The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Drilling Safety, Energy Security

Jack Gerard

Jack Gerard
Posted May 25, 2011

Our industry's longstanding commitment to safe operations was questioned by some after last year's tragic spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Today, we have more than 20 industry groups working concurrently on improving spill prevention and response. Oil companies are committing resources in the form of dollars, time and expertise to ensure that these improvements are implemented.

In March, we announced the creation of the Center for Offshore Safety. It will bring our best minds and expertise together to help operators strive for and maintain the highest levels of safety performance across the entire industry.

We have worked hard to meet the requirements for resuming operations in the Gulf. That's important because we need those energy resources, both today and in the future. Oil and natural gas currently supplies more than 60 percent of our nation's energy needs. The Energy Information Administration projects that by 2035 oil and natural gas will still meet 55 percent of our energy needs.

Those needs make domestic production vital. Because of that, safety and production must go hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, since May 2010, production from the Gulf has been declining: The EIA 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 - 2011 may be the first year without a Gulf lease sale since 1964, and the first year with no federal offshore lease sale since 1957.

A recent study by the consultant firm Wood Mackenzie shows that if the permit process is not speeded up, as much as 680,000 barrels of oil equivalent Gulf production a day could be at risk in 2019, and associated job losses could reach 125,000 by 2015.

More access to our domestic resources will create more jobs. The oil and natural gas industry can play a key role in our economy recovery. As an industry, we are committed to harnessing energy safely and in a manner that protects people and the environment. We are also committed to providing the fuel a global economy needs to grow and to create more jobs.

We all share the goals of safe drilling. We all share the goals of economic growth. Our industry is ready to meet these goals, and we are committed to working with our government partners to do so.

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.