The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energy Yesterday and Tomorrow

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted December 30, 2013

As 2013 nears its end, noting some of the year's most popular Energy Tomorrow Blog posts:

Jobs = Job 1

PwC’s latest detailing of the economic impacts of oil and natural gas activity ranked the highest in readership. And why not: It’s a great story. PwC found that in 2011, the last year for which complete data is available, the industry recorded these key numbers:

  • 9.8 million full- and part-time jobs supported, directly and indirectly.
  • $1.2 trillion added to the economy, accounting for 8 percent of the national total.
  • Nearly $600 billion contributed in associated labor income – including wages, salaries, benefits and proprietors’ income.

It’s a snapshot of a growing, vibrant industry – in terms of job creation, associated economic impact and investment spending, which is like rocket fuel for economic growth. America’s oil and natural gas industry, one of the few bright spots in the economy during the recent downturn, is front and center in an energy revolution that’s helping lead the national recovery.

Not in My Engine!

There was lots of resonance with a post highlighting a website where readers could participate in a virtual protest of EPA’s decision to push E15 gasoline into the market to help satisfy ethanol mandates under the broken Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Posts discussing E15’s potential risk to car and truck engines, motorcycles and outdoor power equipment also were among the year’s best-read – as were RFS-related posts on the “phantom fuel” nature of cellulosic biofuel production, the myth of ethanol cost savings versus gasoline and the use of ethanol in NASCAR race cars.  

Build the Keystone XL Pipeline

Most Americans believe building the full Keystone XL pipeline is in the U.S. national interest. One of 2013’s most popular posts detailed the benefits the Keystone XL could bring, which no doubt are driving public opinion:

  • More than 42,000 jobs generated during the project’s construction phase, according to the U.S. State Department’s most recent analysis.
  • More than $2 billion in earnings generated by those jobs, more than $3 billion in spending on construction and materials costs and about $65 million in short-term revenues from sales and use taxes in states that levy such taxes.
  • Delivery of more than 800,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada, with “no significant impacts to resources along the proposed Project route …” the State Department says.

Construction of the Keystone XL would mean jobs, energy and increased U.S. energy security through a stronger energy partnership with Canada. The project has been under federal review for more than five years, even as leading policymakers laud the importance of North American energy production and push for more infrastructure spending and job creation. It’s time – past time – to approve the full Keystone XL.  

America’s (Fracking) Energy Renaissance

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s newest projection shows skyrocketing oil and natural gas production from America’s vast shale reserves. EIA estimates that in 2016 domestic oil production will near the all-time record of 9.6 million barrels per day last seen in 1970. Shale and hydraulic fracturing, safely and responsibly conducted, deserve much of the credit.

Our shale energy renaissance is making positive impacts in producing states like North Dakota, Texas and Pennsylvania – in sharp contrast to the struggle for jobs and growth in New York state, where a fracking moratorium has been in place since 2008. One of the year’s best-read posts highlighted the lack energy leadership in the Empire State.

Shale and advanced fracking and horizontal drilling techniques have completely rewritten America’s energy narrative, changing it from one of scarcity and limited horizons to one of abundance and opportunity. Domestic oil and natural gas provide much for Americans to be thankful for, as well as ample reason to be optimistic about the future. With increased access to domestic reserves, a sensible approach to regulation and policies that encourage investment (read: no tax increases on the industry), that optimism can become reality.

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.