The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

NPC: Oil and Natural Gas to Continue Moving America

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 1, 2012

The National Petroleum Council is out with its analysis of America’s transportation fuels future. You can find the full report here, but here’s the gist of it: Through 2050 the United States will continue to rely on petroleum products to move people, goods and services. Oil and natural gas, which provide more than 60 percent of our energy now, according to government estimates, will continue supplying more than half of our energy for decades to come.

Bob Greco, API’s director of upstream and industry operations:

“This report underscores the importance of an all-of–the-above energy strategy for America that includes responsible development of our vast oil and natural gas resources. We have more oil and natural gas than anyone thought possible even five years ago. We are sitting on a lottery ticket that could spur millions of jobs, billions of dollars in revenue for the government, and more than 100 years of energy for our country.”

The council, which advises the U.S. energy secretary and conducts studies at the executive branch’s request, was asked to examine ways to accelerate future transportation fuels for autos, trucks, air, rail and waterborne transport. In addition, Energy Secretary Stephen Chu asked the group to identify actions industry and government could take to stimulate the technological advances needed to reduce life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector by 50 percent by 2050 (compared to 2005 levels).

Key findings:

  • While fuel economy has been improving and can be improved further, internal combustion engine technologies are “likely to be the dominant propulsion systems for decades to come …”
  • Infrastructure challenges must be overcome for wide-scale commercialization of advanced fuel-vehicle systems.
  • If technology hurdles and infrastructure challenges can be met, economically competitive low-carbon fuels and improvements in fuel economy will result in substantial cuts to greenhouse gas emissions – though not enough to achieve Chu’s goal of a 50 percent reduction by 2050.

America’s oil and natural gas companies remain uniquely positioned to provide fuels for the transportation sector – while continuing significant investments in low-carbon technologies. Greco:

“When we look at all of the nation’s domestic energy options—oil and natural gas, nuclear energy, coal, renewable and alternative energy sources such as biofuels—we see a nation with ample opportunities for growth. Oil and natural gas companies are at the forefront of much of the technology and investment driving the future of energy for our nation.”

Over the past decade industry has invested $71 billion in technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions – more than the federal government ($43 billion) and almost as much as the rest of private industry combined ($74 billion). Greco:

“One of every five dollars invested in non-hydrocarbon technologies such solar, wind power and biofuels comes from the oil and natural gas industry.”

Yet, as the NPC report suggests, America’s future economic prosperity and energy security will be fueled by oil and natural gas. A true all-of-the-above (and below) approach is needed, one that allows exploration and development of U.S. resources that currently are kept off-limits by government policy. Greco:

“The best way for the United States to enhance its energy security, create jobs and provide more government revenue is through policies that allow responsible access to domestic oil and natural gas resources. Our industry is committed to ensuring safe and environmentally responsible development of America’s resources to help meet our nation’s economic and growing energy needs.”

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.