The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

40 Years Of Energy Data

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 29, 2014

October marks a birthday for our friends at the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Forty years ago, October 1974, EIA issued its first Monthly Energy Review (MER) – a report loaded with energy-related data and charts that’s a must-read for folks who follow energy issues. EIA Chief Adam Sieminski:

That first MER was under 50 pages and featured 3 years of data focused on fossil fuels.  Today, the MER is four times as large, features data extending back 65 years, and contains information on renewable energy, emissions, energy consumption by sector, and a host of other critical subjects. In a vastly more complex energy environment, the MER continues to integrate many kinds of energy data from a wide variety of sources into one product that provides policymakers, journalists, analysts, and other concerned citizens with a comprehensive look at integrated energy data in the United States.

Certainly, much has changed over four decades. America’s energy outlook has pivoted almost 180 degrees. Check out this snippet from that October 1974 inaugural issue of MER:

The domestic production of crude oil declined in 1974 by 3 percent from the level achieved in the first 8 months of 1973. Imports have tended to compensate for the decrease in domestic production, especially from April through August of this year. Crude oil stocks in 1974 have been maintained at levels comparable to those held in the same period of 1972, and above those recorded for 1973. With natural gas production declining by 3  percent from last year and imports declining by 7  percent, significant shortages  are  expected  for  this  coming winter.

Thanks to soaring domestic oil and natural gas production, of course, the United States now is the world’s No. 1 producer of natural gas and is poised to be No. 1 in oil output in the coming months. We now approach energy policy with abundant domestic reserves – the result of vast shale reserves that are safely accessible through advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.

MER specializes in data and charts, so let’s look at a few from this month’s issue.

 EIA energy overview

Here we see what EIA has been tracking for a number of months – a narrowing between U.S. energy consumption (green line) and domestic production (red). Increased domestic output, anchored by surging oil and natural gas production, is meeting more and more of the energy America uses. Thus, imports (blue line) are declining. We’ll point out the shifts in these lines in the mid-2000s, coincide with the ramp-up in the production of energy from shale.

The chart below better illustrates the sharp decline in energy net imports – again, starting in the mid-2000s with increased fracking:

 EIA primary net imports

And this bar graph, showing the recent rapid decline in net imports, propelling the United States toward a zeroing out of EIA net imports bar graphnet imports as a share of total petroleum and other liquids consumption between 2030 and 2040, according to EIA. We call that energy security.

That’s what the U.S. energy revolution is bringing. Greater security in the world, less dependence. It truly is a sea change in America’s energy outlook.  Sustaining and growing the revolution hinges on choices – policies and leaders to execute them. API President and CEO Jack Gerard:

“The United States is the world’s leading producer of natural gas and will, in very short order, become the world’s leader in crude oil production … America is a global energy leader because of the hard work, creativity and innovation of the private sector. … The question we must answer is whether our nation will pursue policies that encourage American global leadership or stifle it … Because if we get our energy policy right today, we can be the generation that erases what for decades has been our country’s most potent and intractable economic vulnerability, dependence on energy resources from less stable regions and countries hostile to our goals, ideals and way of life.”


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.