The Colorado Oil & Gas Association hosted a webinar this week to highlight the vital importance oil and natural gas plays in the 21st century American economy, not only for energy production, but also as the building blocks for nearly every product that makes modern life possible.
In addition to key consumer staples, oil and natural gas has also played a key role addressing the COVID-19 pandemic by helping produce medical supplies and personal protective equipment.
The webinar was part of COGA’s “Oil and Gas Appreciation Month” and featured the organization’s President and CEO, Dan Haley, along with Chris Wright, CEO of Liberty Oilfield Services, and Thomas Pyle, the President of the Institute for Energy Research.
Hosting the webinar, Haley kicked off by discussing Colorado’s role in the American energy sector and how petroleum byproducts are help make nearly every product we use:
“Too often, we think of oil and natural gas just as fuels, something to put in our cars or something to heat or cool our homes, and as we’ve seen in recent weeks across the country, that is a hugely important part of what our industry does.
“But we often forget how many other things we enjoy in the 21st century that are made possible because of oil and natural gas. When you think about it, everything from your cell phone to much of our clothing, our outdoor gear, the equipment that’s used in restaurants, hospitals, and schools across the county – all of it begins with oil and natural gas.”
Colorado is famous for its outdoor lifestyle with residents and visitors from around the world enjoying all sorts of recreational activities like skiing, snowboarding, hiking, mountain climbing and biking, and whitewater rafting. During the webinar, Wright mentioned many of the ways oil and natural gas contributes to the outdoor recreational economy by providing the energy to travel to and power resorts and parks as well the petroleum byproducts that are vital to manufacturing outdoor equipment:
“Escaping the modern world to the great outdoors typically begins with modern energy and transportation, whether by car, bus, train, or plane. Our outdoor choices keep expanding because we now have all of these fabulous outdoor toys made of petrochemicals like skis, snowboards, wakeboards, bikes, kayaks, canoes, sailboats, hot air balloons, climbing gear, ropes, tents, I could go on and on.
“We can spend days in the outdoors with our lightweight backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, cooking stoves, all with materials enabled and made of oil and gas.
Pyle then discussed how vital oil and natural gas has been in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, like supporting the development of the vaccines to fight the virus and the manufacturing of PPE worn by frontline workers.
“Just as oil and gas is the backbone of our economy, it’s the foundation of our medical industry. The miracle vaccines of COVID-19 would be impossible without the huge contributions of America’s first-in-the-world supplies of oil and natural gas. Hydrocarbons are the basis of organic chemistry, which in turn makes medical grade plastics which are used in the production of vials, screening, protective gear, and thousands of other applications throughout the entire medical logistics chain.
“These plastics have innumerable medical uses from the easing of an open MRI machine to housing of refrigeration units where many of these vaccines and medicines are stored until use. … These hydrocarbons are making medical supplies possible to manufacture including the IV components, the syringes, the tubes, polypropylene masks, gowns, googles, everything that our first responders are using.”
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