Appalachian Basin

Healthy Oil and Natural Gas Industry Good for America

Domestic oil and natural gas production is pivotal in meeting energy demand, decreasing emissions, and safeguarding energy security at home and abroad, said Independent Petroleum Association of America President & CEO Jeff Eshelman while delivering the keynote address at the recent Ohio Oil & Gas Association annual meeting in Columbus.

Cleanest Air in Two Decades

Addressing a room full of Ohio energy and industry leaders, Eshelman touted the work and innovation of the oil and natural gas industry to reach record level production while simultaneously helping to decrease emissions, explaining:

“Our industry is committed to improving environmental performance. American producers are taking the right steps to produce energy cleanly and responsibly.

We’re the envy of the world in reducing emissions…we have the cleanest air in more than two decades.”

This is predominantly due to the switch to natural gas in power generation. In Ohio alone, natural gas in the power sector has helped to reduce carbon emissions by 50 million metric tons a year, or more than 37 percent, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.

Other decreases in greenhouse gas emissions are thanks to the tremendous strides from industry to reduce methane emissions through technological advancements, innovation, and collaboration to reduce flaring, replace gas-driven pneumatic controllers with low- or zero-emitting devices, and reduce leak occurrence rates.

These proactive steps help ensure that even as the industry sets production records, methane emissions from petroleum and natural gas systems continue their downward trend – nearly 9 percent since 2005 and 4 percent since 2020 – and more than 13 percent since 1990, according to data in the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2023 draft Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks. As Eshelman explained:

“American oil and natural gas are a partner in our nation’s efforts to responsibly meet energy demand.”

Energy Independence at Home and Abroad

Eshelman also touted how a thriving domestic energy industry helps to ensure energy security at home and around the globe.

At home, an abundant domestic energy supply means a decreased reliance on foreign countries, a shorter and more dependable supply chain, lower cost to consumers, and more stringent environmental regulations to ensure oil and natural gas is produced responsibly.

Abroad, an increase in American exports helps to alleviate reliance on hostile regimes like Russia and China, as this past year showcased.

Recent reporting from the International Energy Agency showed that U.S. LNG played a “crucial role in mitigating the shortfall in Russian piped gas supply” following the unprecedented supply cuts to the European Union in 2022, adding that LNG inflows to the EU rose by a staggering 70 percent (55 bcm) compared to 2021. This was almost twice the increase in global LNG production.

Similarly, the United States increased its oil shipments to Europe 70 percent in 2022 alone, highlighting the role of American energy in securing Europe’s immediate energy future and supporting their resolve to eliminate Russian energy imports.

Eshelman explained:

“We as an industry have the opportunity to make America’s energy security very strong. And we’re an ally our friends can count on.”

Certainty and Predictability Needed

While highlighting the many successes of the domestic oil and natural gas industry, Eshleman also noted the threats the industry is facing that decrease the predictability and certainty needed for the industry to thrive.

This includes:

EID has covered the many mixed messages from the Biden administration over the past two years, and the many regulatory hurdles the industry is facing. Key to combating these threats, Eshelman argued, is the need for a streamlined permitting process, a predictable regulatory environment, and increased infrastructure to meet growing energy demand. These items are critical to encouraging investment from the industry, which in turn helps increase production that our nation and world depend on.

As Eshelman highlighted:

“In this time of uncertainty, one thing is certain: a healthy oil and natural gas industry is good for America.” (emphasis added)

Bottom Line: The U.S. domestic oil and natural gas industry is a strong partner in producing the energy resources our world relies on, and it does so cleaner and more reliably than anywhere else in the world. However, to continue to be a world leader in energy, policies must encourage – not hinder – an increase in domestic production.

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