Energy Secretary Rick Perry: ‘True energy independence is finally within our grasp’

  • Energy Secretary Perry says the U.S. is producing more energy due to innovation, deregulation and pro-growth policies.
  • "Nowhere is this stunning turnaround more dramatic than with natural gas," he writes.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry
Joshua Roberts | Reuters
Energy Secretary Rick Perry

By all accounts, the United States is in the midst of truly spectacular progress in the vital realm of energy. Spurred by technological breakthroughs unleashed by innovation, deregulation and pro-growth policies, we are now producing energy more abundantly and affordably, using it more cleanly and efficiently, and obtaining it from a wider range of sources than anyone ever thought possible.

Gone are the days of America's crippling dependence on foreign energy sources. True energy independence is finally within our grasp and we are exporting more of our energy to our allies.

Nowhere is this stunning turnaround more dramatic than with natural gas.

Thanks to significant innovations in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, the United States is the number-one natural gas producer in the world.

A few short years ago, U.S. natural gas producers were spending billions to construct facilities to import liquefied natural gas (LNG). Today, they are converting investments to export operations and last year, for the first time since Dwight Eisenhower was president, America became a net natural gas exporter.

We currently have two LNG export facilities operating in the United States – Sabine Pass on the Gulf Coast in Louisiana and Cove Point on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland – and another four export terminals under construction. Sabine Pass and Cove Point ship American LNG to 30 nations on five continents.

During a recent visit to Cove Point, I witnessed the historic completion of its LNG export expansion project — a great milestone in America's natural gas journey — and watched as a tanker was loaded and readied for shipment to overseas customers.

Cove Point's contracted LNG customers are companies based in Japan, a prosperous nation of 127 million people, and India, the world's largest democracy with a growing economy and population of more than 1.3 billion. These contracts carry destination flexibility, and have allowed LNG from Cove Point to reach global destinations that include the United Kingdom, Argentina, Jordan, Japan, Pakistan, Kuwait, the Dominican Republic, and Panama, with more opportunities on the horizon.

In fact, DOE just finalized a new rule that will expedite the permitting of certain small-scale exports of natural gas to reduce the regulatory burden on American businesses, while providing significant benefits to our trading partners in the Caribbean, Central and South America.

The benefits of our shale revolution have given a tremendous boost to both our domestic economy and our energy security. To seize this momentum, we must continue to expand our extraction capabilities and domestic transmission infrastructure. Doing so will allow the United States to better distribute product from the fields of Appalachia's Marcellus and Utica Shale Basins, and meet our growing energy needs at home.

Rig hands thread together drilling pipe at a hydraulic fracturing site owned by EQT Corp. located atop the Marcellus shale rock formation in Washington Township, Pennsylvania.
Ty Wright | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Rig hands thread together drilling pipe at a hydraulic fracturing site owned by EQT Corp. located atop the Marcellus shale rock formation in Washington Township, Pennsylvania.

Natural gas production has created over 150,000 jobs across the nation. And as domestic production continues to increase, and natural gas prices remain low, our economy reaps the benefits. American families enjoy a lower cost of living, and our businesses see reduced operating costs, make greater investment, and increase employment opportunities.

The Trump Administration has put Washington squarely on the side of growth and opportunity, by removing unnecessary and burdensome federal regulations that unfairly target fossil energy.

But that is not all. These actions will benefit our environment as well.

Indeed, partly due to our natural gas boom, the United States has led the world in cutting energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, reducing them by nearly 14 percent – or 700 million metric tons – from 2005 to 2017. Increasing our use of clean, affordable natural gas is helping us eliminate the false choice between growing our economy and protecting our environment.

And what has worked for us can work for the world. The increased availability of American LNG will contribute to global energy security, providing more options for the world's energy consumers.

For too long, Russia has enjoyed near-monopoly status as the main supplier of natural gas to our European allies, and wielded that power as a means of political coercion.

Simply stated, the United States wants to help our partners increase their energy security by increasing the diversity, not only of their supply, but of their suppliers as well.

Now that America is exporting natural gas, we stand ready, willing, and able to be a reliable and competitive source of energy diversity and security for our trading partners.

The story of America's path to energy independence shines brightly for all the world to see and natural gas is playing a central role. As we continue to share more of our energy with the world, the expansion at Cove Point and further natural gas development and production are prime examples of the success of President Donald Trump's American energy dominance agenda.

*Rick Perry is the U.S. Secretary of Energy.