THE BLOG
04/20/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

A Game Changer

I've been in the energy business my entire career, and I can assure you this 81-year-old has chased down more deals than anyone you'll ever meet. A lot of those deals didn't pan out - that's just how the game is played - but every now and then a big kahuna comes along. When it does, you'd better jump on it.

Right now, as our country struggles to rebuild its economy and replace millions of lost jobs, that sort of game changer has landed right in our lap: America has more shale gas than it knows what to do with.

Last year, thanks to new drilling technologies, the nation's estimated total gas resources jumped by 35 percent from 1,532 trillion cubic feet to 2,074 trillion cubic feet. I couldn't believe these numbers the first time I heard them; that's enough natural gas to power our country through the 21st century. And as it turned out, that was just the start of the story.

Last week, J.P. Morgan released a report saying that North America doesn't have 2,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in place. It has 8,000 trillion cubic feet. That's four times last year's new and improved numbers. This incredible surge in total gas resources will completely reshape the international energy landscape. Domestic natural gas is going to be so plentiful and so cheap that liquefied natural gas carriers from Qatar and the Middle East will stop coming to the U.S. They'll go to India and China instead. We just won't need them anymore.

It's my hope that it's the same story with oil tankers as well. As America shifts from imported diesel to cleaner, cheaper domestic natural gas, our dependence on foreign oil will be drastically reduced. But natural gas can do a lot more than just power our vehicles. It can power our economy and get America back on its feet in ways no other resource can. That's one of the many reasons the Western Governors' Association sent a letter last week to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid urging them to pass legislation that incentivizes the use of natural gas vehicles.

But there's a big if here, and it goes back to what I said earlier. When the big kahuna comes along, if you don't jump on it, you're not going to be around too long. I've been in the energy business for six decades now. And what that really means is that I've drilled more dry holes than anyone you'll ever meet. I'm still in the game though, and that's because I made up a lot of ground - and then some - when the tide turned my way.

America has got to do the same. We've relied on foreign oil for far too long. A game changer has emerged, and we've got to jump on it. If we don't end our country's dangerous dependence on foreign oil by passing the NAT GAS Act in the House (H.R. 1835) and the Senate (S. 1408), I can assure you the tide will go out on us before you know it.