The U.S. is expected to be a major natural gas exporter by 2022, according to a projection by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The U.S. could account for roughly 40 percent of the world’s extra gas production by 2022, largely due to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, according to the report. Production is growing faster than than domestic demand, so excess U.S. gas will likely be liquefied and exported abroad.
“The US shale revolution shows no sign of running out of steam and its effects are now amplified by a second revolution of rising LNG supplies,” Dr. Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, said in a press statement Thursday.
“Also, the rising number of LNG consuming countries, from 15 in 2005 to 39 this year, shows that LNG attracts many new customers, especially in the emerging world,” Birol said.
This is a huge reversal from about a decade ago when energy analysts believed the U.S. would become one of the world’s largest LNG importers because natural gas production appeared to be in permanent decline. That changed with the advent of fracking and horizontal drilling.
Now, the U.S. is the world’s largest natural gas producer.
Birol expects increased U.S. natural gas production will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the coming decades. Natural gas emits less CO2 than coal when burned for electricity production. U.S. CO2 emissions fell 12 percent from 2005 levels mainly due to fracking.
“The environmental advantages of natural gas, particularly when replacing coal, also deserve more attention from policy makers,” Birol said.
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