Robert Lenzner, Forbes Staff in Forbes 8/21/2012
Here is the most promising development in the American economy. Period! The discovery of oceans of natural gas in North America means a vastly cheaper source of energy, the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs, a meaningful reduction in global warming, a much diminished balance of payments deficit, a far stronger dollar, a jump in the profits of the electric utilities, who will then raise their cash dividend payouts, which will benefit widows and orphans as well as giant pension funds, and cause the gold bugs lasting anguish.
One. The exploration and production of record amounts of natural gas will reduce the costs of running the nation’s transportation fleet as automobiles, buses and trucks go partly or wholly electric.
Two. The need to build pipelines from gas fields to utilities and the requirement to build networks of charging stations on highways and in major cities will require a whole new massive infrastructure effort, which in turn will need the services of construction workers, engineers and other assorted building folk. The nation’s GDP will surely benefit. It is precisely the stimulus we need now.
Three. The cheaper cost of electricity will reduce the demand for crude oil, which will reduce our imports from the foreign oil producers, which will reduce our balance of payments deficits– and in turn our budget deficit.
Four. Reducing our balance of payments deficit will strengthen the dollar, which will make the cost of importing other raw materials cheaper– while hurting to some extent our exports.
Five. Using natural gas to create electricity will reduce our need for coal and will drastically reduce emissions of carbons that are contributing to global warming. In other words, there should be a net benefit to the global environment and slow the course of global warming. I am informed by the US Department of Energy that carbon emissions have been already reduced back to the level that existed in 1990– which is a most positive development.
Six. This reduction of omissions places the U.S. far ahead of economic rival China, which was responsible for 29% of all carbon emissions in the world last year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Seven. The incremental demand for electricity should increase the profits of the electric utility industry– and thus enable these same utilities to increase the payout of cash dividends– which will benefit widows and orphans as well as pension funds that require a steady increasing flow of cash to service retirement benefits.
Eight. The natural gas revolution should trigger a burst of entrepreneurial spirit across the nation as the incremental changes to our civilization should lead to a business revival and the dreams of new fortunes.
Nine. Which ever Presidential candidate can communicate this hopeful drama should be able to capture the imagination and positive hopes of the nation at a time when the economic news seems so gloomy.
Ten. The boom in natural gas development should also stimulate the local economies and employment incomes of counties and states where drilling, exploration and transportation are centered. Go North Dakota.