The U.S. oil and natural gas industry supports the retirements of tens of millions of Americans who have invested in industry stock. In fact, if you have a mutual fund or IRA retirement account—and 95 million U.S. households do—there’s a good chance it invests in oil and natural gas.
Contrary to popular belief, America’s oil and natural gas companies aren’t owned by a small group of insiders. Only 2.8 percent of industry shares are owned by corporate management. The rest is owned by regular Americans, many of them middle class, such as teachers, police officers and firefighters.
That means there is a good chance that you are actually an owner of a U.S. energy company, which is good news for you—the assets invested in oil and natural gas consistently outperform the rest of an invested portfolio, fueling Americans’ retirement security.
A 2011 Sonecon study found that state pension fund investments in oil and natural gas companies are providing strong returns for teachers, firefighters, police officers and other public pension retirees. On average, oil and natural gas stocks comprise 4.6 percent of state pension fund assets, yet provide 15.7 percent of the returns—a ratio of 3.4 to 1.
Furthermore, analysis of API's compilation of public data, independent research and corporate annual reports found that the industry paid out approximately $35 billion in dividends distributed to American shareholders in 2010 alone.