Shale plays transform US the world's largest producer of clean energy

Source: America's Natural Gas Alliance

Vast new supplies of domestic natural gas have the potential to advance the United States' leadership role in the world's fast-emerging clean-energy economy, said Steve Malcolm, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Tulsa-based Williams, in a speech here today at the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting. 

Malcolm, who also serves as vice chairman of America's Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), delivered the speech at the event's opening plenary session. Malcolm said mayors' decisions to purchase natural gas vehicles in growing numbers and a transition to power plants that run on natural gas in communities across the country are helping the U.S. clean its air, create jobs and advance its energy security. 

"Our country is at a defining moment," Malcolm told the mayors. "The United States is the envy of the world for our natural gas abundance and affordability. It truly puts our country in the driver's seat for our clean energy economy, for the health and environment of our communities and for our energy security." 

Credit is due in no small part to the nation's already strong foundation of low-cost natural gas production and long-lived reserves along with the growing abundance found in U.S. shale formations. Shale gas makes up about 20% of U.S. natural gas production. That's up from just 1% in 2000. In 25 years, it will account for 50%, according to IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates. The Potential Gas Committee estimates that U.S. natural gas reserves total about 2,000 trillion cubic feet, or about 350 billion barrels of oil equivalent -- a vast supply that can provide clean energy to the United States for many generations to come. 

"Bottom line: Our nation now has more natural gas, right here at home, than Saudi Arabia has oil, and we are now the world's largest producer of this clean energy resource," Malcolm said. "It changes the game. And, it gives our country an opportunity for real global leadership." 

To illustrate just how vast our natural gas supplies are, Malcolm pointed to the mammoth Marcellus Shale, which spans West Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Experts now believe it may be the second largest natural gas field in the world -- behind only the South Pars/Asalouyeh field between Iran and Qatar. 

The contribution of natural gas to the U.S. economy is unmistakable. In fact the natural gas industry supported more than 2.8 million jobs in 2008 with an overall industry economic impact of $385 billion. In his speech, Malcolm also unveiled an ANGA-produced animated short video, titled "An Energy Story," that explores the potential of natural gas to help meet U.S. clean energy goals. 

ANGA is the title sponsor of this year's mayors gathering. The alliance also supported an event Thursday evening honoring the American Lung Association's 2010 Clean Vehicle Champions, 16 mayors who champion clean transportation in their cities, largely by expanding their natural gas vehicle fleets and infrastructure. 

"When we talk about our economy, our environment and energy independence, we tend to talk in terms of Washington," said ANGA President and CEO Regina Hopper. "But quite often it is local leaders, like our mayors, who are taking the wheel and driving change in communities across our nation. ANGA is proud to stand with the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the American Lung Association to highlight the vast potential of natural gas to help clear the air and enhance economic opportunities in our cities." 

Natural gas vehicles are a significant area of focus at this year's mayors' gathering. They are being used to transport attendees. And, the event features a substantial exhibit hall with a diverse array of vehicles, from school and transit buses to service vans and passenger vehicles, that all run on clean, abundant and American natural gas. 

With mayors across America exercising significant purchasing authority, they can play a key role in the development of these clean transportation alternatives. ANGA has compiled for the nation's mayors a compendium of best practices that spotlight the decisions of mayors across the country to embrace clean transportation through natural gas. The guide also was released at this week's conference. 

America's Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) represents 34 of North America's leading independent natural gas exploration and production companies. ANGA members are dedicated to increasing the appreciation of the environmental, economic and national security benefits of clean, abundant, North American natural gas.



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