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Energy Primers

API has assembled informational primers to show the integral role the oil and natural gas industry plays in the American economy and quality of life.

Earnings in Perspective

Reported earnings by America’s natural gas and oil industry indicate a sector that is a large, robust driver of the U.S. economy – benefiting millions of American households through individually owned stocks, mutual funds, retirement accounts and other financial instruments. Earnings allow American companies to help strengthen the broader economy by investing in facilities, infrastructure, new technologies and new production that supports millions of American jobs.

Energy & Taxes

Affordable and available energy benefits consumers and supports a wide range of jobs for everyday Americans. Given the reliance of the U.S. economy on energy, tax policy targeting one type of energy over another creates negative impacts and other unintended effects.

For detailed policy information, read our articles under the News, Policy & Issues section.

Alaska - a State of Energy

As it did a quarter century ago, Alaska today offers the U.S. an opportunity to increase domestic oil supply. Harnessing that opportunity in the 1970s helped increase U.S. energy security. Today, given estimates that the world’s energy needs will keep rising well into the future, the value of Alaskan energy could be even greater than it was 25 years ago. Unfortunately, largely because of federal policies, this opportunity is not being seized, but squandered.

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What is Fracking?

What is Fracking? Fracking is shorthand for hydraulic fracturing, a type of drilling that has been used commercially for 65 years. Today, the combination of advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, employing cutting-edge technologies, is mostly responsible for surging U.S. oil and natural gas production.

Hydraulic fracturing involves safely tapping shale and other tight-rock formations by drilling a mile or more below the surface before gradually turning horizontal and continuing several thousand feet more. Thus, a single surface site can accommodate a number of wells. Once the well is drilled, cased and cemented, small perforations are made in the horizontal portion of the well pipe, through which a typical mixture of water (90 percent), sand (9.5 percent) and additives (0.5 percent) is pumped at high pressure to create micro-fractures in the rock that are held open by the grains of sand. Additives play a number of roles, including helping to reduce friction (thereby reducing the amount of pumping pressure from diesel-powered sources, which reduces air emissions) and prevent pipe corrosion, which in turn help protect the environment and boost well efficiency.

Why is fracking for natural gas important?

It’s local, it’s affordable, and it’s abundant. Today, with the high unemployment rate nationwide and an unpredictable economy, it’s important to have affordable and local fuel sources. Expensive oil keeps the cost of natural gas appealing and decreases our dependency on foreign fuel sources. American fuel, “coast to coast and together with supplies from Canada …

What’s the Difference Between Wastewater Disposal and “Fracking”?

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is an advanced technology that is used to enhance the flow of energy from a well after drilling is complete, which is why fracking is referred to as a “completion process.” This process is carried out by sending a mixture of water, sand and certain additives into a deep-rock formation at …

What Chemicals are Used in Fracking?

It’s often the most hotly debated question in the quest for natural gas. Much of the argument against natural gas drilling – known as fracking – is that the chemicals used during the process could have detrimental effects on the surrounding environment. The chemicals that gas companies use – which can include water, sand, salt, …

What are Alternatives to Make Fracking Less Impactful?

While what is in fracking fluid can be harmful to the environment, it is not properly contained, there are new alternatives that could reduce the amount of waste that is typically associated with hydraulic fracturing. As Brian Nearing of the Times Union and Anthony Brino of InsideClimate News report, the treat to water resources that …

I’ve Heard that Hydraulic Fracturing is Linked to Cancer. Is that True?

The best available science shows that hydraulic fracturing does not have an impact on cancer rates. A 2013 peer-reviewed study – Childhood Cancer Incidence in Pennsylvania Counties – found that childhood cancer rates were not elevated in areas with hydraulic fracturing. A 2012 Associate Press article reported, “David Risser, an epidemiologist with the Texas Cancer …

How Much Water Does Hydraulic Fracturing Use?

