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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently noted that for the first time in since 2008, S&P 500 Index’s implied volatility briefly surpassed that of crude oil in February. In this context, “volatility” is a measure of the rate and magnitude of variations in prices. EIA’s observation could be important if it suggests stock prices are about to fall, like they did during the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

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What if I told you that this year’s International Women’s Day theme, #PressforProgress, fits perfectly with the gains that women have made in the natural gas and oil industry? While it’s true that too often I am one of a few women in the room at industry events, that paradigm is shifting.

Here’s the good news: Nearly half of women employed in the industry work in management and professional jobs, a number that is expected to grow through 2035. The growing numbers of women in natural gas and oil are encouraging, but it’s not enough.

According to a recent API study, the industry must do more to raise awareness of industry opportunities for women and minorities, who are expected to fill nearly 40 percent of the 1.9 million natural gas and oil job opportunities through 2035. This isn’t just a feel-good sentiment, our industry’s ability to continue to grow and innovate depends on our ability to attract women and minorities to our ranks.

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As a nation, we have a tremendous opportunity to safely and efficiently harness our offshore natural gas and oil reserves. Here are three important points that should be prominent during the public hearing phase of the process to develop the next federal offshore leasing plan.

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Looking ahead to Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address, let’s hope the speech helps Washington focus on accelerating gains made by U.S. energy over the past several months. America’s natural gas and oil renaissance has boosted the economy and Americans’ individual prosperity while strengthening our country’s security and making significant environmental strides. Time to double down on that progress.

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Metropolitan areas that are near natural gas, oil and mining activity have been exceptionally productive and able to sustain high productivity over time, according to a recent Brookings Institution study. While overall U.S. productivity has continued to slow, metro area participation in the energy and technology booms has become a precursor of high productivity and growth.

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America’s energy abundance makes our country stronger, more prosperous and secure in the world. Safely harnessing this energy requires technology, innovation, access to reserves and smart policy. When these come together, we all benefit.

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The Nebraska Public Service Commission’s approval of the Keystone XL pipeline is a significant milestone for a project that would enhance crude oil delivery from Canada to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast while also increasing U.S. energy security. The decision’s immediate significance is to underscore the validity of using of established processes to debate, review and decide large energy infrastructure projects like Keystone XL.

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IEA’s statement above is remarkable. What it means is that the energy security goals U.S. leaders have discussed for more than 40 years appear to be coming into view. Thanks to modern, data analytics-based exploration and production, the United States will produce natural gas and oil at unprecedented levels, decreasing oil imports and growing opportunities for U.S. energy in the global marketplace. 

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Tax reform legislation is advancing in the U.S. Senate, and it’s good that Finance Committee Chairman Orin Hatch and a number of senators are pursuing pro-growth, pro-development changes that would modernize the tax code and help improve the competitiveness of U.S. businesses operating internationally. Such reforms would help strengthen our economy, spur investment and boost job creation. 

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Sizing up points made on both sides of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission change the electricity marketplace: government intervention vs. market competition; propping up certain generation facilities vs. protecting consumers; diversity in power generation for diversity’s sake vs. what’s best for grid health. We’ll go with markets, consumers and grid health – all of which point toward electricity generation fueled by abundant, affordable, reliable natural gas.

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