Since the early 2000s, shale gas has become an increasingly important source of natural gas in the United States, and one that has also been a subject of contention. There have been predictions made about shale gas becoming one of the primary sources of our country’s natural gas supply, increasing to nearly 50% in the next twenty years. One of the reasons that the Obama Administration has often supported shale gas is because of its purported minimal environmental impact, a belief that is still being researched.
In a detailed report from the renowned global investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), their Global Head of Energy and Infrastructure Marc S. Lipshultz details the benefits, and economic and environmental impact of aggressively pursuing shale gasses. An overview of the extensive report explains that KKR believes “newly recoverable [shale] gas resources can provide the U.S. with at least an additional 100 years of supply at current usage levels. This presents a truly transformative change in America’s energy supply picture, and one with potential to grow the economy, reduce energy import dependence and enhance national security, lower household energy bills, reduce emissions, and spur a manufacturing renaissance.” In short, the predicted gains of procuring natural gases are significant.
Lipshultz notes that in regards to environmental impact there are concerns pertaining to water, air quality, and land use, but is confident that with proper strategy implementation and government reinforcement, this impact will be minimal. KKR is confident that “The shale gas revolution represents a critical change in our energy resource base that should be harnessed in a responsible and sustainable manner. Shale gas is our pathway to a clean energy future, and we must take it.” KKR is mindful of the environmental impacts of the shale gas revolution, as well as the economic implications, the latter of which has an incredibly positive outlook.
Ken Mehlman, KKR’s Global Head of Public Affairs has said, “For 37 years, KKR has produced strong returns for our investors by marrying deep industry knowledge with active ownership and long-term focus.” The investment firm has assembled the most knowledgeable, experienced team to evaluate the risks and benefits of pursuing shale gases, with long-term impact in mind. David Petraeus, KKR Global Institute Chairman, has connections and global reach that will allow for some of the most critical research and economic insight into a matter that could deeply impact the future of energy in the United States.
In addition to the clean energy benefits resulting from shale gas, Lipshultz discusses how horizontal drilling techniques could lead to the creation of as many as 1.6 million annual jobs in the United States by 2017. This lends a whole new economic incentive to the shale gas revolution.