Natural gas is one of America’s most important energy resources. Comparatively clean burning and less carbon intensive than oil or coal, it is used as a fuel in a wide variety of applications throughout the economy and as a chemical feedstock in the industrial sector. Until recently, however, U.S. supplies of natural gas were also perceived as relatively limited.
This meant that the potential to advance long-term environmental or energy security goals through expanded reliance on domestic natural gas would necessarily be constrained. It also implied that natural gas markets would continue to be susceptible to the price run-ups and volatility that had captured news headlines in the mid-1990s and again in the early and mid-2000s.