Exxon Mobil President Stephen Pryor has recently gone on record saying that America’s opportunity to extract and export natural gas is substantial enough to warrant a serious shift in focus. Pryor states that the product could provide serious benefit to US companies and the national economy and Exxon’s Lynne Lachenmyer has argued that natural gas will surpass coal as a global energy source within 30 years. Exxon is awaiting US Government approval to expand it’s LNG portfolio.
Exxon Mobil Corp. executives continue to rave about the future of natural gas, and that’s great news for mineral owners in the Barnett Shale.
My colleague, Malia Spencer, from our sister publication the Pittsburgh Business Times saw Stephen Pryor, president of Irving-based Exxon’s chemical company, speak at the Shale Insight 2013 event in Pennsylvania.
Pryor emphasized the importance of liquefied natural gas exports saying there’s high demand for it in overseas markets. Exxon plans to spend $10 billion to convert a natural gas import terminal near Port Arthur to an export terminal, if the U.S. Department of Energy approves.
“Since most of the (LNG) demand growth is outside the U.S., this present an outstanding opportunity to boost America’s exports,” Pryor said. “If U.S. producers and the nation as a whole will make the most of shale resources, investments in petrochemicals and LNG must be allowed to move ahead.”
He also talked about the petrochemical industry and how it’s achieved a major price advantage over foreign countries mainly because of affordable natural gas brought about by shale plays.
The main driver is ethylene, a by-product of ethane, which is found in wet natural gas shale plays. Other countries are using oil as the feedstock, which is more expensive.
The chemical industry accounts for 30 percent of natural gas demand in the country.
Exxon is expanding its cracker facility in Baytown. The facility cracks the ethane molecule to produce ethylene.
More than 125 new chemical projects have been announced around the country totaling $84 billion, said Pryor, citing the American Chemistry Council.
“This is good news for U.S. natural gas producers,” he said. “Petrochemical investment creates demand for ethane and other NGLs (natural gas liquids).”
Just a few weeks ago, Lynne Lachenmyer, a senior vice president at Exxon, said natural gas will surpass coal as a worldwide energy source in 30 years. Demand will go up 65 percent.
By Nicholas Sakelaris of the Dallas Business Journal