CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is the newest member of an international initiative focused on expanding the export potential of American natural gas while balancing environmental goals.
The Western States and Tribal Nations group recently announced the addition of New Mexico, saying the state would be a strong advocate for rural economies and environmentally sound production.
As part of the initiative, the group is working to establish export markets such as Asia for liquefied natural gas sourced from basins in western North America. Another focus has been building up the infrastructure needed to connect those basins to the export supply chain.
New Mexico is among the top 10 natural gas producers in the U.S., the Carlsbad Current Argus reported. According to the federal Energy Information Administration, the state has more than 4% of the nation’s total proved natural gas reserves.
Sarah Cottrell Propst, cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, said she hopes to find previously untapped markets for New Mexico’s natural gas.
“Supporting rural economic development in New Mexico is a priority for this administration and we look forward to working with this diverse coalition to find new markets for our energy,” she said in a statement.
Andrew Browning of WSTN said the configuration and membership of the group — which includes tribes, states and counties — gives it an authority that transcends many typical energy discussions because. He added that its purpose is elevated by the goals and the environmental stewardship of its members.
Bryan Hassler, executive director of the Wyoming Pipeline Authority — which joined the coalition in May — said New Mexico’s membership strengthens the alliance by “aligning our mineral interests in a more unified front to promote the export of the abundant resources our states are blessed with.”
The WSTN is already seeking global export markets for Piceance and Uinta basins in Colorado, along with the Green River Basin. It will be able to add New Mexico’s prolific San Juan and Permian basins to the group’s offerings.
Shaun Chapoose, a member of the Ute Tribal Business Committee based in Utah, said New Mexico could lend its expertise in developing natural gas and partnerships with industry leaders, while also working to address tribal and environmental concerns.
“As North America’s original guardians of the environment, we are encouraged by allies like this who see the greater value in balancing important priorities that are too often portrayed as incompatible,” Chapoose said.