U.S. Energy Exports and U.S. Foreign Policy
Is the U.S. hyping its shale gas options well beyond what it can actually deliver?
- Despite the fracking revolution, the U.S. imported 8% of its net natural gas needs as of 2011.
- It is only by 2019 that the U.S. production of natural gas is expected to exceed domestic consumption.
- Even by 2040, the U.S. is projected to be exporting only about 12% of its natural gas production.
With the crisis and Crimea and other regional threats, some in the United States have pitched U.S. shale natural gas production and exports as the cure-all to Central and Eastern Europe’s energy security fears. But can it really deliver? The facts suggest not.
1. Despite the ongoing fracking revolution, the U.S. imported 8% of its net natural gas needs as of 2011.
2. It is only by 2019 that the U.S. production of natural gas is expected to exceed domestic consumption, in large measure thanks to the shale-gas boom.
3. The United States only becomes a net exporter of natural gas by the end of this decade.
4. Even by 2040, the U.S. is projected to be exporting only 3.6 trillion cubic feet of gas annually, or about 12% of its production.
5. The first U.S. export terminals are only coming on board in 2015.
6. The United States may be better off using the natural gas to convert its automotive fleet away from gasoline (which is refined from crude oil coming from sources like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela), rather than improving the energy security of other states.
From Energy Exports as a Foreign-Policy Tool by Gerald F. Seib (Wall Street Journal), Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Also: Don’t Send America’s Natural Gas to Ukraine by Gal Luft (Politico)