America’s natural gas: Should exports be restricted?

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Event Summary

Recent rapid technological advances have put the US in a prime position to profitably export natural gas, yet opponents fear these exports will seriously harm US consumers and manufacturers. As a US House of Representatives Energy and Power Subcommittee hearing on US energy abundance got underway on Tuesday, a group of experts gathered at AEI to debate the same issue: the merits and follies of restricting US exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

AEI's panel exemplified the vigorous disagreement over LNG exports. Ken Ditzel of Charles River Associates supported export restrictions, concluding that while LNG exports benefit the US economy, the use of gas for domestic manufacturing benefits the US economy even more. NERA's David Montgomery advocated for unrestricted trade and ascribed the LNG controversy to a fight over economic rents. In his opinion, common sense should dictate free exports of a good that the US is superior at producing.

Purdue University's Wallace Tyner urged caution; in his opinion, a partial trade liberalization could have unforeseen distributional consequences. AEI's Claude Barfield pointed out that the issue lies at the intersection of economic and political interests. Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao concluded the event by reminding the audience that the United States has been the principle advocate and beneficiary of a free global trading system for decades.
--Veronika Polakova

Event Description

US natural gas production has increased sharply because of recent technological advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. As a result, domestic natural gas prices have fallen substantially below international prices and are projected to stay low. This creates an opportunity for US gas producers to export significant quantities of gas profitably.

But critics fear that such exports would reduce domestic supplies and raise domestic prices, harming US consumers. They therefore argue that gas exports should be limited or prohibited. This event will explore the policy arguments from both perspectives and feature a luncheon address by Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao, who has been an advocate for US natural gas exports.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.

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About the Author

 

Claude
Barfield
  • Claude Barfield, a former consultant to the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, researches international trade policy (including trade policy in China and East Asia), the World Trade Organization (WTO), intellectual property, and science and technology policy. His many books and publications include Swap: How Trade Works with Philip Levy, a concise introduction to the principles of world economics, and Telecoms and the Huawei conundrum: Chinese foreign direct investment in the United States, an AEI Economic Studies analysis that explores the case of Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei and its commitment to long-term investment in the US.
  • Phone: 2028625879
    Email: cbarfield@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Hao Fu
    Phone: 202-862-5214
    Email: hao.fu@aei.org

 

Arthur C.
Brooks
  • Arthur C. Brooks is president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). He is also the Beth and Ravenel Curry Scholar in Free Enterprise at AEI.

    Immediately before joining AEI, Brooks was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government at Syracuse University, where he taught economics and social entrepreneurship.

    Brooks is the author of 10 books and hundreds of articles on topics including the role of government, fairness, economic opportunity, happiness, and the morality of free enterprise. His latest book, “The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise” (2012) was a New York Times bestseller. Among his earlier books are “Gross National Happiness” (2008), “Social Entrepreneurship” (2008), and “Who Really Cares” (2006). Before pursuing his work in public policy, Brooks spent 12 years as a classical musician in the United States and Spain.

    Brooks is a frequent guest on national television and radio talk shows and has been published widely in publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

    Brooks has a Ph.D. and an M.Phil. in policy analysis from RAND Graduate School. He also holds an M.A. in economics from Florida Atlantic University and a B.A. in economics from Thomas Edison State College.


    Follow Arthur Brooks on Twitter.

  • Assistant Info

    Name: Danielle Duncan
    Phone: 202.419.5213
    Email: danielle.duncan@aei.org

 

Benjamin
Zycher
  • Benjamin Zycher is the John G. Searle Chair and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he works on energy and environmental policy. He is also a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute.

    Before joining AEI, Zycher conducted a broad research program in his public policy research firm, and was an intelligence community associate of the Office of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, US Department of State.  He is a former senior economist at the RAND Corporation, a former adjunct professor of economics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and at the California State University Channel Islands, and is a former senior economist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology.  He served as a senior staff economist for the President's Council of Economic Advisers, with responsibility for energy and environmental policy issues.

    Zycher has a doctorate in economics from UCLA, a Master in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from UCLA.

  • Email: benjamin.zycher@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Regan Kuchan
    Phone: 202.862.5903
    Email: regan.kuchan@aei.org

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