The U.S. needs oil and gas

03 09, 2020 by BIC Magazine | Lori LeBlanc

During the next eight months, as we approach election day Nov. 3, you and I will hear a lot of promises from the presidential candidates. We will hear candidates promote their positions on our federal tax structure, health care, student debt, foreign policy and immigration, just to name a few.

There's one campaign issue that may not grab as many headlines, but actually impacts every American, regardless of location, income, age or political party. That issue is domestic oil and gas production.

Leading up to this spring's primaries, several presidential hopefuls have decried American oil and gas production, pledging extreme, overreaching actions if elected, such as a total moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases, immediately ending all existing fossil fuel extraction on federal lands and waters, and banning offshore drilling. These unrealistic promises may appeal to some interest groups, but the implementation of these drastic policies would be devastating to all Americans.

Our national, state and local economies could not survive a massive shutdown of domestic oil and gas production. The U.S. needs oil and gas now and for decades to come. Safely producing oil and gas here at home is key to our economic and national security. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • The U.S. is the top oil-producing country in the world. We have held the top spot since we surpassed Saudi Arabia in 2013. U.S. oil production accounts for 18 percent of the world's production, ahead of the other top-five countries more commonly known for having a rich oil supply: Saudi Arabia, Russia, Canada and China.
  • The U.S. has significantly reduced its dependence on foreign oil in recent years, particularly Middle Eastern oil. In 2018, U.S. oil production was the highest on record at 15.3 million bpd -- more than Iran, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates combined.
  • Worldwide energy demand is expected to rise considerably. From 2018 to 2050, the EIA predicts a 50-percent increase in the world's total energy consumption, with China and India accounting for the largest shares of the increase in energy use. The U.S. must be prepared to produce enough energy to meet domestic demand, as well as to help satisfy the demand in these economically developing countries.
  • Americans consume oil and gas more than any other energy source by a large margin. According to the EIA, petroleum and natural gas account for 67 percent of U.S. energy consumption and 63 percent of total energy production. Renewables are the source of only 11 percent of current energy consumption in the U.S. and account for only 18 percent of energy production.
  • Domestic oil and gas production also fuels the U.S. Department of the Treasury. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, revenue from federal oil and gas production topped $8 billion in 2018. In fact, annual revenue collected by the treasury from onshore and offshore production is second only to collections by the IRS.
  • Petroleum makes plastic, and plastic makes life-saving products possible. Petroleum fuels our cars, trucks, buses and planes, and petroleum is also the main ingredient in plastic and rubber. These materials are critically important for the production and creation of so many life-saving and life-dependent tools and products, such as IV bags and tubes, syringes, artificial heart valves and limbs, eyeglasses, life jackets, parachutes, hearing aids, tires and even the asphalt on our highways. Per capita, Americans consume petroleum products at a rate of 3.5 gallons of oil and 250 cubic feet of natural gas per day.

Clearly, oil and gas are a crucial part of the U.S.'s energy portfolio, and an abrupt end to production would have dire consequences for our country and the world. LMOGA works to promote reasonable policies that preserve our domestic oil and gas supply and ensure that American oil and gas workers can continue to fill our nation's energy demand in the years ahead.