Posted May 17, 2017
Energy infrastructure is largely invisible to most of us but is essential to all of us. In the past decade or so more of that energy is produced in North America. To deliver that energy, a best-in-class system of pipelines, pumps and storage units ensure that we always have a reliable, affordable and safe supply of natural gas, oil and refined products – fuels and petrochemicals that are a part of virtually every aspect of modern living.
The natural gas that heats our homes, and increasingly, generates electricity, is delivered through a complex, sophisticated, interconnected and largely invisible system of more than 300,000 miles of interstate and intrastate transmission pipelines, and 2.1 million miles of distribution pipelines to residences and businesses. To get a sense of scope, America's interstate, intrastate transmission pipelines, and distribution pipelines, if laid end-to-end, would stretch from the earth to the moon … 10 times.
Maintaining and expanding the United States' vast energy infrastructure to keep pace with the ongoing 21st-century energy renaissance and ever-increasing demand will require large capital investments, today, tomorrow and far into the future, which will be made primarily by the private sector. In the last half decade industry has invested billions in the nation’s energy infrastructure. A recent study by ICF:
“U.S. oil production has risen from roughly from 5 to 9 million barrels per day while natural gas production has risen from about 55 to 72 billion cubic feet per day over the past decade. As a result, growth in the business that involves processing, refining, and transport of oil and gas has also been strong with $390 billion of spending for new infrastructure during the past five years.”
The study also found that continued expansion of energy infrastructure isn't likely to abate anytime soon and could generate between $1.06 trillion and $1.34 trillion in private investment from 2017 through 2035 or approximately $56 billion to $71 billion per year.
And the study reports, perhaps not surprisingly, that that level of capital investment could create and support hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs – on average, between 828,000 to 1,047,000 jobs annually, not only in energy producing states but also in all states as a result of indirect and induced job creation.
Beyond the significant lift to our economy, investing in our infrastructure will ensure that consumers in every part of the U.S. have access to reliable and affordable domestically produced energy, which has saved the average household approximately $1,337 due to lower utility bills, products and other energy-related costs.
From consumer savings to job creation to economic growth, energy is essential to modern living, which makes investing in the infrastructure that brings it to us a wise choice and allocation of private capital. Ultimately, spending on the infrastructure that delivers the energy we need, every day, all day – so that it remains the best in the world – is vital to ensuring that future generations can build on our progress and eventually surpass our dreams for the future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Clinton Manning became senior writer at API after spending the last 14 years writing for members of Congress, a cabinet member and a national trade association. In addition to a Bachelor of Arts in political science, he earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Pennsylvania. Clinton and his family live in Kensington, Md.