The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Domestic Oil and Natural Gas Development, Security and Freedom

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 2, 2013

Great chart below from Mark J. Perry at the American Enterprise Institute, showing how U.S. net oil imports have fallen, dramatically, over the past six years – largely because of increases in domestic oil production:

Perry comments:

The surge in domestic crude oil production in recent years, along with the decrease in crude oil imports, brought “net oil imports” to below 40% of U.S. oil consumption in October (39.8%), and the EIA’s preliminary estimates are that net oil imports fell even further in November to 38.4%. For the year to date through November, the EIA estimates that net oil imports in 2012 will account for only 41.1% of U.S. oil consumption, which is the lowest dependence on foreign oil in 20 years, since the 40.7% share in 1992 (see chart above)…As the (Wall Street Journal) points out, the drilling boom in shale-rich states like North Dakota and Texas, thanks to advanced drilling technologies, is completely “remaking the U.S. energy picture,” and in the process remaking the U.S. economy.

Now, check out an interview Chevron Chairman and CEO John Watson did recently with the Associated Press, in which Watson emphasizes the essentiality of affordable, reliable energy to the U.S. economy – now and for the future.

We want to produce at a price our customers can afford, and I think there's ample resource to do that for the foreseeable future. … Historically the United States has had a wonderful energy policy. We're blessed with a diversity of resources. We have oil. We have gas. We have coal. We have nuclear. And renewables. And as a result, one of our biggest competitive advantages has been affordable energy. You need a strong economy and you need affordable energy to fuel that economy.

Here’s the connection: Increased domestic production of oil – and natural gas – is a major component in strengthening America’s energy security and overall future. First, reducing imports moves America toward energy self-sufficiency – that is, reaching a point where our country is less affected by geopolitical events that in the past have impacted global energy markets and challenged our economy. Second, Chevron and other U.S. oil and natural gas companies are developing affordable energy that’s also proved to be reliable and adaptable, meeting America’s broad energy needs.

Together, domestic oil and natural gas development is fundamentally linked to freedom – to Americans’ ability to be mobile, literally, but also in terms of social mobility that comes from the economic growth generated by oil and natural gas activity: jobs, investment here at home and added revenues for government. Watson underscored this in the AP interview:

The greatest advancements in living standards in recorded history have taken place in the modern hydrocarbon era.

The great news is that oil and natural gas, which has played a major role in the United States’ emergence as a modern super power, is ours in abundance – as noted in recent reports by the International Energy Agency, the U.S. Energy Administration and IHS Global Insight. With pro-development policies, American-made energy can help lead a new period of U.S. growth and advancement.


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.