House panel reviews impact of US gas, oil development on geopolitics, economic development

Published on June 28, 2018 by Aaron Martin

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A U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy hearing held on Monday focused on the how the development of U.S. oil and gas resources impacts geopolitics, economic development, and energy security.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the subcommittee, said the purpose of the hearing was to examine how U.S. energy development and independence is “benefiting consumers and enhancing the nation’s standing on the geopolitical stage.”

U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) said Russia is “a gas station masquerading as a country” and uses its “levers of influence of turning that spigot on and off to affect policy not only in Eastern Europe but in Western Europe.”

“And as those pipelines continue to be built and provide that natural gas, Western Europe’s looking West to the United States — a stable energy producer, an ally and a friend — to provide LNG,” Duncan continued. “So they can meet their energy needs and lessen their dependence not on the Middle East for energy, but lessen their dependence on Russia and Russian gas and more strong dependence on possibly, hopefully, American LNG exports to provide that energy.”

Dennis Arriola, chief strategy officer at Sempra, agreed. He testified that the company has talked to customers outside the United States that are looking for more options to move away from dependence on Russia.

Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources, testified that the ban on crude oil exports was lifted in 2015 and the U.S. is on pace to become a net exporter by 2020. That, he said, would provide allies with “a reliable, affordable supply of vital commodities like oil, LNG and other petroleum products.”

Meanwhile, Daniel Yergin testified that U.S. oil and gas development also has benefits for U.S. consumers. Those benefits include lower costs for electricity, lower costs for heating and $120 billion in investments fueling economic development, he said.

“It’s interesting to reflect on the last 30 years, and especially the last decade, to truly appreciate how our energy security situation has improved,” U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said. “By almost every measure, we’re more energy secure today than ever before.”