I agree with your statements. I also feel that these foreign companies are primarily funding some joint ventures here to acquire the knowledge of extracting gas, etc out of the shale plays....as well as getting some 'hands on' time in the field. They are essentially paying US companies to acquire the knowledge they need and indirectly funding the advancement of our drilling/fracking technology. Lets face it, fracking technology is advancing by leaps and bounds and from what I see they are headed in the right direction......more economical and more eco-friendly. We just need to keep the companies feet to the fire and it will be done properly.
The point you make about reducing our trade imbalance through displacing crude imports is interesting. That's why it's so hard to say exports are good or bad unless you crunch an enormous amount of information. And that's the reason government is bad at directing the economy from on-high. There's almost too many variables for one decision maker to consider and act on in an intelligent way.
Back to your comment: I'd say that you have to factor in that "only" 2/3 of our crude oil is imported, since crude that is not imported does not affect the trade imbalance or the value of the dollar. Thus, by my reckoning, only $66 of imported crude oil would be displaced by $25-30 of nat gas. Still, nothing to sneeze at.
But even that assumes there is not enough domestic production to go around at any one point in time - and I'm not sure that's accurate. Higher production, not displaced demand, is the more likely affect of exporting possibilities IMO. That would mean a somewhat quicker draw down of our reserves. But if the country gets paid handsomely for it, 80 years of nat gas might be better than 100. Just a thought.
Not to mention that 80 years from now, our technology will likely have advanced to the point that energy sources, not reachable today, will be commonplace. Just think what life was like 80 years ago (1930). Seems like they were living in the stone age by today's standards.
Out of state as in "out of Ohio"? That may or may not be constitutional. More importantly, it's terrible business. Unless the severance tax was exceedingly minimal, it would kill Utica shale development. One of the big advantages of the Utica is the proximity to the high demand areas along the I-95 corridor, i.e. NY, Boston, Philly, DC. Lower transporation costs = more margin for producers deciding what formation to bet the next 30 years on.
This is how business decisions get made, always has been. For example, Delaware is a center for banking, insurance and corporate formation. Has been for 100 years. Before Delaware, New Jersey was the first haven for business. That lasted about a decade and then Delaware passed more conducive laws. In the short-to-medium term, you could say that certain states in Appalachia are in a similar competition. Landowners can protect themselves and their communities' interests through private contracting so long as they are informed and knowledgable and ask for help when they feel out of their depth.
I've wondered that myself, particularly in regards to PA. Watching what is going on in NY with their vocal aversion to drilling yet still demanding they get it from somewhere got me thinking how could they pay for such a privilege.
Taxing exported gas only would probably not hold up to a court challenge, but, a blanket severance tax levied on all production coupled with a tax credit or refund for gas used in state just might pass legal muster.
Doing so might actually entice utility co's to site NG power plants in state, as well as other industries that use a lot of NG or its associated products (propane, butane, ethane), further increasing employment opportunities and increasing the state tax base.
Check out the NATGAS ACT, now in congress. Provides tax incentives for purchase of CNG powered vehicles and infrastructure nationwide in an effort to increase domestic use in transportation. I also would encourage those of us in favor of the move to CNG use to contact your federal representative and Senators and let them know of our position.
For a bit more info-
So, if Natural Gas filling stations are such a great idea, then get a group of investors together and build them. Why wait for the government to do it? They can't do anything right to begin with. If there is truly a demand to be satisfied, then it should be possible to do it privately. Build up the infrastructure, and at the same time offer to contract with townships, municipalities, and maybe even private fleets (e.g. UPS or Fedex) to convert their fleets over to natural gas. Write up a business plan and get some investors on board. Maybe T. Boone Pickens or Donald Trump would be interested. If you wait for the government to do it, you'll be waiting a long time and it will be done poorly, inefficiently, and at tremendous cost to taxpayers.
And, as for a severance tax, any severance tax, why would anyone want to put more money into the hands of politicians and bureaucrats? I'd much rather see the money go into the hands of O&G rights holders or the oil and gas companies. At least I can buy stock in the companies and share in their profits. If the money goes down the tax rat hole, it won't do any good for anyone. I can find no track record of wise fiscal management at the state or federal government level but I can find lots of companies that have made money, employed workers, paid taxes and enriched shareholders.