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Study: Middle class Americans own oil and natural gas companies


Carlton Carroll | carrollc@api.org | 202.682.8114


WASHINGTON, October 21, 2014 – The owners of America's oil and natural gas companies are largely retirees and middle class Americans saving for retirement, according to a report by Sonecon, Who Owns America’s Oil and Natural Gas Companies, commissioned by API.

“When oil and natural gas companies do well, so do millions of their owners all across America,” said Kyle Isakower, API vice president of regulatory and economic policy. “The study concludes that a large proportion of the benefits of oil and gas company stock ownership goes to middle class Americans.”

In 2014, public and private pension and retirement plans, including 401(k)s and IRAs, hold 46.8 percent of all the shares of U.S. oil and natural gas companies, according to the study. Individual investors own 18.7 percent, and asset management companies including mutual funds hold 24.7 percent of shares. Institutional investors like banks, insurance companies, foundations and endowments hold 6.9 percent of shares.

Together, these groups hold 97 percent of oil and gas industry stock. By comparison, the officers and board members of U.S. oil and gas companies own less than 3 percent of total shares.

“As companies announce 3rd quarter earnings, it’s important to remember how they’re in line with other manufacturers, how they’re large as a total dollar figure because these are large multinational companies that compete on a global stage with foreign nationally-owned oil and natural gas companies, and how these earnings represent good news for millions of Americans,” Isakower said. “The U.S. oil and natural gas industry is a major part of our nation's economy. It supports 9.8 million jobs and pays more taxes than any other industry and at higher effective rates. As the Sonecon study shows, the industry also benefits millions of Americans who are its true owners.”

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry. 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.