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Yes. It is clear that climate change is a serious issue that requires research for solutions and effective policies that allow us to meet our energy needs while reducing greenhouse gases; that’s why natural gas and oil companies are major contributors to the national effort to reduce GHGs, and are eager participants in developing the best science-based, transparent, and cost-effective policies to protect and expand our economic and environmental progress. According to a study by T2 Associates, industry investment in carbon emission reducing technologies is nearly as much as the federal government and more than double the amount invested by each of the next three industry sectors: the automobile industry ($38.2 billion), the electric utility industry ($37.1 billion) and agriculture ($13.0 billion).
Yes. At least 2 million wells have been fracked over the past 65+ years. Numerous protective measures are in place at well sites, including liners under well pads, rubber composite mats under rigs, storage tanks with secondary containment measures, and barriers to control any potential runoff. Numerous studies from government and universities have shown that hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking” – is safe and does not threaten groundwater.
Industry activity is subject to a number of federal and state laws and API’s standards program, accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) provides industry standards and practices for continuous improvement, hundreds of which are referenced in state regulations.
As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes, “Natural gas plays a key role in our nation's clean energy future. The U.S. has vast reserves of natural gas that are commercially viable as a result of advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies, enabling greater access to gas in shale formations. Responsible development of America's shale gas resources offers important economic, energy security, and environmental benefits.”
Oil and gas are all around us, including in space suits and rockets. Whether you’re going to the grocery store or to Mars, oil & gas get you there. The value of oil and gas is their presence in the products and technologies that are required for space travel.
A number of rockets are fueled by RP-1, a derivative of kerosene to reach space. RP-1 is a liquid propellant used not only for putting satellites into orbit, as with the Falcon 9 rocket, but also in the first-stage boosters of the Saturn V that took astronauts to the moon. The liquid hydrogen fuel used to power the Space Shuttle and other spacecraft is developed with natural gas and oil. According to the Planete Energies website:
Today, 95% of hydrogen is produced either from wood or from fossil fuels, such as natural gas and oil. Three types of production process are currently in use: The most common hydrogen production process is natural gas reforming — sometimes called steam methane reforming because it uses high-temperature steam. When exposed to steam and heat, the carbon (C) atoms of methane (CH4) separate. After two successive reactions, they reform separately to produce hydrogen (H2) and carbon dioxide (CO2). This operation therefore requires natural gas.
But oil is more than fuel. It’s the spacecraft itself, the space suit, the electronics, the computers, the gadgetry – and more. As an example, Extravehicular Mobility Units (that’s space suit to you and me) are made of multiple layers of material with one thing in common. Nylon, Spandex and urethane-coated fabrics all come from chemicals produced in oil and natural gas refining. Likewise, astronauts’ space helmets and visors are made with plastic. As for the spacecraft itself, scientists say plastic shielding (derived from petroleum) is better protection from harmful radiation than the aluminum that’s typically used in spacecraft construction.
As we move deeper into space, technologies like 3D printing – a printer that extrudes streams of heated plastic, metal or other material, layer upon layer to create three-dimensional objects – will be critical to produce items on site, rather than transporting equipment that may or may not be needed. ABS and PLA plastic, both of which come from oil and gas, are two of the most commonly used 3D printing filaments. Filaments are to 3D printers what ink is to inkjet printers. New innovations are exploring a combination of carbon-fiber and plastics to create reinforced plastic with enhanced strength and usefulness in space environments.
When it comes to space exploration, the role of oil and natural gas is much larger than you may think.
Consumers benefit from open markets and energy is no exception. Exporting energy has allowed the U.S. to assist our allies in Europe while boosting the U.S. economy all while not driving up fuel costs right here at home. International experts estimate that more than 1.2 billion people around the world lack access to electricity and 2.7 billion live without clean cooking facilities. American natural gas and oil could significantly increase the number of people who have access to the cleaner, affordable energy they need to live healthier and more productive lives.
The world benefits from U.S. natural gas and oil.
Yes. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that total U.S. technically recoverable dry natural gas resource is 2,474 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). To put that in context, according to EIA, last year total U.S. consumption was about 27.5 Tcf and EIA’s estimate of combined cumulative U.S. domestic consumption and net LNG exports from 2016 to 2050 represent less than 50 percent of this resource.
In addition, EIA’s estimate of the available resource is conservative. Industry estimates of the U.S. natural gas resource base are typically higher. The ICF International estimate of 3,749 Tcf is 52 percent greater. Also, resource base estimates assume “current recovery technology.” Future advances in extraction technology will increase the resource base. The U.S. has enough natural gas to supply both domestic consumption and LNG exports well into the future.
Far from being yesterday’s energy, natural gas and oil power America every day, and will continue to do so tomorrow. Natural gas and oil supplies 65 percent of the energy Americans use, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and are projected to supply 66 percent of the country’s energy needs in 2040 and 68 percent in 2050. While final EIA data has not yet been released, in 2016, natural gas was on track to become the leading fuel for generating electricity in the U.S. for the first time ever. In fact, lower natural gas and oil prices due to increases in domestic production give U.S. industries a crucial competitive edge and are attracting more business investment back into the U.S.
Beyond energy, however, the products created through the refining process are fueling the technological innovation we see all around us. Natural gas and oil are key components in modern healthcare, from lifesaving medical equipment in hospitals to artificial limbs and implantable devices such as heart valves. Natural gas and oil products are the key raw materials in:
• Pharmaceutical products such as antiseptics, antibiotics and over-the-counter medications.
• Fertilizers and agricultural products.
• Plastic wrap and food storage products.
• Advanced polymers and plastics that go into bicycle helmets, lightweight clothing and fitness equipment.
• Everyday products, from lip balm and lipstick to house paints and household cleaning supplies.
Natural gas and oil are responsible for many of the products you use every day, not just the fuel that powers your car.
Legitimate tax treatments used by natural gas and oil companies – similar to those used by other business sectors – regularly come under attack by those pushing for higher taxes on energy companies.
And contrary to popular belief, and what some politicians might say, America’s oil companies aren’t owned just by a small group of insiders. Only 2.9 percent of industry shares are owned by corporate management. The rest is owned by tens of millions of Americans, many of them middle class. If you have a mutual fund, pension, or IRA, there is a pretty good chance higher taxes on oil companies are a tax on your retirement security.
American consumers’ growing energy appetite means greater demands on our nation’s energy infrastructure, including pipelines, railroads, highways, waterways and ports. A robust infrastructure system that is safe, efficient and properly maintained can help lower the costs of supplying natural gas and oil and its products for consumers, by reducing congestion, maximizing efficiency and preventing accidents.
As impressive as our nation’s energy infrastructure is, it is in need of expansion to keep pace with a growing population, demand for goods and services and energy needs. Investing in our nation’s infrastructure will not only allow the natural gas and oil industry to keep pace with energy demand, it will also help keep energy affordable for the consumer, while creating well-paying jobs, giving U.S. manufacturers a competitive advantage through lower energy and raw material costs and providing revenue to local, state and federal governments.