Thu, 04 Apr 2013 12:21:07 GMT

US committee to hold hearings on natural gas exports

From Lalit K Jha
Washington, Apr 3 (PTI) With the US Department of Energy in the final stages of giving decision on export of Shale gas, which India is eagerly awaiting, a Congressional committee today said it will hold a series of hearings on the potential of natural gas and its export.

"Natural gas has the potential to be a great American success story," said Ron Wyden, Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee.

"Congress needs to be sure US policies are up to the task of maximising the economic benefits of this resource, and doing it in an environmentally responsible way," Wyden said, announcing a series of three hearings on the issue in May.

Thanks to advances in drilling technology, natural gas is an abundant, affordable and clean source of energy that offers great opportunities for economic growth and energy security, he said.

Ranking member of the Committee Lisa Murkowski said: "We need to be careful not to kill the goose that laid the golden egg, though. Heavy-handed government regulation could easily disrupt the efficient workings of the market."
The first of these hearings would be held on May 16 on ''Infrastructure, Transportation, Research and Innovation''. It will look into the question of next applications for natural gas and on meeting this new demand. Pipeline infrastructure and increased use of natural gas in the transportation sector will be specific points of interest.

At the second hearing on May 21 on "Domestic Supply and Exports", lawmakers and experts will examine estimates of domestic supply and the potential benefits or unintended consequences caused by expansion of natural gas exports.

The third and final hearing would be on May 23 on the issue "Shale Development: Best Practices and Environmental Concerns", which will focus on the extraction of gas from shale.

Particular topics of interest will be current best practices within the industry and environmental concerns to be addressed.

The Senate Energy Committee said the forums will be open to the public and will include inputs from members and a variety of stakeholders.

They will be held in a round-table format to encourage discussion and allow flexibility to find areas of agreement.

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