Export demand is an opportunity for natural gas, industry official says cautiously

Exporting natural gas could increase the market for fuel extracted from the Piceance Basin, but the opportunity is a limited one, a spokeswoman for an industry organization said.

The federal government has approved three export permits for liquefied natural gas nationwide, but it will take some time before producing areas such as the Piceance will see a benefit from those permits, Kathleen Sgamma of the Western Energy Alliance told about 50 people Monday at a Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce energy briefing.

Once U.S. natural gas is shipped abroad, “Hopefully we’ll see an uptick in production” on the Western Slope, Sgamma said.

The Japanese, still reeling from the disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in 2011, “have been to Washington, D.C., saying we need that natural gas,” Sgamma said.

Demand for the nation’s natural gas reserves is attracting interest from other nations, too, such as China and Canada, Sgamma said.

The United States pioneered horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, so its expertise and supplies remain in demand, Sgamma said.

“But the world will catch up eventually,” she said.

The Western Energy Alliance, which represents 400 companies in 13 western states, many of them smaller operators, will begin a campaign next week in an attempt to burnish the industry’s image.

Two Internet ads, one on the environmental stewardship of the drilling industry and the other about wildlife, will be available next week on the group’s website, http://www.westernenergyalliance.org, Sgamma said.

The wildlife ad features a Grand Junction man, Denny Behrens of the Colorado Mule Deer Association, lauding the industry for boosting its commitment to wildlife.


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Thanks for the heads up about the planned propaganda campaign. First we were told that we needed to produce more gas in order to wean ourselves from foreign oil. Now we are told we need to sell the gas that is owned by the American people to China because it will create jobs here and profits for oil and gas companies. Which is it? There needs to be some balance. If we turn into nothing but a gas factory, what will happen to the jobs people already have in tourism and farming?

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