Enough robust natural gas supply exists in the Piceance Basin of Colorado and the Uinta Basin of Utah to serve western markets and provide a surplus to export overseas, the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) said in a new report.
The key is an existing network of gathering, processing and takeaway infrastructure throughout the West, COO Andrew Browning said regarding the findings in "Natural Gas Markets for the Western States and Tribal Nations."
"What we do here in the Rockies, the decisions we make about energy development don't just affect us, they reverberate around the world," Browning said. "This is an opportunity for us to help bring Rockies-made energy resources to countries across Asia."
Researchers said marketing gas for the adjacent basins should be a collaborative effort, with the western tribes identified as another key resource. Among the recommendations is one calling for a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the gas industry, liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporters, conservation groups, tribes and others.
"The MOU will provide the blueprint for a second phase of the new collaborative,” the Western States and Tribal Nations (WSTN) Natural Gas Initiative, researchers said.
The Uinta-Piceance gas supplies exported as LNG could represent more than $92 billion in annual U.S. gross domestic product through 2050, according to the report.
"There is the potential for as much as $3.26 trillion in cumulative benefits through 2050” from exporting western gas, said researchers. "LNG exports would also help sustain as many as 432,900 U.S. jobs annually through 2050."
Other recommendations covered education, advocacy, collaboration and engagement, with WSTN a catalyst for projects that could include the long-delayed Jordan Cove LNG export proposal and pipeline in Oregon, long supported by Rockies producers.
County elected officials are committed to marketing the resources on a regional, U.S. and global basis because they see it as a means to "stabilize economies in the West and geopolitical relationships abroad," according to Mesa County, CO, commissioner Rose Pugliese.