The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

U.S. Energy, Leading the World

Jack Gerard

Jack Gerard
Posted October 14, 2015

Highlights from API President and CEO Jack Gerard’s conference call with reporters in which he discussed efforts to lift America’s 1970s-era ban on crude oil exports and the positive climate impacts of the U.S. energy revolution in advance of next month’s COP21 conference in Paris.

Last week the U.S. House of Representatives sent a clear message that it stands for a brighter energy and economic future for our nation when it approved with a strong bipartisan majority lifting the 1970s era ban on crude oil exports. We now call on the Senate to do the same. We urge them to unleash our nation’s energy potential by ending this vestige of our nation’s era of energy scarcity, dependence and insecurity.

smallerAccording to [studies by Columbia University and Brookings/NERA], putting this additional U.S. oil on the world market could reduce the price of a gallon of gasoline by as much as 12 cents a gallon, a significant savings for consumers. American consumers could save about $5.8 billion per year by 2020, [according to an ICF study]. The study also found that by lifting the ban on crude exports could create up to 300,000 American jobs, well beyond oil-producing states. Eighteen states could gain more than 5,000 jobs each in 2020 from the export of U.S. crude oil. Every other major study agrees. …

At a time when this nation is leading the charge on a deal that would allow Iran to export  more of their energy resources, it makes no sense to hamstring U.S. producers, preventing them from accessing the world market, and enhancing America’s position as a global energy leader.

And allowing our nation to more fully participate in the global energy market will help create a buffer between our energy-dependent friends and allies and other nations that use energy resources as a diplomatic cudgel. Updating the crude export policy provides an opportunity to show our allies and all nations how a democracy uses energy abundance and pro-energy public policies to the world’s benefit.

Thanks to a study by Wood Mackenzie, we have a better understanding of the difference to our nation’s economy if we put into place policies that promote responsible energy development as opposed to those that constrain energy development. The study found that by 2035 pro-development policies could increase U.S. production by approximately 8 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, support 2.3 million more jobs in the U.S. economy and provide a cumulative $1.1 trillion in additional revenue to the government.

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Conversely, the study estimates that the combined negative impact of proposed and imposed federal regulations could reduce U.S. energy production by approximately 3.4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, reduce jobs supported by the industry in the U.S. by 830,000 and reduce revenue to the government by a cumulative $500 billion. The study vividly illustrates why policy matters when it comes to our nation’s energy future.

Today, America stands second to no nation when it comes to oil and natural gas production.  And we’ve achieved this while also demonstrating strong environmental stewardship. America has been leading the world in reducing greenhouse gases, with carbon dioxide emissions near 27-year lows, and a major part of that progress comes from the development of America’s abundant natural gas resources. What’s more, even as domestic oil and natural gas production has surged, methane emissions have declined significantly.

smallerAccording EPA’s own data – data that was released just in the past few weeks – methane emissions from petroleum and natural gas systems overall have decreased by 13 percent since 2011, with the largest methane reductions coming from gas well completions using hydraulic fracturing, which have decreased by 83 percent. 

The fact is our nation has become a global leader in energy production and leading the way in climate change mitigation disproves the overheated rhetoric of anti-fossil fuel groups who continue to peddle the unrealistic notion that our modern society and way of life would be possible without a true all-of-the-above energy policy that is built upon a foundation of responsible fossil fuel use.

The false choice some have suggested contradicts our energy reality. We are producing more affordable and reliable energy.  We are creating jobs, helping the economy and generating billions in revenue for the government. And, we are leading the world on carbon reductions. …

API has been mobilizing its network of 35 million grassroots advocates, which has helped grow bipartisan support in the House and Senate for opening up our markets and allowing our nation to be a true world leader in energy. There is a vocal minority who believe that instead of growing our economy to lift people out of poverty we should reduce our current standard of living and cap our potential. We reject this notion and encourage policymakers to continue down the path we have shown to work, supplying abundant, affordable, and reliable energy to consumers while lowering our impact on the environment. …

The key here is to think long-term. … Five, six, seven years ago, no one would have predicted the United States would become the superpower of energy in this world, and yet that’s exactly where we are. And with the right policies that don’t restrict us, that don’t give the Iranians an unfair advantage over the Americans, we can achieve that potential. And that’s why the policy matters and that’s why we’re pushing so hard on this. …

Exports have no significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions. The two aren’t really interconnected. Now you’ll hear the broader articulation by some that suggests we shouldn’t have any fossil fuels … but that’s a very irresponsible position. That’s really somebody who doesn’t have a plan or at least has not disclosed what their plan really does, because that’s a significant hit to American consumers and everybody else. …

smallerWe produce fossil fuels, oil and natural gas, in the United States cleaner than anybody else in the world. We have the strictest environmental standards, safety standards. We expend billions of dollars in research, advancing technologies for zero carbon-emitting, low carbon-emitting technologies. So as an industry we take second seat to no one in dealing with the issues of our day. …

As you look at this fall going to Paris, if I were the administration I would show up at that conversation and say, “We have led the way in the United States. We’re at a 27-year low in carbon emissions, brought to you primarily by cleaner-burning natural gas. Our methane emissions are down from natural gas, fractured wells 83 percent even as we’ve had significant increases in domestic production of natural gas.”

I think that’s a fabulous story, it’s a compelling story that puts the administration in a position of strength as they articulate their vision for the broader world. I just think it’s very unfortunate right now, because they’ve overlooked the reality in favor of philosophy.   


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jack N. Gerard is president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API), the national trade association that represents all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry. He also has served as the president and CEO of trade associations representing the chemical and mining industries. Jack understands how Washington works. He spent several years working in the U.S. Senate and House, and co-founded a Washington-based government relations consulting firm. A native of Idaho, Jack also is very active in the Boy Scouts of America, a university graduate program on politics, and his church’s leadership. He and his wife are the proud parents of eight children, including twin boys adopted from Guatemala.