Rock Center with Brian Williams tasked Harry Smith with investigating the shale-gas revolution that is changing America. Naturally, one of Smith’s first stops was the Dallas office of Pickens Plan founder T. Boone Pickens.
“We have the cheapest energy in the world,” Pickens tells Smith. The legendary entrepreneur then makes an unexpected confession. “I never in my life thought that I would say that.” He later adds, “If you had asked me 10 years ago if this was going to happen, I would have laughed at you.”
Pickens sees America’s newly discovered natural gas bonanza as “the ultimate bargain.” Says Pickens, “If you go back and look, we built the first Industrial Revolution on cheap energy. That opportunity has come to us again. Don’t pass it up.”
Smith’s reporting demonstrates a few of the many ways that this revolution is already taking place.
In 2011, more than 800 gas wells were drilled. As a result, Smith reports, “tens of thousands of jobs were created,” including ones in communities that have long suffered from high unemployment, such as Youngstown, Ohio.
In the neighboring state of Pennsylvania, UGI employees are shown tapping into a gas main so that a local homeowner can change over from heating oil to natural gas. His reason? “Because of the price. It’s a no-brainer. It’s a lot cheaper,” says the homeowner.
Why is U.S. natural gas so much cheaper? The answer is straightforward: supply. “Natural gas is so cheap because the United States has figured out how to tap into reservoirs so enormous the supply could last a century. Even two. You heard that right. Up to 200 hundred years,” Smith says.
Who else knows this? President Obama. “We, it turns out, are the Saudi Arabia of natural gas,” the president says.
Watch the Rock Center segment here.