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A week to remember for natural gas lovers

"We have seen the future, and it is ours."

If ever there were a week for natural gas proponents to utter these words, attributed to United Farm Workers leader Cesar Chavez three decades ago, this week might have been it.

Consider the week's two major energy developments. Last Monday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission terminated the Department of Energy's notice of proposed rulemaking on grid reliability and resilience pricing. While FERC initiated a new proceeding that directs the operators of regional wholesale power markets to dive into the issue, its decision landed with a big, unwelcome thud at the doorstep of the coal and nuclear energy sectors. The National Mining Association and the Nuclear Energy Institute each issued statements expressing their disappointment.

Fast forward to Friday, when the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported upon the extent to which natural gas was used to help Americans cope with the bitterly cold weather that descended upon the nation to close out 2017 and open the new year. 

“During the recent cold weather event that affected much of the eastern United States, more natural gas was withdrawn from storage fields around the country than at any other point in history,” EIA’s website states. “Net withdrawals from natural gas storage totaled 359 billion cubic feet (Bcf) for the week ending January 5, 2018, exceeding the previous record of 288 Bcf set four years ago.” Do the math, and that’s an eye-popping 25 percent increase over the prior record.

Sandwiched in between these two events was Tuesday’s “2018 State of American Energy” speech by the president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, Jack Gerard.

“Consider what was previously thought impossible. We’ve taken the nation from energy scarcity to energy abundance,” Gerard said. “Building a better future takes energy, and natural gas and oil are central to continued progress ... (T)he natural gas, oil and refined products industry is focused on powering the future. The fact is we always have been, even if most didn’t know it.”

Strains of Cesar Chavez? Judge for yourself. 

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