WGC '18: US Energy Secretary Perry touts American innovation in global gas industry

By Adrienne Blume, Editor

WASHINGTON DC—The 27th World Gas Conference in the US capital kicked off on Tuesday morning with a musical introduction by the Blue Devils marching band, followed by a keynote speech from David Carroll, President of the International Gas Union (IGU).

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry
US Energy Secretary Rick Perry

IGU President discusses "dynamic" LNG market. Mr. Carroll welcomed attendees to WGC and touted the importance of "providing abundant, affordable energy to a dynamic world." The IGU, which is headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, and is the owner of WGC, is active in 91 countries around the world that account for more than 90% of global gas production and consumption.

"A dynamic LNG market has emerged with new buyers, sellers and new technologies that enhance access and reduce cost," Mr. Carroll said. IGU members are embracing new environmental technologies to reduce carbon footprint, strengthening the organization's commitment to the environment.

The IGU President also noted that the development of gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean poses an opportunity to unite the politically contentious region through discovery and infrastructure buildout—the subject of Gulf Energy Information's annual Eastern Mediterranean Gas Conference (EMGC).

US energy secretary touts US natural gas transformation. Following Mr. Carroll's talk, Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy for the US Department of Energy, addressed attendees. Secretary Perry said that the US gas industry has gone through a "fascinating transformation" that is "nothing short of spectacular."

"To grasp the sheer magnitude of this transformation," the Secretary said, "imagine if people back in 1988 would have heard that this country would become the number-one exporter in the world … If they'd heard that in 30 years, the US would be producing more energy, more abundantly, more cleanly—more gas than ever expected—they would be dumbfounded."

The reason for this transformation, Secretary Perry said, is innovation. The evolution of hydraulic fracturing technology has "helped unleash America's natural gas revolution." In 2017, the US became a natural gas exporter for the first time in 60 years.

Innovation has also helped develop renewable fuels, reduce carbon emissions, enhance oil and gas production, and increase the availability of nuclear energy. "We do not discriminate against any of our fuels," Secretary Perry said. "We are committed to developing every one of them—and maybe even some new ones."

"But this is not just about exporting our energy bounty to the world," he continued, "This is about exporting the technology that made our energy bounty possible in the first place." This technology export will enhance the quality of life for billions of people around the world by bringing them clean, low-cost energy, Secretary Perry said.

The World Gas Conference is taking place June 26–29 in Washington DC.

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