Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon asserts that the world is fast-recognising natural gas as the only viable alternative to coal consumption, and it will make us less dependent on oil.
“We’re going to be able to say in the next 10 years, ‘To hell with OPEC,’ ” said McClendon.
In a debate at The Wall Street Journal‘s ECO:nomics forum, McClendon and Atlas Energy CEO Edward Cohen debated the costs and benefits the fracking revolution have yielded.
Cohen echoed McClendon’s sense that natgas was fast becoming a mainstream power source.
“In a very short time we’ve seen a five-percentage-point increase in the share of electrical generation from gas,” Cohen said. “Within five years we should be very close to 50%.”
Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon prefers a patriotic salve for the 32% drop in his company’s share price, which has coincided with plummeting gas prices.
“The natural-gas industry has, to a large extent, been a loser because prices are so low. But the winner is the American people. I saw a statistic that the average American who heats with natural gas saved about $1,000 last year as against paying for oil.”
Technically, the forum focused on the environmental impact of fracking (auto fuel prices were mostly ignored).
Cohen seemed to sum up that debate best:
“In New York and Pennsylvania, a Quinnipiac University poll showed two interesting things. Most people think fracking does environmental damage, and most people believe fracking should continue because it’s essential to the welfare of the nation. In that nuance I think you have the discussion.”