Let's Build on America's Energy Progress

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted February 9, 2016

Two charts illustrate the dramatic, truly historic progress the United States has made thanks to a revolution in domestic oil production. First, production itself (U.S. Energy Information Administration data):

progress_oil

What we see here is the U.S. energy revolution, gaining momentum in 2008, and then accelerating in 2011 with an output trajectory that looks like a rocket launch. In orange (and continuing beyond 2011 on a flat line to the right edge of the chart) is EIA’s 2006 production forecast. Production that was about 5 million barrels per day in 2006 surged to 9.4 million barrels per day last year.

Now, the area between EIA’s flat 2006 forecast for domestic production and the line showing the oil that actually was produced out to 2015 – that’s what we call progress.

Progress in domestic oil production has brought an equally dramatic effect on U.S. oil imports:

progress_imports

Here we see imports that topped 10 million barrels per day in 2006 dropping to about 7.3 million barrels per day last year, according to EIA. The orange area is EIA’s 2006 forecast for oil imports. The area between the two lines is progress – an America that’s more energy self-sufficient and less dependent on imported oil. That’s also energy security.

Progress on domestic oil production and oil imports is not something the United States should surrender – or worse, roll back. We should not pursue policies that take the United States back to the energy reality of a decade ago: the prospect of increasing dependency and less opportunity – for American workers, consumers, our economy and our strategic security.

Yet, that’s what the Obama administration is leading – a retreat from the progress that’s been made as a result of abundant shale energy reserves and the innovation and technology reflected in safe hydraulic fracturing and modern horizontal drilling.

Through ideas like the administration’s wrongheaded proposal for a $10-per-barrel tax on oil, unnecessary regulatory initiatives, restrictions on access to energy reserves, snarls of government red tape and more, the administration risks reversing the energy revolution that has made the U.S. the world’s leading oil and natural gas producer, benefited consumers, lifted the economy, reduced carbon emissions and increased our security in the world. Such a path could seriously damage our economy, harm consumers and diminish U.S. security. API President and CEO Jack Gerard:

“No longer constrained by electoral considerations, it seems the administration’s final months in office will be spent pursuing its true energy policy objective: to choke off America’s energy renaissance and keep fossil fuels in the ground.”

The U.S. energy renaissance, which presidents and policymakers only dreamed about four decades ago, is here. Right energy policy choices can sustain and grow it, helping to ensure American economic prosperity and security for decades to come. Wrong choices could squander progress made, as well as the historic opportunity to build on that progress in the future. In this election year, U.S. voters can help determine which path America takes by voting for energy.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joins API after spending 16 years as national editorial writer in the Washington Bureau of The Oklahoman newspaper. In all, he has been a reporter and editor for more than 30 years, including six years as sports editor at The Washington Times. He lives in Occoquan, Virginia, with his wife Pamela. Mark graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in journalism and earned a masters in journalism and public affairs at American University. He's currently working on a masters in history at George Mason University, where he also teaches as an adjunct professor in the Communication Department.

Energy Tomorrow is a project of the American Petroleum Institute – the only national trade association that represents all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry – speaking for the industry to the public, Congress and the Executive Branch, state governments and the media.