The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Pennsylvania’s Energy Story is Worth Sharing

Stephanie Catarino Wissman

Stephanie Catarino Wissman
Posted July 28, 2016

Speaking from my state – one of the epicenters of America’s game-changing energy renaissance – it was appropriate that President Obama included our country's brighter energy picture as one of his presidency’s accomplishments during his Democratic National Convention speech in Philadelphia. “After decades of talk, we finally began to wean ourselves off foreign oil,” the president said.

That’s one way to put it. Certainly, dramatic, historic increases in domestic oil and natural gas production – thanks to private investment, private innovation and fracking – have advanced the United States from an era of energy scarcity and limited opportunity to one of abundance, increased strength and security and possibility.

To be sure, many have talked a long time about how to make the U.S. more energy secure. Yet, our industry worked at it, developing new technologies and accepting the needed investment risks to bring America the energy that runs our economy and modern way of life.

In a couple of charts, America’s energy revolution. First, surging crude oil production, as fracking unlocked vast reserves in shale and other tight-rock formations around the country:


Playing a primary role in bringing about the decline in crude imports the president alluded to:


Increased supplies of oil and natural gas, which today supply 67 percent of America’s fuel needs and which the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects will supply 68 percent of our needs in 2040, are strengthening our economy, providing consumer benefits and strengthening America’s standing in the world. Increased use of abundant natural gas is the chief reason U.S. energy-related carbon emissions are at a 20-year low and leading the world in progress on that important climate goal.

That’s the big picture. Here in Pennsylvania, the energy revolution has been very, very good to the commonwealth. Below, marketed natural gas production that exceeded 4.5 trillion cubic feet in 2015, more than double output from just three years earlier:


Over the past half-decade, fees paid by industry to the commonwealth have totaled more than a billion dollars. Much of the money stays at the local level and is distributed to the counties and municipalities with the most shale wells. The top beneficiaries for 2015 included Washington County ($5.68 million), Susquehanna County ($5.25 million) and Bradford County ($4.92 million). Even in a down year for the industry, revenue to the commonwealth totaled $187.7 million.

Other Pennsylvania energy facts:

  • The Marcellus shale remains the largest U.S. shale play. The Marcellus and the Utica plays have provided 85 percent of U.S. shale gas production growth since 2012.
  • Pennsylvania and neighboring West Virginia together accounted for 70 percent of the increase in U.S. natural gas proved reserves in 2013. Natural gas produced from shale basins account for 56 percent of U.S. dry gas production.
  • As of 2014, EIA says, 51 percent of state households used natural gas as their primary home heating fuel.
  • In 2015, Pennsylvania ranked second in the nation in electricity generated by nuclear power, obtaining 37.2 percent of its electricity from nuclear.

So, welcome, DNC, to energy country. Pennsylvanians have seen energy’s benefits to state and local economies, as well as the way communities and industry can partner to develop energy safely and in an environmentally responsible way. It’s a story we hope you’ll share with others as Americans engage in a broader conversation about keeping the energy revolution going.

Stephanie Catarino Wissman is executive director of Associated Petroleum Industries of PA, a division of API.


Wissman joined API-PA after serving as Director of Government Affairs for the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, the largest broad based business advocacy association in Pennsylvania. She has also served as Manager of Government Affairs for Embarq, a global integrated communications provider. Wissman is a graduate of Penn State University and resides in Mechanicsburg, Penn.