Obama vows support for more US production of natural gas

25 January 2012 05:19  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--President Barack Obama on Tuesday called for increased development of US natural gas, saying his administration will take all possible steps to safely develop natgas resources and build US employment.

In his annual state of the union speech to Congress, Obama said that the US “needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy – a strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper and full of new jobs”.

“We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly one hundred years, and my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy,” Obama said.

He also said that he would require that all companies that drill for natgas on public lands disclose the chemicals they use in developing shale gas.

Environmentalists argue that hydraulic fracturing – the injection of large volumes of water and chemical additives under high pressure to free up shale gas deposits – poses a risk to drinking water supplies.

America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk,” Obama said.

The development of shale gas over the last decade has improved feedstock availability for US petrochemical and downstream chemical producers, which depend on natgas as a feedstock and energy fuel.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) welcomed Obama’s call for increased natural gas production, saying that “natural gas from shale is a prime example of the home-grown energy the president wants America to use”.

But the council, which has been critical of the Obama administration's energy and regulatory practices, also said that the US “needs effective, fiscally responsible policies and balanced, rational regulations that will allow the nation to capitalise on our significant domestic energy sources while also protecting our environment”.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) also was critical of Obama’s speech before Congress, saying that the administration’s recent decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline project “killed the promise of nearly 20,000 manufacturing and construction jobs along with 118,000 indirect jobs that would ripple across our economy”.

Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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