Economist's analysis weighs pros, cons of exporting natural gas

January 17, 2013  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A Purdue University energy economist says that there are likely few benefits for the United States in exporting abundant natural gas supplies.

Wally Tyner, the James and Lois Ackerman Professor of Agricultural Economics, compared his own analysis, which determined natural gas exports would have a negative economic and environmental impact, to another conducted for the U.S. Department of Energy that predicted a small net economic gain, mostly accruing to natural gas owners. An increase in natural gas supplies brought about by the shale gas boom led the DOE to consider the export option.

Tyner, a faculty associate in Purdue's Global Policy Research Institute, said that even with a $10 billion gain under the DOE study, costs would increase in all energy-intensive sectors in the United States. The DOE study also did not look at the environmental impacts associated with exporting gas.

"The economic gain or loss is small," Tyner said. "But in addition to that, we would expect an increase in greenhouse gas emissions and an increase in environmental pollutants created by particulate emissions if we export gas and use more coal and diesel fuel at home."

Using more coal to generate electricity and generally using more of other fossil fuels that are not as clean as natural gas would increase greenhouse gas emissions, Tyner said. Exports also would increase the cost of natural gas in the United States.

There also would be less conversion of truck and bus fleets from diesel to cleaner natural gas, and that switch to gas would lower particulate emissions here, Tyner said.

Writer: Brian Wallheimer, 765-496-2050, bwallhei@purdue.edu

Source: Wally Tyner, 765-494-0199, wtyner@purdue.edu

Note to Journalists: Reporters may request a copy of the analysis by contacting Brian Wallheimer at 765-496-2050 or bwallhei@purdue.edu.

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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