The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energy Infrastructure – For Growth, Security

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted May 16, 2017

Energy is opportunity. Energy infrastructure allows opportunity to become reality by bringing the benefits of natural gas, oil and refined products to consumers – individuals, businesses and industrial users.

Last week API released a new study detailing the extent of the many positives resulting from developing needed U.S. natural gas and oil infrastructure, out to the year 2035. These are measured in more than a trillion dollars in investments and economic growth, potentially generating more than 1 million jobs. The video below captures the study's highlights:

This supports a vision of growth and prosperity that can touch every state in the union, not just those that are big energy producers. When we see new infrastructure coming online – such as the Dakota Access Pipeline, delivering Bakken crude to refineries in Illinois – it represents jobs in the oil fields, in the construction and refining sectors and all along the natural gas and oil industry’s long supply chain.

ICF’s study found that there are plenty of gas and oil reserves to sustain a long period of infrastructure development, producing these benefits:

  • Between $1.06 trillion and $1.34 trillion in private investments in pipelines, refining and oil products transport, surface and lease equipment, gathering and processing facilities, storage and export terminals through 2035.
  • $1.5 trillion to $1.89 trillion in contributions to U.S. GDP through 2035, or between $79 billion and $100 billion annually.
  • On average, support for 828,000 to 1.047 million American jobs annually. Again, because of indirect and induced employment associated with infrastructure investments, jobs will be supported across the entire country, ICF says.


Kyle Isakower, API vice president of regulatory and economic policy, said the study shows that energy infrastructure – again, privately financed – is an engine of growth and progress for our country:

“Keeping pace with new production trends requires updating the energy infrastructure network, including pipelines, storage, processing, rail and maritime resources. Expanding our pipeline system will generate well-paying jobs and ensure we move energy efficiently, maximizing our economic and environmental advantages.”

Certainly, macro-economic numbers like those in the ICF study depict broad, national benefits from infrastructure development. Not to be overlooked are regional and local impacts, with the work of local companies in safe infrastructure development. Thomas and Julia Williamson, co-owners of Chippewa Resources, an oilfield services company in North Dakota, write in the Grand Forks Herald:

Our company has been a part of the inspection of multiple pipelines and facilities in the Bakken that feed into DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline). We've also been a part of representing the landowners along the route in states such as Iowa. We've seen the development of this project from many angles. All the companies and laborers that have spent time on this project are trying to do the right thing, and have done so. The men and women who make up that work force also are the ones living here. We take care of our property and take pride in the work we do.

The United States is the world’s leading producer of natural gas and oil and the world’s leading refiner. The ongoing American energy renaissance has changed our country’s energy outlook from one of scarcity and limited opportunity to one of abundance, security and broad possibilities – for ourselves and our allies abroad.

The ability to fully harness America’s energy potential depends in large part on the degree to which Americans embrace the infrastructure to distribute that energy to where it’s needed. ICF’s study shows broad benefits from such an embrace – in sharp contrast to an anti-fossil fuel agenda that would shelve our domestic energy resources, in part, by blocking infrastructure development.

Another study calculated that by 2040 such an agenda could lose 5.9 million jobs, reduce cumulative GDP by $11.8 trillion and increase consumer costs more than $4,500 per household – direct costs but the effects of higher energy costs across the entire economy. Obviously, that could be a devastating course for U.S. households and our entire nation.

We’re encouraged that new leadership in Washington is signaling its support for domestic energy production and the infrastructure that would maximize America’s energy potential. Together, the two will generate job and economic growth and increase our country’s energy security.


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.