Washington, DC – From creating jobs to supporting retirement and pension funds, America’s oil and natural gas industry has long stood as a key pillar of our nation’s economy. But only a few years ago, there were many who believed we may be running out of these important resources, potentially forcing our nation to further increase its reliance of foreign energy and threatening our nation’s security, economy and national energy outlook.
Thankfully — thanks to the continued innovation and dedication of America’s independent oil and natural gas producers — our nation has unlocked a newfound energy opportunity, a resurgence that Reuters columnist Chrystia Feeland describes as one of the “lone sources of growth — and of good blue-collar jobs — at a time of global economic stagnation.”
More from Reuters:
“Until very recently, our collective assumption was that oil was running out. …Obvious — but wrong. Thanks in part to technologies like horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracking, we are entering a new age of abundant oil. As the energy expert Leonardo Maugeri contends in a recent report published by the Belfer Center at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, ‘contrary to what most people believe, oil supply capacity is growing worldwide at such an unprecedented level that it might outpace consumption.’
“At a time when the global meme is of America’s inevitable economic decline, the surge in oil supply capacity is an important contrarian indicator. Mr. Maugeri calculates that the United States “could conceivably produce up to 65 percent of its oil consumption needs domestically.” That national energy boom is already providing a powerful economic stimulus in some parts of the country — just look at North Dakota. Crucially, at a time when one of the biggest social and political problems in the United States is the disappearance of well-paid blue-collar work, particularly for men, oil patch jobs fill that void.”
If fact, even communities that have banned shale gas development – despite its proven safety record – are reaping the immense benefits of neighboring production. As Bloomberg highlighted this week, Pittsburgh, PA has seen a long-awaited economic resurgence thanks to nearby development of the Marcellus Shale.
“’Local development officials credit the city’s emphasis on expanding schools and hospitals to replace closed steel mills and foundries. And they look to gas extraction as a future key. ‘The Marcellus and Utica shale represent a transformative opportunity for the Pittsburgh region,’ said Dennis Yablonsky, chief executive officer of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.
“New methods of extracting natural gas and oil are boosting the economies of states from Pennsylvania to North Dakota and Texas. Unconventional gas production alone is forecast to spur almost $3.2 trillion in new investment by 2035 and support more than 2.4 million jobs in the lower 48 U.S. states, according to an IHS Inc. study released in June. It projected a 14 percent annual compound-growth rate in Pennsylvania jobs tied to gas.
“[Mayor Luke] Ravenstahl said balancing the industry and environmental concerns can be achieved. ‘We can protect the environment and drill in a responsible way, while also creating tens of thousands of jobs for local Pittsburgh residents,’ he said.”
From job creation, strengthening our nation’s economy while safeguarding our environment, the benefits of American energy production are incomparable. And as new sources of energy are explored, independent oil and natural gas producers are working to ensure the safe and continued production of the energy our nation relies upon. But the need for support, common sense regulation and access to reserves has never been more clear. It is time that our government – from the local, state and federal levels – recognize the unique opportunity that many deemed impossible only years ago.