The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Our 2013 Energy Opportunity

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 8, 2013

The state of American energy in 2013 could be summed up in a word: opportunity – the opportunity to develop America’s vast energy wealth to make our lives better, to grow our economy and to make our country safer, from an energy standpoint and overall. The catalyst? The U.S. oil and natural gas industry, ready to make the investments that can make America’s energy potential work for Americans.

API President and CEO Jack Gerard sounded these themes and others in his annual State of American Energy address at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C., which marked release of API’s report to the new Congress and the administration. Gerard:

“There is a new energy reality for the United States – a reality of vast domestic resources of oil and natural gas. The reality is that our energy supply is no longer limited, foreign and finite, but is now American and abundant, greatly enhancing our national security. We have a game-changing opportunity to make the U.S. the global leader in energy. If we seize the opportunity now, we will be positioned to lead for decades and realize the economic and energy security benefits of that leadership.”

The oil and natural gas industry has been a bright spot in an otherwise sluggish economy, but is poised to do more:

  • Jobs – Industry supports 9.2 million jobs and could support another 1.4 million jobs by 2030 through investments in more domestic development and refining.
  • Economic stimulus – Industry supplied $545 billion in stimulus in 2011 in the form of capital investments, wages and dividends and can do more with greater access to domestic oil and natural gas reserves, onshore and offshore.
  • Revenues for government – Industry sends nearly $86 million a day to the federal government in income taxes, royalties and other fees. With increased energy development it could furnish $800 billion in new revenues for government by 2030.

Gerard said more domestic energy activity equals more job creation, economic growth and energy security. There’s opportunity for the administration and Congress to foster that activity, and industry would be a willing partner, he said. Gerard:

“There is room for agreement. We welcomed President Obama's campaign promises to support oil and natural gas development as part of an all-of-the-above strategy. We can offer solutions to some of the pressing issues that will impact our economic future: tax reform, infrastructure improvements, leasing and permitting on federal lands, regulations that don’t add unnecessary layers of compliance burdens on top of existing protections, and ensuring regulations won’t compromise our ability to grow the economy and create jobs through domestic energy.”

The energy opportunity beckoning to America is of historic proportions. We have the oil and natural gas – reliable, flexible energy – to run and grow our economy and to benefit millions of our citizens through energy industry and related jobs, as well as new impetus for the U.S. manufacturing and other industrial sectors. But it’s only opportunity, potential, until we take action to safely and responsibly develop it. Gerard:

“Thanks to vast U.S. energy resources, the oil and natural gas industry stands ready to continue the investments made in jobs, communities, technology, the environment and safety, while improving America’s energy security.”

Gerard cited lots of numbers in his speech, some of which are mentioned above. Other notables:

  • 6.5 percent – The increase in oil and natural gas extraction employment over a year ago, according to the Labor Department.
  • $1,000 – The average annual household savings from lower heating and electricity costs due to increased use of natural gas (2012-2015), according to IHS Global Insight. The savings could rise to $2,000 a year per household by 2035, IHS says.
  • 800 billion – The number of barrels of oil estimated in oil shale deposits in Western states – nearly three times the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia.
  • 539,000 – Number of jobs supported by the U.S. refining industry, with an average income of nearly $95,000.
  • 166,000 – Number of new jobs in the oil and natural gas industry’s upstream (pre-refining) sector that could be held by minority workers by 2020 – growing to more than 285,000 by 2030, according to an IHS study.
  • $252 billion – Industry spending on improving the environmental performance of its products, facilities and operations since 1990. U.S. refiners have invested more than $137 billion in technologies to produce even cleaner fuels, while satisfying a growing variety of state and federal fuel mandates.
  • 50 percent – Due to increased efficiency, America uses about half as much energy today to produce a dollar of GDP as it did in 1970.


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.