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Study: Hydraulic fracturing benefits consumers at the pump


Zachary Cikanek | 202.682.8114 | cikanekz@api.org


WASHINGTON, October 30, 2014 – The U.S. energy renaissance has been driven by innovations in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, which were responsible for about 48 percent of U.S. oil production and shaved up to $0.94 per gallon from fuel prices in 2013, according to a new report.

“For the first time in generations, surging domestic production is driving our energy security and creating large benefits for consumers,” said API Vice President for Regulatory and Economic Policy Kyle Isakower. “Over the last five years, nearly every barrel of new U.S. production can be attributed to the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies, and that production is reshaping global markets in a way that is strengthening the U.S. both economically and diplomatically.”

The study, by ICF International, compared historical price and production data from 2008 to 2013 against a scenario without advanced horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Without the technologies, ICF estimated that international crude oil prices per barrel would have averaged $122 to $150 in 2013 – an increase of $12 to $40. The corresponding discount on gasoline and other refined products was $0.29 to $0.94 per gallon. In total, U.S. consumers saved an estimated $63 to $248 billion in 2013. From 2008 to 2013, the cumulative savings for U.S. consumers ranged from $165 to $624 billion.

“It’s important for policymakers to recognize that the U.S. energy revolution was not a lucky accident, but the result of decades of American innovation aimed at unlocking our resources here at home,” said Isakower. “To build that momentum and strengthen our position as an energy superpower, it’s critical that policymakers turn aside duplicative regulations on hydraulic fracturing and ensure that U.S. consumers can benefit from energy production on federal lands that remain off-limits.”

The study also found that U.S. oil production utilizing horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing totaled 4.78 million barrels per day in 2013, accounting for 48% of all production – up from 11 percent in 2008. Although ICF limited its analyses to crude production and liquid fuels like gasoline, an earlier study by IHS estimated that the average U.S. household saved about $1,200 in 2012 from unconventional production of both oil and natural gas, a cumulative savings of about $163 billion.

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 600 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 20 million Americans.