Gerard: Industry poised to help US economy grow further in 2013

The US petroleum industry is making substantial contributions to improve the nation’s economic and energy security, and stands ready to do more in 2013, American Petroleum Institute Pres. Jack N. Gerard said in his annual State of American Energy Address.

“We can offer solutions to some of the pressing issues that will impact our economic future: tax reform infrastructure improvements, leasing and permitting on federal lands, regulations that don’t add unnecessary layers of compliance on top of existing protections, and ensuring regulations won’t compromise our ability to grow the economy and create jobs through domestic energy,” he maintained.

The US oil and gas industry supports 9.2 million jobs and could support another 1.4 million by 2030 through energy production and refining investments, Gerard said.

Job growth has not been limited to work directly in the industry, he noted. “Over the past decade, more than 30 states have seen at least a 50% rise in support industry employment,” Gerard said. “From information technology (IT) to accounting to software to machines and equipment, companies and workers in every state are supporting the development of US oil and gas.”

The industry has spent more than $252 billion to improve its products, facilities, and operations’ environmental performances, he continued. Its $71 billion of investments between 2000 and 2010 to improve greenhouse gas emissions was more than the $43 billion spent by the federal government, and almost as much as all other industries combined, Gerard said.

“US refiners have invested more than $137 billion since 1990 in technologies to produce even cleaner fuels and meet the growing variety of state and federal mandates,” he said. “The complete transition to Tier 2 gasoline is estimated to have resulted in the reduction of tailpipe emissions for cars and light-duty trucks equivalent to taking 164 million cars off the road.”

‘Uniquely American movement’

Gerard said this “uniquely American movement” of private investment in US oil and gas—and the technologies to produce those resources—has brought the US to a turning point unmatched anywhere in the world.

“It’s not because they don’t have oil and gas, but because we have brought our entrepreneurial spirit to energy: to take a chance on new wells, new techniques, and new technologies that provide the energy that supports our way of life,” he said.

“These investments—and benefits—don’t occur in a vacuum,” Gerard said. “As Washington’s elected officials and opinion leaders search for common ground on tax policy, fiscal policy, and regulatory regimes, we need to focus on solutions that will support our ability to provide for a more secure American energy future. There is room for agreement.”

API is encouraged by what it has heard the past few months from the White House, and hopes that US President Barack Obama truly supports more US oil and gas development as he said during his reelection campaign, API’s president told reporters following his address.

“We’ve had a positive dialogue with the administration in the last few months,” he said. “A lot of that seems to come from its recognition of this new energy reality. Our relationship has improved. I hope we can move forward and find common ground.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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