The American Petroleum Institute’s 2022 State of American Energy offered important reminders and updates on what the U.S. oil and natural gas industry has accomplished in recent years, and more importantly, what’s possible in the future.
From discussions on technological advancements to record emissions reductions to the critical role natural gas and oil play in our daily lives – and everything in between – the theme of the day, “Progress is American Made,” was resoundingly clear.
As API President and CEO Mike Sommers said:
“In so many ways, the state of American energy is strong. Our nation has the resources and expertise it takes to meet our energy needs, support millions of jobs, continue to address the risks of climate change, and keep America free from the dangers of dependence on unreliable foreign sources.”
#1 Natural Gas and Oil Drive American Progress
Pandemic recovery has been an uphill battle for most industries, however, the American oil and gas sector has bounced back better than expected. Milestones such as record-breaking low emission levels, and increased exports of natural gas have made the United States the leading producer for sustainable resources across the world.
Source: API SOAE 2022
In 2021, the industry:
- Supported 11.3 million jobs nationally – in every segment of the industry’s direct, indirect and induced jobs, labor income and value added, which is a measure of industry’s portion of GDP.
- Reduced energy expenditures for U.S. households by 25 percent while expenditures for food, education and healthcare have increased, ranging from 22 percent to 74 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Reduced power sector C02 emissions by more than 60 percent since 2005 which is a direct result of increased natural gas-fired electricity generation.
Source: API SOAE 2022
#2 Technology and Diversity Improvements are a Top Priority
The national address was accompanied by testimonials from employees who stressed how advances in the industry have positively impacted their communities and overall success. Specifically, recent advancements in technology and a shift in diversity and inclusion has propelled the industry forward:
“I’ve been at my company for 17 years, and where we’ve been and where we are today is such an incredible difference. Now we literally have data in our hands every second through technology advancements and being able to make data driven decisions based on what is readily available I’m very excited to see what the next ten years hold.” — Jacqui Schlachter, District Operations Manager
“I worked in the oil and gas industry for 15 years now, and the white male perception is an old perception and I feel like diversity is at the forefront of our minds.” – Jenna Compehos, Operations and Maintenance Coordinator
“What I would say to people who believe it is a white dominated industry – I would say come and be the diversity – come and join me to be the difference.” – Essi Kwabi, Petrophysicist
#3 Policies Need to Benefit Consumers and Domestic Production
Policies put in place or proposed in the last year – from the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline to an illegal ban on federal leasing and a proposed tax on natural gas – have created much uncertainty for domestic oil and gas production. But that hasn’t prevented increased energy demand or diminished the importance of having access to affordable, reliable energy. As Sommers said:
“Our country continues to grapple with uncertainty – a pandemic, a short-term crisis in the supply chain and a quest to spur growth without accelerating inflation. But here’s one thing we know for sure: The path to American prosperity, security and progress must include American natural gas and oil.”
“U.S. policies that restrict domestic production force our country to seek relief from OPEC, undermining our energy independence. America should not be in the position of asking for foreign energy supplies, especially when we have abundant resources produced to standards that are among the highest in the world, right here at home.”
Yet that’s exactly what occurred on multiple occasions in 2021, with the United States looking to OPEC, rather than domestic producers, to increase production. It wasn’t until the end of the year that the administration began to acknowledge the role the U.S. oil and gas industry can play in addressing rising energy prices.
#4 Natural Gas is Here to Stay
Within the next 30 years, the demand for reliable and sustainable energy will increase – to maintain enough supply, we must rely on natural gas. As API’s SOAE report states:
“World demand for energy is projected to increase 47 percent by 2050 over 2020 demand. The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that in 2050, natural gas and oil will supply nearly 50 percent of the world’s energy – compared to 54 percent in 2020. Rapid renewable energy growth will be supported by affordable, reliable natural gas so that consumers are served 24/7, rain or shine.”
Source: API SOAE 2022
Natural gas is versatile and abundant enough to meet the various needs of consumers not just within the United States but globally. Besides transportation and electricity, natural gas provides consumers with a plethora of products such as toiletries, sports equipment, and electronics.
Outside of essential products, natural gas is a key resource to ensure consumers maintain adequate quality of life during a transition to renewables. As Sommers explained:
“As more countries work to escape energy poverty and new energy sources come online and are brought up to scale, natural gas and oil will be critical. Alternative sources like solar and wind are intermittent — They need natural gas as a back-up.”
2021 was a year of growth and opportunity, and 2022 looks like it will be no different.
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