DOE Report Shows There's Much to Lose With Bad Energy Policies
Posted October 8, 2020
The high stakes in bad energy policy proposals – to ban new natural gas and oil leasing on federal lands and waters and/or fracking – are underscored in a new U.S. Department of Energy report that details the economic and security benefits of robust domestic energy development.
Key points highlighted in the report, “U.S. Oil and Natural Gas: Providing Energy Security and Supporting Our Quality of Life,” produced by the department’s Office of Oil and Natural Gas:
- Energy/economy – Oil (37%) and natural gas (31%) provide more than two-thirds of the energy used by Americans, powering transportation, electricity generation, manufacturing processes and home heating and cooking.
- Power – Natural gas is the leading fuel for generating electricity and, as the report notes, provides a secure and reliable energy source for intermittent wind and solar energy.
- Security – According to the report, the U.S. is energy independent on a net energy basis – “that is, we export more energy than we import. The trajectory of the domestic oil and natural gas industry has taken us from fears of scarcity to expectations of abundance.”
- Consumers – Increased domestic production of natural gas and oil provided $203 billion in annual savings to U.S. consumers – about $2,500 per year for a family of four – the report says, citing a 2019 Council of Economic Advisors report on the U.S. shale revolution.
All Americans – not just those living in the 34 oil and natural gas-producing states or working at oil and natural gas jobs – directly benefit from increased domestic production. The benefits include significant savings for American consumers due to lower energy costs, increased revenues for state and local governments, growing numbers of well-paying jobs, a revitalized U.S. petrochemical manufacturing industry, and increased commerce from exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG). At the same time, reducing the environmental footprint per unit of oil and natural gas produced by implementing lower-impact extraction technologies has made oil and natural gas competitive with other energy sources in terms of environmental sustainability.
Check out the full report. There’s important detail on new technologies and innovations that are making natural gas and oil production more efficient and the ways industry is improving its environmental performance.
Much of the DOE report reinforces what we’ve been saying, that misguided proposals to effectively end new natural gas and oil production in areas under federal control – including in the Gulf of Mexico – and/or to ban fracking, responsible for about 95% of new wells in the U.S. today, put the benefits outlined in the DOE report at risk. Weakened security, lost jobs, reduced economic output.
Unfortunately, some of the current political debate dismisses the gains made over more than a decade, hard-earned advances that have made the U.S. the leading natural gas and oil producer in the world, lowered oil imports and increased American energy self-sufficiency. Abundant, affordable natural gas has benefited consumers and has been the primary reason U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are at their lowest levels in a generation.
This is progress the U.S. should not abandon. API President and CEO Mike Sommers:
“Banning federal leasing and development on federal lands and waters would derail decades of U.S. energy progress and return us to the days of relying on foreign energy sources hostile to American interests. This is ultimately a choice between American-made energy and foreign energy, a choice between American jobs and foreign jobs. It’s clear a federal leasing ban should be off the table – there’s far too much at stake for American workers, local economies and our nation’s energy security.”
About The Author
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Previously, Mark was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor at an assortment of newspapers. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela have two grown children and six grandchildren.