The average fracking job uses roughly 4 million gallons of water per well – or about as much water as New York City uses every six minutes and about 1.3 percent of the water used by the country’s car washes every day. That can vary by state, because the amount of water used in each …

How is Groundwater Protected During Hydraulic Fracturing?

In every oil and natural gas well that’s fracked, multiple layers (and millions of pounds) of steel pipe casing and concrete isolate the well bore from groundwater supplies. In most cases, the horizontal section of the well can be a mile or more below the groundwater layer. These construction methods, strict federal and state regulations …

Does Fracking Cause Flaming Water Faucets?

No. This is a well-traveled mythology, so let’s take a closer look. First, naturally occurring methane has been well documented all across the country – and for many years prior to drilling. In Michigan, naturally occurring methane was documented in the 1960s, and in Pennsylvania in the 1980s – decades before hydraulic fracturing and shale …

How Many Jobs Has the Oil and Natural Gas Industry Created?

Industry supports 9.8 million jobs or 5.6 percent of total U.S. employment, according to PwC. In 2012, the unconventional oil and natural gas value chain and energy-related chemicals activity together supported more than 2.1 million jobs, according to IHS – a number that’s projected to reach 3.9 million by 2025. Rapid growth in oil production …

Does Hydraulic Fracturing Cause Earthquakes?

The National Research Council recently found that the “process of hydraulic fracturing a well as presently implemented for shale gas recovery does not pose a high risk for inducing felt seismic events.” Stanford University geophysicist Mark Zoback echoed these comments in 2012 in testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, stating …

What are Fracking Myths?

Some say the fracking debate is over, while others think the debate is just getting started. Those who think the debate is just getting started believe fracking causes earthquakes and contaminates drinking water. Many people believe the states are doing a poor job of regulating the fracking process. However, these arguments are nothing but myths. Here are 5 fracking facts to prove the debate is over.

Natural Gas is Alternative Energy

Natural gas is an alternative and natural form of energy, which can be used to replace traditional fossil fuel (gasoline and diesel).  Using natural gas will help reduce the amount of harmful emission released into the atmosphere.

What are the Claims of Anti-Fracking Activists?

According to the Associated Press, claims regarding natural gas drilling and the effect it has on health and air quality are based on inaccurate and misleading science. Researchers confirm that the claims relating fracking to breast cancer rates are “just plain false.”

What Does EPA Say About Water Contamination?

The results of a five-year study conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency demonstrate conclusively that safe fracking – and its associated operational components – does not threaten our drinking water …

Unlocking Americas Natural Resources

Clean burning natural gas is critical to American manufacturing jobs, to farmers for fertilizer, to households for heating and cooking, to businesses for electricity and fuel for transportation needs, and to society to help address climate change concerns because of its low carbon-content.

The Facts on NAAQS

API has assembled a primer to show the how the EPA’s current regulations are working and the United States is leading the world in reducing emissions. New standards could significantly damage the economy by imposing unachievable emission targets on almost every part of our country, including rural and undeveloped areas.

For detailed policy information, read our articles under the News, Policy & Issues section.

American Energy is American Progress

All too often today’s important policy discussions revolve around abstractions and devolve into unproven assertions based on political ideology rather than facts. Fortunately, when it comes to the best way forward on American energy policy, we know what works, because it is today’s reality.

Climate Change and Energy

Right now, the United States is leading the world in the production and refining of oil and natural gas, as well as in the reduction of GHG emissions. CO2 emissions from power generation in 2016 were near 30-year lows, in large part due to greater use of natural gas. And increased use of natural gas in the power generation sector has helped to reduce total CO2 emissions to their lowest level in nearly 25 years. This proves that Americans do not have to make the false choice between utilizing our nation’s energy resources and protecting the environment.

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Energy Works for America

When America’s energy industry thrives, our country thrives. Energy growth equals economic growth. Today we face a far different energy future than was imaginable just a few years ago. An energy future in which the U.S. is the world’s largest producer of natural gas and could soon be the largest producer of crude oil.

