Jordan Blum, editorial director, Hart Energy: We are here at CERAWeek in Houston. I'm joined by Chris Treanor, the executive director of the, let me get this right Partnership to Address Global Emissions, better known as the PAGE Coalition. Thank you so much for joining us. You're doing a lot of natural gas and LNG messaging, lobbying. Obviously, a big topic is the so-called LNG Pause right now with the Biden administration. Just wanted to get your take on really how problematic it is in the context of, obviously, that's not affecting a lot of projects that are currently under construction, but just the ramifications beyond.

Chris Treanor, executive director, PAGE Coalition: Yeah, at the PAGE Coalition, we've been spending a lot of time over the last year and a half educating folks, including in Europe, in Southeast Asia and elsewhere about the opportunities to replace coal with U.S. LNG. Once again, the IEA, International Energy Agency, has put out a report that even in the United States, switching from coal to natural gas led to the largest emissions reduction even this past year.

And we think of coal as being a solved problem here in the U.S. where 50, 60% of our emissions reductions in the power sector came from. And I think because we have this enormous resource of U.S., LNG, the only economically recoverable sources are in the United States, Qatar, Iran and Russia. And so obviously two of those options are off the table and the United States has played such an important role in Europe. And so for those reasons, I think that we need to be looking to U.S. LNG as a tool of the United States to help address climate emissions, especially from coal and the power sector or hard-to-abate industrial sectors around the world to have the same benefits that we've enjoyed in the United States in terms of our real actual emissions reductions. So I think that what makes it the most problematic I think is sort of the politicization of the issue.

It was certainly a fight that was chosen by the White House and by the Biden administration in an election year. And from the PAGE Coalition perspective, we certainly hope that it does not become one of the cultural touchstones or fights that we've seen play out in other energy spaces.

JB: Very good. So earlier at Sierra week, we had US Energy Secretary, Jennifer Granholm speaking. She said, maybe not quite definitively, and I'm paraphrasing, but when she sits here next year, if she sits here next year, that the pause should be long in the rearview mirror. I just wanted to get your take on that. Was that a surprising thing to hear or good news?

CT: Yes, certainly good news and certainly welcome news that there is an end in sight. I think one of the concerns that we've had at the PAGE Coalition is the fact that when I'm asked, when I think the pause will end, I would flip that question on its head and say, when do you think the folks that convinced President Biden and the White House to make this decision, when do you think they would like for the pause to end?

And of course, the answer is never. And so it is encouraging to hear that Secretary Granholm is committing for there to be an end to this study. If she's not sitting there, certainly it will certainly be in the rearview mirror. And I hope she is sitting there and I hope President Biden is still her boss and I hope that we're having constructive conversations at that point about how we can move forward and how LNG can fit into climate solutions that the United States can pursue on a global scale.

JB: You've kind of already said it, but if it is a more concise timeline in that way, does that make it seem even more political? Really?

CT: Well, at the PAGE Coalition, we've been touting the climate benefits and the opportunities to replace coal overseas, including some of our work that's identified specific coal-fired power plants.

If we replaced 5% of those coal-fired power plants with U.S. LNG, even at our average methane and greenhouse-gas emissions intensity, we can reduce energy sector emissions by 30% globally. And so we think that if taken into consideration the entire global nature of the climate crisis, that we think that the studies will inevitably show that there's great opportunities for U.S. LNG overseas and natural gas here at home to continue to be part of the climate solution and transition us to cleaner, zero carbon technologies.

JB: Very good. Now, just to go to the other side of the coin a little bit the U.S. has rapidly become a leader in LNG exports. There is a lot under construction right now. There's a good bit more permitted, not necessarily definitively moving forward, but fully permitted at least. Is there a legitimate concern of a potential overbuild that could negatively affect pricing or do you see the demand there?

CT: I think that the demand is there based on the 15-year contracts you see being signed with European countries, despite their desire to say that they do not want to sign 15-year contracts. We just saw one between the United Arab Emirates and Germany just yesterday announced. So I think until we have replaced every bit of coal with renewable energy or natural gas, then there's still work to be done. So I do expect that there'll be a need for us LNG for a long time to come.

JB: Very good. Another bullish component, I guess for natural gas, not necessarily LNG. There's a lot of talk now about just the weakening or crunching of the U.S. power grid domestically with data centers and so much more demanding power. Is that a big problem you foresee? And obviously I imagine you see natural gas playing a big role there.

CT: Yeah, sure. I would think it's an opportunity for all energy sources. Secretary Granholm also noted whether there is a conversation to be had about data centers bringing their own clean energy to the mix when they get, I don't know whether it's approvals or permitting or at what point they would be required to demonstrate clean energy, but at the end of the day, these data centers are going to be the future backbone of the AI economy that we expect to be significant driver of economic development in the United States. And they require 24/7, 365 days of power with no intermittency and no breaks. And so natural gas right now is an obvious solution there. I think the demand is expected to be massive, but there's going to be enough energy demand that every source of energy is going to be needed. Natural gas just happens to be one that is cheap, reliable and relatively clean, but there'll be need for nuclear energy.

If there's opportunities for enhanced geothermal, that'll certainly be very popular for these data centers. But we need to be realistic about the limitations of our grid right now and what it will take in order to have the massive increase in demand that we're going to see, not just from the energy transition, but from economic development that we do not want to slow in any way. Energy and electricity have been a big part of our economic drivers, and that'll continue to be true.

JB: Not so long ago, the kind of terminology phrasing for natural gas was it was going to be the bridge fuel into the future into a more fully renewable grid that I think phrasing has evolved. Can I get you to elaborate on that?

CT: Yeah. I think that there's a shelf life for how long these terms remain popular and the transition and this bridge is longer and more arduous than I think people would've wanted it to be. I think in a perfect world, we would be seeing much more rapid deployment of renewables, but supply chain issues, reliability issues, there continues to be a significant need for natural gas to serve as that bridge. There are places in the world where they can go straight from coal to renewables, and if that's an opportunity that they should pursue it if it's cost-competitive and helpful for them. But there are other places where going directly from coal to renewables is not realistic for a number of different, mostly market-based reasons. And so in those circumstances, there remains a need for natural gas.

JB: And the weak spot for natural gas has kind of been flaring concerns, methane emissions. Do you see that being remedied relatively rapidly?

CT: Yeah, I do. I think so. I think I've been working on climate change for a long time, including on Capitol Hill, and it's been a pretty rapid shift, I think, in the industry in terms of the way they talk about methane, the focus they've had on methane.

There's certainly no denial in any way about how important of an issue it is. And I think the industry recognizes that taking care of methane emissions is just table stakes to be able to continue to play the game that they are and provide the energy sources they are. If they want to be part of the climate solutions of the future, mitigating their methane emissions is just essential something they have to do. And it's something the PAGE Coalition members have been leading the industry on. And not only have we been trying to educate policymakers about the opportunities for natural gas as part of the various climate approaches, but we've also been educating the industry on how to talk about and how to address methane emissions. One of our leading companies, EQT, has a white paper out about how it replaced all of its pneumatic devices. It's publicly available, and anybody is welcome to follow their playbook if they so desire.

JB: Very good. Well, thank you so much for joining us here at CERAWeek. To read and watch more, please visit online at