Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s latest attempt to “turn up the heat” on the energy sector sparked a backlash from industry executives. In recent letters to natural gas producers, Warren demanded the industry respond to questions about record exports of natural gas while prices are rising in the U.S., blaming “corporate greed.”
Leaders in the natural gas sector responded with a letter of their own, dismissing Warren’s comments as a diversion to distract consumers from the impact of energy policies she’s championed.
“This a misguided and headline-grabbing ploy,” said David E. Callahan, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition. “It’s a commodity market, prices ebb and flow, and the market is responding to those signals.”
“The average price of natural gas for 2021 is significantly below the 20-year average of approximately $5.70 per mcf (thousand cubic feet),” said EQT CEO Toby Rice. “Yes, the price of natural gas has increased rapidly relative to 2020, but natural gas prices in 2020 were the lowest in over two decades.”
“It’s really supply and demand 101,” added Charlie Burd, executive director of GO-WV. “It’s not rocket science.”
Meanwhile, Europe is facing fuel scarcity as winter approaches and nations are turning back to coal. American natural gas exports are vital, experts say.
“LNG exports have the potential to be the biggest green initiative on the planet,” said Rice. As it could replace dirtier fuels like coal, which Europe and China in particular figure to rely on considerably this winter.
Natural gas is a clean-burning energy option that reduces the need to burn dirtier fuels, like coal. Energy sources that produce fewer greenhouse gasses will be needed until renewables are dependable, affordable, and available worldwide.
“Oil and gas continue to play a central role in meeting the world’s energy needs, and we play an essential role in delivering them in a lower carbon way,” Chevron CEO Mike Wirth said Monday. “Our products make the world run.”
Callahan believes Warren should “support infrastructure expansion” to get the product where it is needed, domestically and globally.
Along with increased investment in natural gas, properly decommissioning abandoned wells to shut off the flow of methane and other fugitive emissions must be a priority. Cement sealing is provides a temporary fix, but is not a long-term solution and is one of the most carbon intensive products in the world.
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