LNG Exports

LNG, or liquefied natural gas, is a clear, odorless, noncorrosive, nontoxic liquid that is formed when natural gas is cooled to around -260 F. This shrinks the volume by about 600 times, making the resource easier to store and transport through marine shipments. LNG is not stored under pressure and is not explosive or flammable in its liquid state, and it cannot be released rapidly enough to cause overpressures associated with explosions.

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Offshore 101

API has assembled a primer to show the how access to domestic sources of oil and natural gas would create new, good jobs when millions are still looking for work; bring billions of dollars to federal and state treasuries as governments are scrambling for revenue; reduce our balance of trade, and enhance America’s energy security.

The Offshore Energy We Need

More total energy will be needed both in the United States and globally. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts U.S. energy demand will grow by 12 percent between 2012 and 2040, with more than 60 percent of the energy demand expected to be met by oil and natural gas, as is the case today. The United States is at the beginning of an energy revolution with domestic production reaching levels not seen in decades and our energy imports are falling. But in order to ensure our energy security and create economic growth it is vital that we take advantage of all of our energy resources, including those safely developed in American waters.

When You Look For Resources You Find Them

When oil and natural gas companies are allowed to look for oil and natural gas: They find it, and the statistics become more than just guesses or estimates.

Seismic Surveys: Why and How

Offshore seismic surveys use compressed air to create sound waves that reflect back to the surface.

Offshore Seismic Surveys: Safety, Science, and Research

Marine seismic exploration is carefully regulated by the federal government and managed by the operator to avoid impacting marine animals.

Offshore Safety and Technology Standards

Delivering offshore energy to the American people is safer than ever as a result of industry’s leadership and continuous investments in safety.

Unlocking America's Offshore Energy

API has assembled a primer to show the how access to domestic sources of oil and natural gas would create new, good jobs when millions are still looking for work; bring billions of dollars to federal and state treasuries as governments are scrambling for revenue; reduce our balance of trade, and enhance America’s energy security.

U.S. Crude Exports

Consumers are among the first to benefit from free trade, and crude oil is no exception. Gasoline costs are tied to a global market; additional crude oil exports could help increase supplies, put downward pressure on the prices at the pump and create more jobs right here at home. Access to customers abroad could drive significant new investment in U.S. production, helping to strengthen our energy security.

Gas Prices Explained

  1. Petroleum prices are determined by market forces of supply and demand, not individual companies, and the price of crude oil is the primary determinant of the price we pay at the pump. Oil prices are at a seven-year high amid a persistent global supply crunch, workforce constraints, increasing geopolitical instability in Eastern Europe, the economic rebound following the initial stages of the pandemic, and policy uncertainty from Washington.
  2. Policy choices matter. American producers are working to meet rising energy demand as supply continues to lag, but policy and legal uncertainty is complicating market challenges.
  3. The administration needs an energy-policy reset, and Europe is a cautionary tale. We need not look further than the situation in Europe to see what happens when nations depend on energy production from foreign sources that have agendas of their own. There is more policymakers could do to ensure access to affordable, reliable energy, starting with incentivizing U.S. production and energy infrastructure and sending a clear message that America is open for energy investment.
  4. Dozens of FTC investigations throughout history have not produced a single case of price gouging, and the American people are looking for solutions, not finger pointing. The price at the pump that Americans are currently paying is a function of increased demand and lagging supply combined with the geopolitical turmoil resulting from Russia's aggression in Ukraine.
  5. Lawmakers should focus on policies that increase U.S. supply to help mitigate the situation rather than political grandstanding that does nothing but discourage investment at a time when it's needed the most.

Crude Oil & Product Markets

After decades of decline, crude oil production in the United States has recently been increasing rapidly. Horizontal drilling and multistage hydraulic fracturing are now utilized to access oil and natural gas resources from shale rock formations that were previously either technically impossible or uneconomic to produce.

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