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Americas: Strategies For A Sustainable Future

ExxonMobil’s LNG project is a striking example of how energy investments create jobs and drive economic expansion. In fact, by the end of the decade, unconventional oil and gas is projected to support three million U.S. jobs and increase real GDP by 2 to 3 percent. Given the American economy grew at an almost imperceptible one-tenth of one percent in the fourth quarter, these are numbers that should make everyone sit up and take notice.

We are also seeing environmental benefits from the rising use of natural gas in electricity generation. U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions have fallen to their lowest levels in nearly two decades. And, producing electricity from shale gas uses less than half the water required by coal, a tremendous sustainability benefit.

So how important is the new age of unconventional energy? It’s unlike anything we’ve seen in this country since the dawning of the age of oil, some 150 years ago in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region.

And what ushered in these two greatest breakthroughs in U.S. energy history? The private sector.

It was innovative technology developed by entrepreneurs risking private capital in a free market. It was not the result of government policies that picked winners or losers. That critical insight about the true source of innovation and growth must be the foundation of our ongoing advocacy for free markets and free trade.

The American Chemical Renaissance

Let me now turn to the renaissance unfolding in American chemistry, fueled by feedstock and energy from unconventional resources.

Just five years ago, U.S. chemical production was in steady decline due largely to the rising price of natural gas. America was on the verge of becoming a net importer of chemicals. Growing supplies of shale gas and gas liquids have changed all that.

North American chemical manufacturers now have a major cost advantage over competitors around the world that rely on more expensive, oil-based feedstocks.

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