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Ohio Utica Shale

New DOE study supports LNG shipments overseas

By Bob Downing Published: December 7, 2012

From McClatchy News Service:

By Sean Cockerham

A major new study for the U.S. Department of Energy supports controversial efforts to send natural gas to foreign nations, a conclusion that could push the president to approve exports over the objections of those who say it would hurt the country.

America’s new energy bonanza is the natural gas found in shale rock, and there’s a heavy push to build terminals where it can be liquefied and exported. The natural gas industry says exports will boost the economy. But opponents argue that exports will drive up prices in the United States and are bad for American consumers, manufacturers and energy security.

Foreign nations are thirsty for America’s natural gas. But exports are restricted except for those countries – mostly in North and Central America – where the U.S. has special free-trade agreements. The federal government has approved major overseas exports so far from just one project, Cheniere Energy’s 2 billion-cubic-feet per-day project on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana.

There are more than a dozen other applications for export projects. But the government has held off on them while it awaited the results of Wednesday’s study, which looked at what the impacts of different levels of liquefied natural-gas exports would be on the economy.

“Across all these scenarios, the U.S. was projected to gain net economic benefits from allowing LNG exports,” said the report from NERA Economic Consulting.

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski praised the study.

“It’s clear from the study that exporting LNG would be beneficial to the U.S. economy, and the greater the level of exports, the greater the benefit,” said Murkowski, who’s the top Republican on the Senate energy committee.

Murkowski’s home state is pushing for a project to export its vast natural-gas resources to Asia, where prices and demand are high. The study released Wednesday weighed only potential Lower 48 export projects.

The study said exports would raise energy prices in the United States. But it concluded that “these costs are more than offset by increases in export revenues along with a wealth transfer from overseas received in the form of payments for liquefaction services. The net result is an increase in U.S. households’ real income and welfare.”

Massachusetts Rep. Edward Markey disagrees. Markey, the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, said the study supported his arguments that exports could drive up U.S. prices by 30 percent.

“If exports are approved, the winners are mainly those in the natural gas business and those holding their stock,” Markey said in a statement. “This report confirms that if natural gas exports move forward on a large scale there will be a massive wealth transfer from working Americans to oil and gas companies.”

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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.