Posted November 26, 2013
Here’s wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving while offering a few of the reasons we can all feel blessed because of America’s energy present and future – which the men and women of the oil and natural gas industry help deliver.
Let’s start with the fact America is enjoying a renaissance in home-grown energy production, thanks to advances in technologies and techniques, such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Last month these played a big role in helping domestic oil output to exceed imports for the first time since 1995. Because of fracking and other technologies, more of America’s vast oil and natural gas reserves can be developed to generate fuels that provide about 62 percent of the energy Americans currently use. That’s energy that makes our lives possible – that will power our lifestyles and economy in the future, according to government projections.
Our energy renaissance is illustrated by the fact the United States now is projected to be the world’s top producer of oil and natural gas this year, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia. With increased access to U.S. reserves, including the 87 percent of our outer continental shelf acreage that’s currently off limits, domestic production can continue to grow. By increasing the amount of energy we produce here at home, and by strengthening our partnership with Canada, our No. 1 source of imported oil, America can be more energy secure in the world now and in years to come.
The oil and natural gas industry supported 9.8 million jobs in 2011, according to a PwC study. An IHS study found that development of unconventional oil and natural gas from shale and other tight rock formations supported 2.1 million jobs in 2012, a figure that’s projected to grow to 3.3 million jobs in 2020.
Each job represents economic security – and economic possibility – for an individual or family. Another energy benefit to families: IHS estimates the revolution in unconventional oil and natural gas increased disposable income by an average of $1,200 per U.S. household in 2012, and it says that total will increase to more than $3,500 by 2025.
Investment in new energy infrastructure is the path to more job creation. Construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, for example, could support more than 42,000 jobs, the U.S. State Department has estimated. Besides well-paying jobs, the oil and natural gas industry is making investments that strengthen the broader economy. Last year, safe and responsible development of oil and natural gas supplied $284 billion in value-added contributions to U.S. GDP, according to IHS. Industry capital investments are expected to reach $384 billion this year. Industry is investing in America in big ways.
Again, thanks to advances in fracking and vast shale reserves, America is entering an era of energy abundance – versus an era of scarcity, as was predicted less than a decade ago. Our natural gas production in 2012 was the highest ever recorded, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and our proved dry natural gas reserves of 304 billion cubic feet is the highest in U.S. history, EIA says. Meanwhile, the Interior Department estimates there are 7.38 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil in North Dakota’s Williston Basin. Thanks, hydraulic fracturing!
Safe and responsible oil and natural gas development is providing our country with reliable energy, energy that powers our economy, makes our lives better and helps improve our security in the world – all while helping to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to their lowest point in two decades. Industry has done more than talk about environmental stewardship, investing $81 billion in technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 2000-2012 – eclipsing the federal government’s investments over the same time period and nearly equaling the combined investments of other U.S.-based private industries.
Oil and natural gas are America’s energy present and future and a reason to give thanks.
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.