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Putting a stop to U.S. fracking would bring recession home

Nov 12, 2019
3 min read
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Fracking ban pledges from contenders for next year’s United States presidential elections could push the country and beyond into recession if they became reality.

This was the stark warning from Charif Souki, Chairman of Tellurian, the natural gas firm behind the ambitious Driftwood LNG terminal.

In a LIVE Session entitled “Disrupting and transforming the global gas and LNG energy landscape”, he was asked his reaction to Democrats calling for a fracking ban and reducing investment into U.S. energy.

“You say a lot of things when you’re running for office that sound good. Somebody should ask the question ‘if you want to ban fracking are you willing to accept $8 a gallon at the pump…electricity bills in Chicago multiplying by three or four? Where poor families can no longer afford to pay for home heating.’

“If this is all okay with you, go ahead and ban fracking because this is what you will have…with repercussions on your economy, (that will) probably create a global recession

“Nobody’s asked the second part of the question yet. I’m hoping most don’t understand the implications – if you understand he implications it’s a bad faith proposition because you are not going to run the risk of putting the country in recession within six months of taking power.

“If the Permian Basin stops producing oil they can export and if the States can no longer export the 50 or 60m tons of natural gas we’re now exporting, and we start importing again, this changes everything - on a global basis.”

By contrast, Souki was swift to declare flaring at U.S. facilities as “not acceptable.

“What has happened in the last three years in the States is the phenomenon of associated gas has become very transparent. All of a sudden we have more gas than we know what to do with. And the result is we are now starting to flare gas - we are now in the top four flarers on a global basis, very quickly moving up the scale. We’re quite vocal about the fact it is an embarrassment.”

Asked whether he felt the reduced cost of renewables and battery costs becoming scalable would impact LNG demand long-term, Souki said: “I hope so, but I am not terribly concerned either.

“It’s a valid concern if your time horizon is 50 years. I’m a strong supporter of any kind of renewables. I would much rather be Elon Musk than Charif Souki, it’s cooler.”

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