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The reversal in fortunes of the U.S. chemical industry is one of the most remarkable stories flowing from the tremendous increase in domestic energy production from shale and other sources. Speaking at the annual IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston today, ExxonMobil Chemical president Steve Pryor offered a good summation of the chemical industry renaissance that has been sparked by a new abundance of natural gas, which chemical manufacturers use as a feedstock.

I want to draw your attention to an important policy brief just issued by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, which provides further evidence for why natural gas exports present such a valuable economic opportunity for the United States. More than that, the Peterson Institute paper is a valuable read because it provides one of the best distillations that I have seen of the legal and regulatory issues involved with natural gas trade issues.

As the national discussion on natural gas policy continues, let me call your attention to some important numbers on job creation and the likely economic benefits of increasing exports of energy products like liquefied natural gas (LNG). Preliminary data from a forthcoming study on the economic ramifications of LNG exports hint at a wide range of benefits from the export opportunities made possible by America’s new abundance of natural gas.

The Golden State might be looking a little more golden. That’s the gist of a piece in the most recent issue of The Economist about California’s plans to deal with its huge bounty of shale oil. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, California’s Monterey/Santos shale play might hold an astounding 15.4 billion barrels of oil. How much is that? Enough to meet California’s current level of petroleum consumption for 44 years.

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