Posted December 31, 2014
So long, 2014. From an energy standpoint, you’ll be missed. Let’s count the ways:
Surging domestic oil and natural gas production – largely thanks to safe hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling – is driving an American energy revolution that’s creating jobs here at home and greater security for the United States in the world.
It’s a revolution with macro-economic and geopolitical impacts, for sure. But it’s also a revolution that’s benefit virtually every American.
So, here’s a look at energy in 2014 in charts.
Domestic oil and natural gas production
By far, the biggest story in energy – not just in the U.S. but across the globe – is the impact of American oil and natural gas production:
This U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) chart shows current crude oil output approaching the all-time high set more than 40 years ago. This is impacting oil imports:
Above, EIA projections show that the net import share of U.S. petroleum consumption could reach zero between 2030 and 2040 – a good benchmark for energy security. U.S. domestic production is reducing our dependence on imports, which has been the goal of every American president for more than four decades. This is a sea change in America’s energy reality. Production here at home is impacting global crude oil markets, putting downward pressure on the cost of crude – the No. 1 factor in prices at the pump.
Certainly, this effect has been seen in the U.S. the past few months in falling pump prices:
This EIA chart compares 2014 retail prices (red) with 2013 (green) and 2012 (blue). AAA estimates Americans saved $14 billion this year compared to 2013. AAA’s Avery Ash to CNBC:
“U.S. drivers ended the year on a high note with gas prices plummeting over the last few months. Cheaper gas prices have helped to improve the economy by boosting both consumer confidence and disposable income.”
The question going forward is how do we keep these trends going? Access to energy reserves is key – especially areas under federal control, where production has been in decline. Indeed, the U.S. energy revolution is occurring on state and private lands. We have a new energy reality in spite of federal policies, not because of them. Another important chart – this map of America’s offshore reserves, showing that 87 percent of the acreage under federal control is off-limits to development:
Let’s talk natural gas production, fracking and emissions:
This chart by Energy In Depth shows the significant increase in natural gas output and equally significant decreases in methane emissions from production. EPA reports that methane emitted from fracked natural gas wells is down 73 percent since 2011 – a credit to technology and industry efforts to reduce emissions. With EIA reporting U.S. natural gas reserves total 354 trillion cubic feet, you begin to see the potential in America’s energy abundance.
The matrix above illustrates a key difficulty in forcing higher ethanol blend fuels into the national supply under the dysfunctional Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) – the number of vehicles on the road today for which the manufacturer does not recommend using E15, containing up to 15 percent ethanol (compared to the E10 fuel that’s prevalent across the country).
Ozone? Take a look at this one:
That’s a projection of population areas that would be out of attainment with new standards for ground-level ozone, which is being advanced by EPA. The impacts on the U.S. economy could be huge, perhaps the costliest regulation ever imposed – potentially affecting business startups and job creation. We need smart regulation, based on sound science, that doesn’t launch a series of unintended, unwanted consequences on the lives of Americans.
America’s oil and natural gas industry is overwhelming owned by … Americans.
- Public and private pension and retirements plans, including 401(k)s and IRAs, hold 46.8 percent of all shares of U.S. oil and natural gas companies in 2014.
- Asset management companies, including mutual funds, hold 24.7 percent of oil and natural gas shares.
- Individual investors hold 18.7 percent of all oil and natural gas company shares.
Combined, that’s 97 percent of all oil and natural gas company stock – held by millions of Americans across the country.
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.