Tuesday, March 20, 2012

With Friends Like Senator Inhofe, The Gas Industry Needs No Enemies

Perhaps most notorious for calling global warming science a hoax, Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma certainly thinks of himself as a friend of the gas industry, and many in the gas industry would agree that he is.  Yet, after last week, when Senator Inhofe voted against the Natural Gas Act (the Pickens Plan) and rounded-up 30 co-sponsors to force a vote on repealing the EPA's Air Toxic Rule, the gas industry could do without friends like Senator Inhofe.

The biggest problem facing the gas industry today is inadequate demand.  Demand is simply not keeping up with supply.  The result is a depressed price of natural gas and a curtailment of gas drilling.

Yet, Senator Inhofe is busy in the United States Senate blocking the two biggest policies that would increase natural gas demand.    Indeed, the EPA Air Toxics Rule that Inhofe just hates would boost natural gas demand by more than 1 trillion cubic feet per year, according to estimates.  In turn, the Natural Gas Act is vital to accelerate the use of cheaper, cleaner, AMERICAN natural gas for transportation, a vital market for the future of the gas industry.

With global oil prices around $125 and war with Iran possible in the months ahead, it simply boggles the mind that any US senator would oppose the Natural Gas Act, let alone a senator who is supposedly a friend of the gas industry.  One cannot be a friend of gas development, if one blocks needed policies to use the gas produced.

Here is the simple truth.  The gas industry cannot be healthy if natural demand does not increase to match the tremendous new supplies it has produced.  For this reason, the most ardent opponents of shale gas oppose policies that boost natural gas demand. Hence blocking policies to increase natural gas demand is the surest way to cripple the gas industry today, and the gas industry needs no enemies with friends like Senator Inhofe.

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