IADC: U.S. Oil, Natural Gas Can Meet Global Demand, Create Jobs and Protect the Environment

A batch of young Capitol Hill staffers in Washington D.C. recently got a first-hand account of America’s ever-strengthening position in the global oil and natural gas market from a veteran offshore drilling industry leader.

Roddie Mackenzie, a senior vice president at Transocean and vice president of the International Association of Drilling Contractors outlined during an appearance at the Capitol how the U.S. oil and natural gas industry is increasingly meeting global demand while creating jobs and protecting the environment.

Oil and Gas Industry Sees Renewable Energy as Partner, not Foe.

Record-setting U.S. oil and natural gas production is clearly driving economic growth at home, as Mackenzie noted the $1.2 trillion the industry contributes to our gross domestic product and the jobs it creates: 800 workers for each rig running offshore.

The growth in U.S. production and exports also makes the United States a global force, especially as the world remains “dependent on oil and gas,” as Mackenzie said.

According to the BP World Energy Outlook, global energy demand grew by 2.9 percent last year, driven in large part by increasing natural gas use, which accounted for almost 45 percent of all growth in global energy production.

Mackenzie said the oil and natural gas industry sees renewable energy as a partner in meeting rising global demand:

“You think that oil and gas campaign against renewables. That’s not true. We need this to expand as quickly as possible, because oil and gas do not have the current ability to fill the gap in current projections for consumption growth.”

However, Mackenzie also stressed the need for continued oil ang gas development:

“In a rapid transition to renewable energy [scenario], we still as a global society will require oil and gas.”

Technological Innovation is allowing the industry to operate cleaner, more efficiently than ever before.

Because of constant innovation – both offshore and onshore – the industry can increase production to keep up with demand while maintaining a commitment to environmental stewardship. As Mackenzie explained:

“For us to be able to continue drilling… to have the social license to do that, you have to demonstrate that you are extremely clean about what you’re doing.”

Mackenzie highlighted how oil and natural gas production has become cleaner and more efficient. Producers are developing hybrid power for rigs, which is expected to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 130 tons per year and decrease carbon emissions by a whopping 5,300 tons per year. To protect the water in offshore operations, Transocean and Kinetics Pressure Control are working on new technology that Mackenzie said will act as an “airbag for the oil and gas industry” and “practically eliminate the risk of an oil spill.”

Such innovations augment the clean-air benefits we’re already seeing from increased use of natural gas in the power sector. According to a recent International Energy Agency report:

“Emissions in the United States remain around their 1990 levels, 14 percent and 800 Mt of CO2 below their peak in 2000. This is the largest absolute decline among all countries since 2000.”

In fact, natural gas has cut 50 percent more emissions in the United States than wind or solar combined since 2005.

While the world looks to meet growing energy demand and deals with the threat of climate change, the oil and natural gas industry remains a crucial part of the global energy mix, Mackenzie said. He noted  the industry acknowledges and encourages the challenge:

“We need to develop [oil and gas] more responsibly so we can all move in the direction we want to move together.”

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