Expert witnesses testifying during Tuesday’s House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power hearing agreed that the United States has plentiful supplies of natural gas, underscoring the ability and need to expand domestic use and move forward with exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Here’s what they had to say:
Daniel Yergin, IHS: “While markets and economics will eventually determine the realistic scale of U.S. exports, one also has to take into account wider considerations in assessing policy regarding future LNG exports. For decades, the United States has made the free flow of energy supplies one of the cornerstones of foreign policy. It is a principle we have urged on many other nations. How can the United States, on one hand, say to a close ally like Japan, suffering energy shortages from Fukushima, please reduce your oil imports from Iran, and yet turn around and, on the other, say new natural gas exports to Japan are prohibited?”
Adam Sieminski, Energy Information Administration (EIA): “Cumulative production of dry natural gas from 2011 through 2035 in the AEO2013 Reference case is about 8 percent higher than in AEO2012, primarily reflecting continued increases in shale gas production that result from the dual application of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.”
Mary Hutzler, Institute for Energy Research and former energy analyst at EIA : “The outlook for natural gas production in the United States has dramatically changed over the last decade. Just a few years ago, U.S. manufacturing facilities were moving abroad to pursue more affordable gas. At the time, the U.S. had relatively high natural gas prices. Now … energy companies are considering building liquefied natural gas terminals to export natural gas and new manufacturing plants are springing up around the country. The boom in natural gas production has completely changed the natural gas landscape and has greatly lowered natural gas prices for consumers and industrial users.”
- Japan’s TEPCO gears up for US shale gas imports (utsandiego.com)
- Canada gives OK to LNG exports (upi.com)
- US Department of Energy Grants Pangea LNG Export Authorization [REPORT] (gcaptain.com)
The gas has been flowing since Sunday, March 25th, when Total evacuated all the personnel from the Elgin platform. The precise cause of the gas leak, that has been flowing approximately 240 km east of Aberdeen, is yet to be identified.
According to The Telegraph, experts have warned that the gas cloud which can be seen is very flammable and they described the situation as a disaster waiting to happen because the flare on the Elgin platform is still ongoing.
Total explains that the flare is an integral part of the platform’s safety system, and it is used to safely evacuate all the remaining gas from the platform. The company says that the flare does not pose a threat, because the winds are taking the gas cloud away from the open flame.
“The wind is forecast to remain in its current direction for the coming days. You can be assured that this is being reviewed on a constant basis and should this change any impact is being assessed. In parallel we are investigating solutions to extinguish the flare if it does not burn out by itself.”
Elgin and Franklin are two high pressure/high temperature gas and condensate fields in the Central Graben Area of North Sea. Total E&P UK Limited owns 46.17% and is operator of both fields through its wholly-owned subsidiary EFOG and its average share of production was around 60,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2011.
Elgin/Franklin facilities comprise two wellhead platforms, one on Elgin and one on Franklin and a Production/Utilities/Quarters (PUQ) platform. The PUQ is on the Elgin field and is linked to the Elgin wellhead platform by a 90-metre bridge.
- Fitch: Total Gas Leak ‘Not Another Deepwater Horizon’ (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Gas Leak at North Sea Elgin Platform (theoildrum.com)
- ‘One spark and another Piper Alpha on our hands’: Fears grow as explosive gas leak from ‘well from hell’ threatens repeat of Britain’s deadliest rig disaster (dailymail.co.uk)
- Total says finds source of North Sea gas leak (reuters.com)