The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Made in America: Investments in Our Energy Future

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted June 4, 2012

OK, we’ve talked about increased domestic energy access and a common-sense regulatory structure that considers cost-effectiveness in conducting industry oversight. The third element of a made-in-America energy plan is an approach that fosters investment in a sector that’s a proven job-creator and economic growth generator.

Unfortunately, this is an area where current policy hasn’t matched some of the pro-energy rhetoric coming from Washington. The administration has touted growth in domestic oil and natural gas production on its watch, but the reality is that production on federal lands and waters is declining, as the chart below shows. Overall production is up because of increases on state and private lands.

We can do more, but it will take new policies and procedures to create the kind of investment environment needed to produce more energy – replacing the current approach that too often is characterized by obstacles and frustrating delay. In its recent report to the platform committees of the two political parties, API outlined what is needed:

  • Greater efficiency and timeliness in the federal offshore permitting process. An ill-advised moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 cost jobs and energy. Although the government eventually resumed issuing permits, the pace was significantly slower. At this point activity is only returning to 2010 levels. The chart below shows the difference between where output was projected to be (red), compared to the updated government forecast (blue) – the result of the current permitting/regulatory approach.

  • An increase in lease sales and the adoption of pro-access processes to improve the development of federal onshore areas. A recent study estimated lease sales in the west were down 70 percent in 2011 as compared to 2008. In recent years it has taken an average of 200 days to get a federal drilling permit – and in some cases, more than two years.

  • Immediate approval of the complete Keystone XL pipeline. There are no more good excuses for delaying a project that could create thousands of jobs and deliver upwards of 830,000 barrels of oil per day from neighbor and reliable ally Canada. The Keystone XL would be part of the infrastructure that could see 100 percent of our liquid fuel needs met domestically and from Canada by 2024.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.