Staples: Exporting Texas Natural Gas Delivers Opportunity at Home and Cleaner Air Worldwide

October 22, 2020

NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Rio Grande Guardian.

The United States has emerged as a leader not only in global energy but also in environmental progress.

During a time when the U.S. saw exponential growth in domestic energy production, our nation reduced energy-related carbon dioxide emissions more than any other nation since 2000, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Our nation’s climate progress is a direct result of increased use of natural gas, which is replacing other, older forms of energy used for power. And this environmental progress is poised to extend beyond our borders as we expand our ability to export American liquified natural gas (LNG) around the globe.

Recently, President Trump announced a policy that will allow the extension of LNG export permits through 2050. At the same time, the U.S. Department of Energy authorized exports of LNG from four proposed export projects in Texas, adding to the two LNG export facilities already operating in the Lone Star State. In his announcement of the authorizations, U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette said, “The export capacity of these four projects alone is enough LNG to supply over half of Europe’s LNG import demand.”

Expanding our ability to export LNG swings wide the doors of opportunity for the United States to contribute significantly to improved air quality around the world. This is especially true in countries like India and China where electricity generation comes from less environmentally friendly sources. According to a study from the research firm ICF, using American LNG as opposed to coal for power generation can reduce emissions in these nations by more than 50 percent on average.

In contrast to the power generation mix of other nations, America increased its natural gas generation from 19 percent to nearly 40 percent from 2005 to 2019 – an achievement that has resulted in the lowest air emissions levels in a generation. Our success in this space is powered by Texas, the nation’s leading natural gas producer. Further, our state’s expansive LNG export capabilities have propelled the United States to become not only a net exporter of natural gas but also one of the top global exporters of LNG in the world. To export our natural resources is to export environmental progress.

But American exports of LNG don’t just benefit our global climate – they provide long-lasting, good-paying jobs for Texas families and economic development for Texas communities. Texas’ four proposed LNG export projects are estimated to generate $45 billion in investment and create thousands of jobs. This is in addition to the billions of dollars in oil and natural gas taxes and state royalties that fund local governments, public education, roads, first responders, and our state’s Rainy Day Fund.

Clean, Texas-produced natural gas clearly has a huge role to play in achieving environmental progress here at home and around the world. We should applaud opportunities to expand LNG exports. Not only does this opportunity bring certainty for planning and investment that will accelerate economic recovery and security at home, but it strengthens America’s global standing and delivers the benefits of our clean and affordable energy to people around the world.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil & Gas Association. It appears in The Rio Grande Guardian with the permission of the author.