Most reports about the British government’s decision to rescind its moratorium on exploratory hydraulic fracturing have focused on the economic and environmental advantages of going forward with energy production from shale. But it’s important to note an equally important factor that weighed in the government’s decision: the science that convinced authorities that hydraulic fracturing could be done safely and responsibly in the United Kingdom – just like it is in the United States.
ExxonMobil’s Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040 is our annual report on global energy trends to guide our business strategies and investments for meeting future demand. We also make our projections public because we recognize the value they offer to those with an interest in energy issues. As CEO Rex Tillerson has noted, “Understanding future energy trends is critical for effective policy decisions that can help ensure safe, reliable and affordable energy development and economic growth, job creation and expanded global trade.”
The government has released a long-awaited study concluding the U.S. economy as a whole would benefit from exports of some of the abundant natural gas supplies that have been unlocked by the industry’s new technologies. The study looked at all sectors of the economy and in every scenario concluded the net gains from exporting natural gas were greater than any localized loss. This is how free trade works — whether you’re talking about U.S. exports of wheat, computers, or automobiles.
Two new studies directly address a claim from last year when some Cornell scientists asserted that natural gas from shale produces more lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than coal. Those scientists blamed “fugitive” methane emissions said to escape during the recovery of natural gas. After the study’s release, The New York Times and other media outlets gave the report tremendous coverage. But coverage does not equal credibility.