I see the natural gas industry at work in my local community just about every day. In fact, I am happy to be stopped on a back country road because of a new facility under construction. It shows that the industry has created jobs and prompted economic development across the commonwealth and in local communities.
This is nothing new for the commonwealth. Throughout history, from the lumber, oil, and coal movements, Pennsylvania has always been an energy leader. The leadership has continued with the natural gas industry but there is an opportunity to grow with the institution of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exports. With such an immense amount of resources, encouraging exports will further increase investment in the industry. As a result of such investment, the industry can create more direct and indirect jobs without sacrificing domestic competitive advantage.
Projects such as Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise pipeline can make the Northeastern U.S. and Pennsylvania a domestic and global hub for LNGs. While the Williams’ Transco Pipeline traditionally allowed natural gas to flow to the north eastern region of the U.S., the proposed pipeline will allow natural gas to flow from the Pennsylvania marcellus region to areas along the Eastern Seaboard. With greater access to such pipelines, the industry will invest even further in this Pennsylvania resource which can include the institution of more facilities with export capabilities.
With such an abundance of natural gas for redistribution, domestic consumers will not suffer from a minimal increase in price as a result of the exports. Additional high demand in the world market allows for an opportunity of continued growth in the industry. The future looks bright if the U.S. continues to pursue the effort to export LNGs through greater access to pipelines and the establishment of more facilities with export capabilities. Outside of the Gulf Coast, Pennsylvania could well be the center of this bright future.
Continuing with policies that support the export of LNGs will ultimately:
Increase American Economic Investment and American Jobs:
- An ICF International study found LNG exports will contribute up to 665,000 net jobs nationwide and add up to $115 billion to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) by 2035.
Enhance the U.S. International Geopolitical Stance:
- The U.S. net natural gas trade deficit shrank from $26 billion in 2008 to $4 billion in 2013.
Pennsylvania has been given an opportunity to lead the United States’ energy resurgence. The industry will greatly enhance both domestic and international investment and job opportunities and further our influence abroad as an energy leader. Not fully taking advantage of this viable resource would be missing out on an economic opportunity that hasn’t been seen in decades. LNG exports can be a crucial step to ensure a continued positive impact in local communities such as mine.
Bravo Group’s widely known and effective energy practice has opened my eyes to the natural gas industry’s presence in the economy. The opportunities are abundant and full investment can ensure a lasting impact for many years to come.
Tyler Gilbert ~ Pittsburgh Intern