The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

100 Days: Hydraulic Fracking Driving U.S. Energy Renaissance

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted February 7, 2017

The link between hydraulic fracturing and U.S. global leadership in oil and natural gas production is direct: Without fracking, there’d be no American energy renaissance – or the array of benefits it is providing to our economy, to individual households, U.S. manufacturers and other businesses.

Modern hydraulic fracturing – fracking has been used commercially for decades – is the technological engine behind surging U.S. oil and natural gas output. According to the U.S. Energy Department, up to 95 percent of new wells drilled today are hydraulically fractured, accounting for two-thirds of total U.S. marketed natural gas production:

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And about half of U.S. crude oil production:

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The fact the U.S. leads the world in oil and natural gas production is critically important, given the role both play in our economy and everyday life. Oil and gas supply 66 percent of the energy Americans currently use, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. EIA projects they will furnish 68 percent our energy in 2050. API President and CEO Jack Gerard:

“Thanks to America’s 21st century energy renaissance, which is largely due to technological advances in hydraulic fracturing, we are not only improving our environment, but we are providing savings to American consumers in a big way.”

Modern hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling allow multiple wells to be drilled from one spot, reducing the impact of drilling by as much as 90 percent. Fracking is the key to unlocking vast U.S. shale resources, freeing up oil and natural gas that previously was inaccessible while protecting groundwater supplies and the environment.

America’s shale energy revolution is privately financed and technologically driven. Crude oil production rose 88 percent from 2008 through 2015, while natural gas output rose 36 percent. It’s also an economic dynamo, supporting more than 2 million jobs in 2012 and projected to support nearly 4 million jobs by 2025. Shale natural gas projects in just one region, the Marcellus shale, were responsible for more than 72 million man hours of direct and indirect labor construction hours from 2008 through the first half of 2014, according to a report. By helping to lower power and materials costs, as well as stimulating economic activity for a variety of businesses like service and supply companies, fracking has supported growth across an otherwise struggling economy. API Upstream Group Director Erik Milito:

“Hydraulic fracturing is the backbone for a continued economic, environmental and energy development success story in the U.S. While the U.S. has risen to be the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas, industry has also reduced carbon emissions from power generation to their lowest level in more than 20 years – making it clear that environmental progress and energy production are not mutually exclusive. None of this would be possible without hydraulic fracturing.”

Hydraulic fracturing is a modern, American technology that’s safely and responsibly developing vast reserves of oil and natural gas from shale and other tight-rock formations. It’s the backbone of an energy renaissance that’s making the U.S. more prosperous and safer in the world today. The combination of industry standards, best practices and effective state and federal regulation is protecting communities and the environment – while making available increasing volumes of cleaner-burning natural gas that is allowing the U.S. to lead the world in reducing carbon emissions from electricity generation.

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.