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.
True innovation can mean finding solutions in unlikely places. At ExxonMobil, we’re constantly seeking new ways to help us take on the world’s toughest energy challenges. Sometimes that means looking in the last place you’d expect, like the hospital. Several years ago, an ExxonMobil engineer found himself on a flight seated next to Dr. Alan Lumsden, a cardiovascular surgeon with the renowned DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center at Houston’s Methodist Hospital. It was a fortuitous seating assignment.
Once again, science is helping to sort fact from fiction to support important decisions on energy policy. This time, it’s a study by some of Canada’s top scientists who have examined whether crude oil from oil sands is more corrosive for pipelines than conventional crudes they typically carry – a claim often cited without evidence by oil-sands critics. The researchers recently concluded that the oil sands samples they tested were actually less corrosive than several of the other oils tested.