homes or filling their gas tanks.

Across the Atlantic, our allies in Europe have looked to America for abundant, reliable energy to replace supplies from Russia. Prior to the invasion of Ukraine, Russia supplied 40% of Europe’s natural gas and over a quarter of its imported crude oil.

Surging global demand for energy underscores the urgent need for more U.S. natural gas and oil.

And yet, the White House continues to push policies that restrict natural gas and oil development and infrastructure projects while calling on companies to boost oil production as prices at the pump increase. These mixed messages and contradictory policies may discourage investment at a time when the world needs more energy, not less.

Meeting the growing demand for energy while reducing emissions is the challenge of our time – and one the natural gas and oil industry is addressing head-on.

U.S. producers have been working to boost supply to help meet the needs of consumers here at home and around the world, but we need policies that enable tapping into America’s abundant natural gas and oil resources.

In its 2023 State of American Energy report, the American Petroleum Institute outlines a three-pronged approach for strengthening U.S. energy leadership to keep pace with demand while creating a lower-carbon future.

First, we must make more American energy. The latest industry data show petroleum demand outpaced supply in December. U.S. petroleum exports remained near record levels, and Strategic Petroleum Reserve crude oil inventories fell to the lowest levels since 1983.

Natural gas and oil are projected to supply nearly 50% of the world’s energy in 2050, according to the Energy Information Administration, further underscoring the importance of expanding access to energy resources.

Washington can do more by lifting developmental restrictions on federal lands and waters, which could add the equivalent of 395 million barrels of oil production through 2035.

The Marcellus Shale, which extends under three-fifths of Pennsylvania, has the largest estimated proved reserves of any natural gas field in the U.S.

With policies that encourage investment and enable development, we can safely and efficiently produce energy under strong environmental standards while bolstering our economy and energy security.

Second, infrastructure review and permitting processes must be streamlined so that we can more effectively move energy to where it is needed. That means new pipelines, liquefied natural gas terminals, and fuel infrastructure. More energy development matters very little if we can’t deliver the energy to American consumers and allies overseas.

It takes more time today to obtain a permit for a project than to build one. Bogged down in lengthy reviews, delays in permitting, and excessive red tape, critical infrastructure projects are often stalled or canceled, thus impeding access to affordable, reliable U.S. energy.

As a recent analysis shows, 10 major energy infrastructure projects across the U.S., representing more than $34 billion in private spending, have been postponed or canceled because of protracted permitting-review processes. This includes four natural gas projects in Pennsylvania and the Appalachia region that could support 4.6 billion cubic feet per day of production needed by families and businesses while supporting thousands of jobs and generating $19 billion in private spending for those regions’ economies.

Third, as we make and move energy, we are improving how we do it.

U.S. natural gas and oil companies are meeting energy demand while striving to implement lower-carbon technologies and help safeguard the environment.

Between 2011 and 2021, methane emissions per unit of production declined 66% across the major-producing basins in the U.S., including Appalachia, even as production increased. Significant progress has also been made in reducing carbon emissions to near generational lows.

Good policy can encourage further innovation by clarifying tax credits for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), hydrogen, and clean fuels, as well as advancing permitting architecture for low-carbon infrastructure – including pipelines – that is consistent, timely, and predictable.

As the second-largest U.S. producer of natural gas, Pennsylvania is uniquely positioned to play a major role in hydrogen production and help achieve ambitious climate goals.

A solutions-focused plan – what we call Make, Move, and Improve – offers policymakers a blueprint for bolstering American-made energy today and in the future.

We must lead on energy solutions and recognize American natural gas and oil as a long-term strategic asset and catalyst for economic growth and innovation.

Author: Stephanie Catarino Wissman
Publication: RealClear Pennsylvania
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