API includes other sources in broader State of American Energy report

The American Petroleum Institute broadened its fifth annual State of American Energy report as it included solar, nuclear, hydropower, wind, coal, geothermal, biomass, and energy efficiency as well as oil and gas.

The Solar Energy Industries Association, American Wind Energy Association, Biomass Power Association, and other nonoil and gas groups were represented. “We felt that an industry-wide report this year was necessary to underscore the reality that our nation will thrive if we adopt a true all-of-the-above energy strategy,” API Pres. Jack N. Gerard explained.

The US is the world’s leading natural gas producer and petroleum refiner, and is expected to become its top crude oil producer “as early as this year, though some project we are already there,” Gerard said at a Jan. 6 luncheon where the 2015 report was released.

“America’s emergence as a global energy leader has fundamentally reordered the world’s energy markets by elevating the importance of North American energy production and reducing what had been the dominant roles of [the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries] and Russia,” Gerard said.

“If we get our energy policy right, this unique American moment could support millions of new well-paying jobs and expand the participation of traditionally under-represented groups, which will be critical to fulfilling our nation’s bright energy future,” he said.

A significant opportunity

The US has the opportunity to permanently diminish what has been its largest economic and political vulnerability: domestic energy scarcity, and dependence on foreign suppliers to meet its needs, Gerard said.

“This opportunity should transcend political parties,” he said. “It should not be about Republicans, Democrats, or Independents. It’s about all Americans benefiting from our nation’s emergence as an energy leader.”

Gerard said API wants to work with the 114th Congress and Obama in the final 2 years of his presidency, as well as other energy sectors, “to usher in an enduring era of cooperation and forward-looking energy policy for America…and to create within the American political landscape a more productive approach to national energy policy.”

The impending retirement of about half of the oil and gas industry’s current technical personnel in the next 7-10 years presents a historic opportunity to create a workforce that better reflects the nation’s increasing diversity, he said.

To better understand that opportunity’s scope, Gerard said API commissioned a report, “Minority & Female Employment in the Oil & Gas & Petrochemical Industries,” which estimates that more than 950,000 job opportunities could be created by 2020 and nearly 1.3 million through 2030 across the country.

More minority participation

“At a minimum, the report estimates that African American and Hispanic workers could make up nearly 20% of new hires in management, business, and financial jobs through 2030,” he said. “More important, the report outlines how we can increase minority participation in our nation’s energy renaissance.”

Gerard called on Congress and the administration to reform energy policies which clearly have become obsolete, including limits on exports of US-produced crude and biofuel quotas under the federal Renewable Fuels Standard.

Speaking with reporters following his address, he said he expects the new Congress to make approving the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline its first priority, closely followed by increasing LNG exports and reforming the RFS.

“Reason and simple laws of supply and demand reasonably show that consumers benefit when more supplies are brought to market,” Gerard said. “We believe crude exports should be focused on early—the sooner, the better. Congress and the administration should each use authority they have to begin the process.

“I think leaders in both political parties believe energy is going to be an important issue the next couple of years,” he said. “If the president wants to double US exports as he has said, energy is a good place to look for ways to do it.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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