U.S. ‘Energy Renaissance’ has slashed imports, prices, Chamber says in report

The amount of domestic natural gas produced from “unconventional” shale resources has skyrocketed in the past decade while prices have declined and power sector carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have dropped, according to a new report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

These are among the takeaways from “What if … America’s Energy Renaissance Never Actually Happened?”

The report finds that dramatic improvements in development of domestic natural gas and oil reserves have taken the United States from an environment of “energy scarcity” to one of “energy abundance.”

The report was issued by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.

Domestic natural gas production is now dominated by contributions from unconventional sources, making up 77% of total production. The dramatic increase in shale gas production from 2006 — when only 1 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) were produced compared to 13.6 Tcf in 2015.

The increase in unconventional sources has offset declining production from traditional U.S. sources. Natural gas import levels have also dropped from 16% to 3% percent during that same period.

Natural gas prices have dropped considerably from their peak in 2008 at $8.69/MMBtu (nominal) to $2.62/MMBtu in 2015 — a 70% reduction.

Despite the growth in energy demand, carbon dioxide emission has decreased 19% in the past decade as cheap natural gas has gradually replaced coal as the primary fuel choice for U.S. power generation, according to the report.

“America’s relatively recent energy revolution  has fundamentally transformed the way we find, access, transport, and consume the energy resources that power our economy,” Chamber of Commerce said in the report. “Moving from an Era of Energy Scarcity to an Era of Energy Abundance has caught many by surprise and upended global energy markets.”

“In the space of less than a decade, the United States has experienced an astonishing energy renaissance. Once deeply dependent on foreign and often more expensive sources of energy to power its economy and employ its workforce, the United States recently surpassed Russia as the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world, extending benefits to nearly every segment of the U.S. economy in the process,” the Chamber report said.

As recently as a decade ago, 60% of the oil consumed in the United States came from foreign sources. Today, the country only imports 24% of its overall consumption.

“In this report, we take a closer look at how the energy renaissance has impacted Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin – four states that, in slightly different ways, have realized some of the greatest benefits associated with expanded U.S. energy development.”


About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.