The energy sector is fundamental to our nation’s economy, creating good jobs for hardworking Americans and providing innovative solutions to modern-day challenges. As a top-five energy producer, what we do right here in West Virginia — whether it’s producing, transporting, or using our natural resources –makes a big difference in everyday life.
Especially now, as Europe faces an energy crisis and looming conflict in Ukraine, we’re seeing firsthand the importance of our energy abundance to America’s national security and foreign policy interests. Just last week, the White House and European Commission made a pact to increase the supply of liquefied natural gas, including from the U.S., to Europe.
“The United States and the EU are working jointly towards continued, sufficient, and timely supply of natural gas to the EU from diverse sources across the globe to avoid supply shocks, including those that could result from a further Russian invasion of Ukraine,” a joint White House-European Commission release said.
We mustn’t forget the shale revolution that occurred right here in Appalachia over the past decade is what enabled our country to become the world’s top oil and natural gas producer, and recently, the largest exporter. Hydraulic fracturing unleashed resources once considered unattainable in the Marcellus and Utica shales (found across much of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio), and this region now provides a third of the total U.S. natural gas supply.
It’s also important to recognize it’s West Virginia’s natural gas producers helping to meet the growing demand for U.S. LNG.
Antero Resources, for example, is the top natural gas producer in the state and provided enough natural gas for the equivalent of 90 LNG cargoes sent to our allies in 2020 alone. They are directly supplying LNG to nations around the world, improving their energy security, health, safety, and livelihood.
Another major West Virginia producer, Southwestern Energy, transports roughly 50 percent of the natural gas they produce in Appalachia and Haynesville to the Gulf of Mexico to be sold on the global LNG market to our allies.
Simply put, “the U.S. LNG industry, powered by American Shale, is a solution that could prevent this type of crisis we are seeing over there in Europe from happening,” EQT CEO Toby Rice recently told CNN.
Not only does America benefit from LNG export growth as it supports our domestic economy, but we are also providing the world with a cleaner energy source, helping reduce global emissions.
Consider: our country has reduced energy-related emissions faster than any other country because we started producing and using more natural gas, and American LNG export provides other nations with that same ability.
West Virginia-produced energy is key to providing this critical fuel to our country, but we are also being more efficient and environmentally responsible than any other shale-producing basin in the country. As a recent Rystad Energy report found, “the Appalachian Basin was US’ best-in-class in 2020 when it comes to CO2 emissions intensity … Such a level of CO2 intensity performance brings Appalachia to the top quartile among all oil and gas fields globally.”
This progress is because West Virginia’s oil and natural gas producers are driving innovation, creating environmental solutions, and are committed to making West Virginia a better place to live and work.
Across the region, companies are implementing best practices, reducing emissions, and setting goals to improve environmental performance. These initiatives include responsibly sourced natural gas certification, carbon capture and storage, and setting aggressive greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.
Whether large or small, the companies that make up West Virginia’s oil and natural gas energy industry take environmental protection, conservation and public safety incredibly seriously. These are our mountains, valleys, rivers, and communities after all, and we are incredibly proud to contribute to American energy and national security.
Charlie Burd is executive director of the Gas and Oil Association of WV. Learn more at GOWV.com.