In 2012, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that the United States consumes more oil on a daily basis than any other country. At approximately 18.5 million barrels per day, the U.S. uses almost twice as much oil as China, the second-largest consumer. Forty percent of that oil was imported from other countries, making the U.S. extremely oil-dependent on foreign nations.
Last Wednesday, thousands of energy industry experts met at the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s 4th Annual Shale Insight conference in Pittsburgh, PA to discuss the ways that the US can become an energy leader and make the most of its own sources of oil and natural gas. With hundreds of exhibitors and a strong lineup of guest speakers, there was plenty of information for those in attendance to learn in regards to the natural gas industry and energy independence.
The #ShaleInsight hashtag allowed people who couldn’t make it to the conference to follow along with live tweets and pictures from the event to get the full experience without actually being there. Although many topics were discussed, such as fracking, technology, and protecting groundwater, a common theme was energy independence.
Stephen Moore, chief economist for the Heritage Foundation, began to discuss how years ago politicians didn’t expect an energy boom to come from Marcellus Shale, but it’s clear now that the boom is happening, opening up opportunities to lessen the amount of foreign oil and natural gas imported each year. Adam Pope, Senior Director at Bravo’s Pittsburgh office, tweeted that the “number of ships delivering [liquefied natural gas] to Cove Point (Maryland) went from 80 in 2005 to just a few in 2011 due to Marcellus.”
Fox News host Sean Hannity compared the Marcellus Shale boom to North Dakota’s Bakken Shale boom. While the U.S. unemployment rate is 6.1 percent, North Dakota’s is 2.8 percent according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Connecting low unemployment rates to the energy industry, Hannity said, “North Dakota is a miracle. It ought to be duplicated. It’s the paradigm that we should be creating across the country.” He has launched a “Get America Back to Work” campaign to promote oil and gas job openings.
Not only can liquefied natural gas (LNG) benefit the U.S. domestically, it can also build stronger relationships with other countries. According to participants in a panel discussion, there is a need for a LNG market in Japan because of reasonable pricing and the fact that the gas would be coming from a politically stable, allied nation.
Marcellus Shale creates many opportunities for the U.S., especially in Pennsylvania where enormous natural gas deposits have the potential to create a great number of jobs. There is also possibility for economic growth and stronger foreign alliances. As Moore mentioned, the U.S. still imports approximately $3 billion worth of oil every year, and he predicted, “If we get this right, within six years the U.S. will be energy independent.”
Emily Brensinger | Bravo Group | Wayne InternPhoto Credit: