The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energizing America: Good Energy Policy and Its Economic Impacts

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted September 18, 2013

Oil and natural gas development from shale is creating jobs and building the economy, providing America with a distinct competitive advantage in the world, API Chief Economist John Felmy told the National Association of Energy Officials this week in Denver. Felmy:

“The oil and natural gas industry has strengthened the U.S. economy by creating jobs, increasing household wealth, and securing America's future. If Congress and the administration are willing to support America’s domestic energy production, oil and natural gas are poised to fuel an economic renaissance."

Felmy noted an IHS study that projects employment from unconventional oil and natural gas will support more than 1.7 million jobs in 2012, and top 3.5 million by 2035. Other study data points:  

  • More than $5.1 trillion in capital expenditures will take place between 2012 and 2035 across unconventional oil and natural gas activity.

  • In 2012, unconventional oil and natural gas activity will contribute nearly $62 billion in federal, state, and local tax receipts. By 2020, total government revenues will grow to just over $111 billion.

To unlock that potential, Washington needs to expand access to domestic energy resources, speed up permitting – including the licensing process to allow the export of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG), Felmy said. Natural gas demand is set to increase worldwide, and the U.S. has an opportunity to tap into the economic benefits of exporting our domestic resources, he said. 

America's oil and natural gas renaissance is creating high-paying jobs, increasing revenues for government and economic growth – while putting the U.S. on a path to a more energy-secure future, with reduced imports and an opportunity to become a net exporter of petroleum products. The transformation is impacting the global marketplace in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago. Encana’s Don McClure was part of a panel of industry representatives that explored the U.S. oil and natural gas future:

“Technological advancements have had a profound impact on the industry. Advancements in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have led U.S. imports to drop from 60 percent in 2005 to 45 percent in 2011 – and if trends continue, this will continue to fall."

While the shale surge has helped the U.S. economically, it also has produced environmental benefits, with increased natural gas use helping drive U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions to their lowest level in 20 years. McClure again:

“According to a new IHS report, U.S. emissions are down thanks to shale. And companies are now powering rigs with natural gas which makes production more cost efficient and lowers emissions even more."

Natural gas is expected to provide a lion’s share of energy over the next couple of decades – nearly 80 percent. ExxonMobil’s Todd Onderdonk:

“Technology-driven oil and natural gas supplies will expand globally through 2040. This increase in supply will allow America's shift to a net natural gas exporter starting in 2020."

Good news as U.S. energy exports increase and imports fall: America's trade deficit decreases. McKinsey & Company's Scott Nyquist noted that U.S. energy imports equal nearly half of the U.S. goods trade deficit and that increased energy production from shale could lower imports to zero.

With increased access to U.S. resources, common-sense regulation and policies that encourage energy investment, we can look forward to an energized, more secure America.


Mary Schaper is a Digital Communications Manager for the American Petroleum Institute. She previously worked on Capitol Hill for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as Digital Director and for Senator Lisa Murkowski. Before coming to D.C., she spearheaded digital strategy for Murkowski's successful Senate write-in campaign in 2010. Schaper enjoys traveling and taking in the local culture alongside her husband, their son and loyal springer spaniel.