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Sen. Sullivan: Burn More Natural Gas, a Fossil Fuel, to Combat Climate Change

Alex Madajian
By Alex Madajian | March 22, 2019 | 3:20 PM EDT

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska)
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) — If you want to help combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, “one of the best ways” is to “ship clean, burning Alaska natural gas to Japan, to Korea, to Taiwan, [and] to China,” said Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) during a March 17 interview with KTUU in Anchorage.

It “would do more to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions than almost any other thing that we can do,” added the senator.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), as of Jan. 1, 2016, there were “about 2,462 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of technically recoverable” natural gas in the United States, which is “enough natural gas to last about 90 years.” 

(Photo by Farah Nosh/Getty Images)

(The proved reserves of natural gas in the Middle East are 2.8 quadrillion cubic feet, “nearly ten times U.S. proved reserves,” reported Forbes. That’s enough to match current U.S. annual consumption for the next 900 years.)

That estimate is based on current technology. As time and technology progress, the amount of technically recoverable natural gas could increase, as has happened over the years with oil and shale exploration and production.

Alaska itself has about 3.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, according to the EIA. Although that amount is large, it does not put Alaska in the top ten, said the agency.     

As the EIA explained, “Natural gas volumes from the North Slope far exceed local demand, and there is no pipeline to transport the natural gas to consumers in the south. Large volumes of natural gas, extracted during oil production, are re-injected into oil fields to help maintain crude oil production rates.”

“The state government has long urged construction of a natural gas pipeline linking Alaska's North Slope with markets in the Lower 48 states but, to date, a pipeline has not been considered commercially feasible,” reported the EIA.

In reaction to President Trump nullifying President Obama’s prohibition of energy exploration in nearly the entire Artic Ocean, Sen. Sullivan, along with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), said, “After the last administration spent eight years systematically closing off access to the Arctic, this executive order puts us back on track to explore and ultimately produce the prolific resources in that region.”

(Photo by Farah Nosh/Getty Images)

“Alaska’s offshore areas contain prolific energy resources,” they said.  “According to Interior’s own technical analysts, the Beaufort and Chukchi seas form one of the most prospective basins in the world.

“Together, these areas are projected to hold 23.6 billion barrels of oil and 104.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. For perspective, that is enough to meet all of California’s demands for oil and natural gas for 37.5 years and 43.5 years, respectively.”

They added, “development of the resources in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas would create an annual average of 55,000 jobs over a 50-year period. Those jobs would create a total payroll of $145 billion over that span. Development is also projected to generate a total of $193 billion for local, state and federal treasuries.”

In a 2017 interview about climate change, Sen. Sullivan said, "In Alaska, we are clearly seeing the effects of a changing climate. However, a top-down approach from the United Nations is not the best way to reduce emissions, protect the environment, and grow our economy.”

“Going forward, we need to focus on a true all-of-the-above energy strategy to include clean-burning Alaska natural gas, which if exported to countries in Asia would positively reduce global emissions,” said the senator.

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