The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

American Energy is Boosting our Economy

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted September 29, 2014

The Logic in Exporting U.S. Oil

Washington Post (Robert J. Samuelson): One of the economy’s good-news stories is the oil boom, a derivative of the natural gas boom. When the drilling techniques used to tap vast new reservoirs of natural gas were applied to oil, they yielded similarly astounding results. Since 2008, U.S. oil production has increased from 5 million barrels a day (mbd) to 8.3 mbd in 2014. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says it could go to 9.6 mbd by 2019.

By all logic, we should be working to sustain the boom. We aren’t, and therein lies a classic example of how good policy is held hostage to bad politics and public relations. What would promote continued exploration is a lifting of the current U.S. ban on exporting crude oil. Let producers sell into the world market. But that seems (wrongly) an unjustified giveaway to industry. The public perceptions are atrocious.

Hardly anyone expected the oil boom, with some notable exceptions — prominently Harold Hamm, who pioneered North Dakota’s Bakken field. “Fracking” (the injection of pressurized water into fields to make oil and natural gas flow) and “horizontal drilling” (the use of one pipe along a single oil reservoir) changed everything. Formations of “tight oil” embedded in shale or dense sandstone became economical to produce.

The benefits are huge. Surging U.S. production has created thousands of jobs, helped stabilize global oil markets and curbed our import dependence. From 2008 to 2014, net imports dropped about 50 percent.

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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.