The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Investing in America

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 15, 2014

It’s one thing to talk about energizing the U.S. economy, it’s another to walk the talk. America’s oil and natural gas industry is doing that, with four companies ranked in the top 10 of the Progressive Policy Institute’s list of leaders in U.S. capital spending in 2013. PPI’s top 25:


As you can see, ExxonMobil ($11.07 billion), Chevron ($10.56 billion), ConocoPhillips ($6.35 billion) and Occidental Petroleum ($5.5 billion) ranked in the top 10 in U.S. capital spending – expenditures for plants, property and equipment. Also significant: The same four are in the top 10 of cumulative U.S. capital spending over the three years (2011-2013) PPI has compiled its “investment heroes” list.

Overall, PPI’s top 25 includes 10 companies that are involved in exploration and development of oil and natural gas or energy distribution and power. Together, the 10 invested $57 billion in 2013 or 37 percent of the top 25 investment. PPI’s chart:


This is big. PPI Chief Economic Strategist Michael Mandel explains why:

“Investment generates jobs, greater productivity, and the higher incomes Americans desire. Companies that invest in the U.S. are creating more opportunities for economic mobility and growth, and our government should implement policies that continue to encourage these companies to invest here at home.”

PPI noted that America’s oil and natural gas industry is a major economic driver, helping lead the United States out of the recession – even as other sectors continue struggling:

The good news is that businesses and nonprofits are investing more in America. … The bad news is that the United States is still suffering from an investment drought. … Still, some industries were able to power through the recession and significantly boosted their investment in the United States. … We see that the top industry in terms of investment growth was mining, including oil and gas, which boosted investment by $31 billion (in 2012 dollars) between 2007 and 2012. That makes sense given the energy boom, particularly in natural gas, which has swept the country.

Oil and natural gas fuel the nation’s economy – literally and through economic benefits resulting from the kinds of investments measured in PPI’s index. This reflects America’s vast oil and natural gas wealth as well as the risk taking that underlies investing on this scale. America’s oil and natural gas industry is investing in America – and can do more with increased access to energy reserves, a common-sense approach to regulation and a policy climate that sustains and extends our ongoing energy revolution.


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.