A recent op-ed in The Hill authored by Anne Bradbury, CEO of the American Exploration and Production Council, highlights the important role of the U.S. energy sector in providing affordable, reliable energy and its role in fueling the American economy. She notes:
There is an inextricable link between a healthy and robust economy and a reliable and affordable energy source. Real, lasting climate solutions are driven by innovation and technological breakthroughs that enhance our way of life and reduce emissions.
Bradbury specifically highlights the critical contributions of the oil and gas industry, noting that the U.S. shale industry is credited with driving 10 percent of U.S. GDP growth from 2010-2015, and providing about 1 million direct upstream onshore jobs – a crucial economic boost in light of the Great Recession. Speaking further to the economic benefits, Bradbury writes:
Each onshore rig supports 22+ direct jobs, each job at an average pay of $60,000. For each direct job, we estimate another three indirect jobs. And, oil and natural gas industry sector-projects are higher paying, provide better health and retirement benefits, have more long-term job growth opportunities, and are more stable careers than jobs in renewable energy, according to a national survey of union and nonunion workers by North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU).
In addition to the notable economic benefits, Bradbury emphasizes the environmental achievements and conservation efforts in the past couple decades:
We have already reduced emissions and made energy production and consumption cleaner and more efficient than ever before. From 2005-2017, total U.S. electricity generation increased by 4 percent while related CO2 emissions fell 27 percent. Approximately 61 percent of that reduction was from switching to natural gas.
Methane emissions from five of the largest producing oil and gas regions across the country have fallen nearly 70 percent — even as natural gas production in those regions tripled over the 2011-2018 period, demonstrating the industry’s commitment to finding and implementing innovative solutions to further protect our environment.
Bradbury concludes that despite the critical role of the industry, activists have continued their campaign against oil and gas, with some going as far as demanding fossil fuels be kept in the ground. However, these positions are short-sighted and fail to recognize the important contributions of the industry in providing affordable, reliable energy for American consumers and keeping the American economy moving. Bradbury writes:
Restricting oil and gas production in the U.S. will significantly drive up energy costs, forcing manufacturers and small businesses to close –– further hurting jobs and our economy…
Our industry has been instrumental in solving challenges in the past. We know how to collaborate with other industries — as well as with government officials and nonprofits — to deliver innovative technologies that meet legislative and policy goals to grow jobs and reduce emissions.