The Role of U.S. Natural Gas Exports in a Low-Carbon World
The U.S. liquefied natural gas industry has many global opportunities for growth. To fully realize these opportunities, the industry must overcome regulatory bottlenecks around permitting infrastructure (which affect financing and timelines) and build diverse coalitions that meet the needs of multiple stakeholders. The industry should also address environmental concerns and reducing greenhouse gas emissions (including methane emissions) across the value chain, which will help create a social license to operate, and create more supply by eliminating losses that occur from venting and flaring.
Rick Westerdale will present the key findings from EFI Foundation’s recently released report titled “The Role of U.S. Natural Gas Exports in a Low-Carbon World.” The takeaways emerged from the workshop held in Washington, DC that convened a diverse set of stakeholders. Five of the findings apply to natural gas challenges in the United States (including tackling methane leakage and permitting new projects), and two of which bridge domestic and international issues by focusing on the interconnectivity of global natural gas markets and the United States’ role as the preeminent global supplier. The remaining two takeaways focus on Europe’s and Asia’s natural gas needs.
If the United States can overcome these challenges, it can demonstrate its leadership and provide energy for its allies and trading partners in Europe and Asia. Though Europe may be the primary consumer in the short term, the U.S. natural gas industry should continue to engage with and provide affordable and reliable gas to both the developed and developing countries in Asia, which should be long-term consumers of natural gas for their own energy security and decarbonization goals.
Rick Westerdale is currently an executive director at the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit think tank. As an entrepreneur, he founded Westerdale Holdings, LLC. Westerdale Holdings is a project incubator and holding company focused on energy-related business development and client relations for a wide range of investment, project development, and business planning activities domestically and internationally. Affiliates of Westerdale Holdings include Energy International Corporation, Integrated Energy Partners, and Bloodtrust Capital Partners LLC.
During his years in government service, Westerdale was a senior advisor with the U.S. Department of State, where he counseled senior principals up to the secretary, on the nexus of energy with U.S. national security and international energy policy priorities. With a focus on international energy affairs and their effect on U.S. business interests, he represented the department in a variety of bilateral and multilateral fora and established agreements on a range of energy initiatives. He was the inaugural director of policy analysis and public diplomacy and helped establish the Energy Resources Bureau within the department.
In industry, Westerdale served as senior vice president and on the board of directors for Jiangnan Environmental Protection Group Inc., an environmental technology provider, where Westerdale was responsible for the corporation’s oil and gas strategy. During his nearly two-decade tenure with ExxonMobil, Westerdale worked domestically, in the Middle East, and in the Asia-Pacific, holding multiple senior-level positions. While in Abu Dhabi, he initiated commercial strategies, as well as led proposals and direct negotiations. While in Australia, Westerdale was responsible for overseeing marketing efforts in Asia and developed Exxon’s first equity marketing strategy for liquefied natural gas.
A native of Winchester, Kentucky, Westerdale received a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from the University of Kentucky and is a registered Professional Engineer. Westerdale also earned a Master of Business Administration from Averett University. Westerdale’s continuing education has included UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School Executive Development Program and Thunderbird University School of Global Management Executive Leadership Program. He is a U.S. Army veteran and served during the first Gulf War. For service to his state and community, he was awarded the honorary title of “Kentucky Colonel.” He is married and lives in Northern Virginia where he and his family are active in the community.
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