The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

America's Energy Crossroads

Jack Gerard

Jack Gerard
Posted May 18, 2011

The future is going to require a lot of energy, of all kinds. World energy consumption is projected to grow nearly 50 percent by 2035. Renewable energy is projected to increase by nearly 200 percent by 2035 over 2008, thanks to leadership and investment from our own industry and others.

As energy needs grow, our energy supplies will need to grow with them. That will include a robust renewable energy sector. But the Energy Information Administration projections show that renewables will meet only about 13 percent of the nation's energy needs in 2035, with oil and natural gas supplying about 55 percent. For the sake of our future, we need renewable energy technology to grow. But, for the sake of our economy, oil and natural gas will remain a key part of our energy sector for decades to come.

Our economy is struggling and our industry has the power to help. We could invest more, create more jobs, increase revenue to our government and produce more of what we consume. But we don't have enough access to our nation's ample reserves to make this happen.

We are ready to get back to work. We need to get back to work. Poll after poll show that Americans agree. The latest - a CNN poll released in April - shows 69 percent of Americans support expanded offshore drilling. They see our industry as an engine that can create jobs, secure our energy supplies and improve the economy. And they are right.

Up to one million jobs can be created through pro-growth policies. But we still face too many restrictions. Some are self-inflicted by government policy. Since May 2010, Gulf oil production has been declining. And the Energy Information Administration projects that overall domestic oil production will decline this year - and that Gulf production will be down more than 25 percent in 2012 over 2010.

Our energy reality reminds us that we need to produce as much American oil and natural gas as possible. The best reasons to expand domestic production are jobs, revenue and energy security. Boosting production will undoubtedly add a charge to the economy and help insulate our economy from events in unstable nations.

Right now we are at a crossroads. In one direction is a future with more access to our energy resources, with more jobs and a better economy, and with more government revenue. In the other directions are taxes and restriction to access. This is a future with more imports, more expensive energy and more deficits.

Our industry has a plan for the future. It's a future where energy will become more abundant with less carbon emissions. It's a future with more jobs and a better economy. It is, indeed, an exciting future and I'm happy that our industry will be a part of it.

I recently spoke with KCAL 9 in Los Angeles about these important issues, and you can view my appearance by clicking here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jack N. Gerard is president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API), the national trade association that represents all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry. He also has served as the president and CEO of trade associations representing the chemical and mining industries. Jack understands how Washington works. He spent several years working in the U.S. Senate and House, and co-founded a Washington-based government relations consulting firm. A native of Idaho, Jack also is very active in the Boy Scouts of America, a university graduate program on politics, and his church’s leadership. He and his wife are the proud parents of eight children, including twin boys adopted from Guatemala.