Op-ed: How West Virginia Can Alleviate Energy Crisis | News, Sports, Jobs
Consumers around the world expect to pay more for energy this winter, and while many factors are contributing to global price fluctuations, America’s position as the world’s largest energy producer is expected. be used to mitigate – and avoid – this situation both at home and abroad. .
Now the fifth-largest energy producer in the country, natural gas production in West Virginia has grown by nearly 770% over the past decade. In 2020, despite market uncertainties amid the coronavirus pandemic, state data shows natural gas and oil production increased by more than 14% and 10%, respectively, from levels in 2019.
And regionally, if the Appalachian Basin (made up of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia) were a country, we would be the third largest producer of natural gas in the world, behind Russia and the rest. the United States.
In addition to being the highest-paying industry in the state and supporting approximately 82,000 jobs, this growth has saved U.S. households, manufacturers and businesses more than $ 1,000 billion in energy costs since 2008. .
And to be clear, the current energy crisis is not due to a lack of supply. As market expert Daniel Yergin made clear to Bloomberg, “The United States has a lot of natural gas. “
Mr. Yergin is absolutely right. As commodity prices fluctuate constantly, America’s readily available shale reserves give us the flexibility to keep prices stable and maintain uninterrupted service for homes, businesses and hospitals.
That being said, delays in energy infrastructure and policies that ignore the basic need for natural gas and oil, like those we’ve seen in Europe and parts of the United States, are forcing consumers to shoulder the burden and put our energy security at risk.
But there are signs of hope, even in California, where they are starting to recognize the need for natural gas. After years of resistance to the development of fossil fuels and related grid reliability issues, the state’s utilities commission is sourcing natural gas as winter approaches. While this is likely a flash in the pan, Golden State’s move is an unspoken recognition of the reliability natural gas provides.
However, increasing production does not automatically mean that supply meets demand. In an interview with CNBC, EQT CEO Toby Rice recently told analysts: “If we had more access to more pipelines in this country, the US shale industry could help alleviate energy shortages,” he added. adding that “It’s a self-inflicted problem that is completely unnecessary.”
Building more pipelines and related energy infrastructure, such as export terminals, improves our ability to distribute this abundant source of energy nationally and globally, helping to reduce global emissions, build a network stronger and more flexible electric power, to grow our economy and strengthen America’s ties with foreign allies – all while creating well-paying jobs for hard-working American families.
Locally, projects like the Mountain Valley Pipeline have unfortunately experienced numerous delays in commissioning due to heavy legal challenges and construction blockages by anti-fossil fuel activists. Mountain Valley, which will supply essential natural gas to Virginia and North Carolina, hopes to be operational next summer but faces many hurdles before it is completed.
Pipelines are the safest and most efficient way to transport energy resources, a fact that has been proven by regulators, safety engineers and independent experts. Especially now, as lagging pipeline infrastructure contributes to rising energy prices at home and abroad, companies developing energy infrastructure need effective permit reviews and security. regulatory framework in their efforts to develop and construct the energy conduits that connect the resources from where they are produced to where they are needed.
West Virginia shale miners produce the energy that reduces global energy poverty and helps decarbonize our economy. All the benefits here – cost savings, job and economic growth, and environmental progress – can be shared with the world, as long as we recognize the importance of this world-class energy resource.
Charlie Burd is executive director of the Gas and Oil Association of West Virginia (GO-WV), based in Charleston.