The energy pendulum is again swinging wildly, this time the extreme swing to the left threatens the economic stability of the country. It does not matter whether one is an urban democrat or rural republican, what is going on inside the Washington DC beltway should alarm any reasonable person. The current president and his league of green devotees by exaggerating the immediate and simple remedy of renewables are now facing a stark Reality test. As much as they demonize fossil fuels the truth is the global economy right nor wrong is wedded to the use and reliance on fossil fuels.
The green team policies and misdirection in focus and leadership has made a challenging situation a forthcoming crisis. The energy withdrawal caused by the reactions to the COVID pandemic is over. The recovering Asian economies are demanding more energy. Many analysts and oil companies see global oil demand returning to the pre-crisis levels of 2019 as early as the start of next year, if not earlier, by the end of 2021. Large volumes of Liquid Natural Gas LNG are being diverted from the European market. Natural gas storage both in the United States and Europe are significantly below the five year average. China is importing coal, oil, and LNG to fuel their resurging economy post pandemic. In the US on Main Street gasoline prices are above $3.00 a gallon and rising. Heating oil, propane, and electricity utility prices are all rising as the winter heating season approaches. According to Charles Kennedy for OilPrice.com, Led by Southeast Asia oil demand globally continues to grow and is set to reach pre-pandemic levels within a few months. Oil demand in the United States is at the forefront of recovery, with petroleum product demand over the summer approaching its all-time highs.
The enlightened president is in wonderment on why and how all this is happening. Trust he has made phone calls to Valdemar Putin and the Saudi Arabians asking them to pump more oil. As reported in Reuters, OPEC+ decided last week to keep plans for easing the cuts unchanged, despite calls for more supply from consuming countries, including the United States. His next calls went to oil company executives in Texas to pump more oil. This is the same president who stopped strategic pipeline construct ion, restricted oil and natural gas development on federal lands, and curtail production in the Gulf of Mexico. He now laments they are not answering his pathetic pleas. His new answer is to provide oil from the Strategic Oil Reserves.
So as oil is in demand the President stymies production at home. US Natural gas faces a similar paradox. According to an article in the Pittsburgh Business Times EQT CEO Toby Z. Rice said Tuesday that Appalachia, one of the world’s top natural gas fields, could help relieve the short supply across the world through liquefied natural gas (LNG). But, Rice said, Appalachia and the rest of the gas-producing regions of the country are hamstrung by opposition to pipelines and a lack of LNG production and shipment terminals.
In an interview with the Business Times, Rice said a fragile energy ecosystem in Europe with a higher amount of renewables as well as a sharp drop in oil and gas development is setting up critical energy shortages in Europe.
“The key to easing that is we need more pipeline infrastructure and LNG terminals, two things that have been extremely difficult to get built based on regulatory and environmental activism,” Rice said.
“If the U.S. shale industry was unleashed and allowed to do what we do, and that’s produce low cost, reliable and clean natural gas ... that would be sufficient to provide the energy security the world needs,” he said. “All we need to do is get more pipeline infrastructure and more LNG online.”
That would have a big impact on the world: Shipping an extra 20 billion cubic feet of natural gas production would displace coal-fired power plants and save hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide pollution every day. And it will go a long way to solving poverty around the world where, according to a study from the Energy for Growth Hub, half the world’s population doesn’t have access to the 1,000 kilowatts per person a year. A thousand kilowatts a year, for example, isn’t enough to power a typical household refrigerator.
“We cannot end energy poverty with solar and wind, but we can export natural gas and we can help solve energy poverty around the world with U.S. shale.”