This article was published in the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
The United States has become the world’s leader in natural gas production. Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) have lifted US gas production by 73% since 2005. With this flood of new supply, America’s natural gas export boom has come. The challenge is how to export natural gas. The answer: liquified natural gas (LNG).
Cool natural gas to −260 °F and it becomes a liquid, inert, and 600 times denser; a wonderfully exportable product. Development of LNG export terminals has led to the investment of tens of billions of dollars in new wells, pipelines, export terminals, and ships. It provides excellent American jobs for American families, and significantly reduces our massive trade imbalance.
In 2015, I toured the Freeport LNG export terminal in Freeport, Texas. I witnessed an industrial marvel. Dozens of massive Caterpillar excavators, caked in muck, busily turning dredge spoils into solid ground. As I watched this beehive of activity, it struck me that this project was a blessing, not only for Texas, but for the whole country. Workers and supplies had come from across the country to build this facility. Families from Peoria to Pittsburgh are reaping the benefits of high paying jobs because of this LNG project.
For the past half-decade, thousands of American workers turned a bog into one of the most extensive industrial facilities in the country. This fall, the first shipments of LNG have just been exported across the globe from that site. This is only the beginning; many additional LNG projects are currently under construction or working through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) permitting process. With the expansion of crude and LNG export terminals, Texas will be the export capital of the country as well as its energy capital.
As natural gas starts to flow to Freeport LNG, drilling and pipeline jobs are sprouting in West Texas, Wyoming, Colorado, and North Dakota. These are good, high-paying jobs. The revenue created will build new schools and hospitals, new baseball parks and music halls. More moms and dads will be able to take family vacations, send their kids to college, and live their American dream.
Natural resources are a blessing, and LNG is a major driver of the American energy renaissance. We should recognize the vital role it plays in helping make the American Dream possible for so many. Through the responsible development of our resources, our future will burn bright.