The United States has abundant oil and natural gas resources—enough to power 65 million cars for 60 years and heat 60 million households for 160 years. And that’s just the beginning. Our domestic resources could be even larger than we know, since the industry has been unable to fully explore. New technologies and advanced drilling techniques, such as hydraulic fracturing and “flex rigs,” are opening access to resources previously thought unreachable. Increased production from onshore resources is essential to meet growing demand, especially since oil is expected to remain a dominant fuel in our nation’s energy mix for decades to come.
Onshore oil and natural gas resources are found in 33 states, with Texas and Wyoming leading the way in domestic natural gas production. Producing energy at home not only allows the United States to import less, but also has irrefutable economic benefits. Look no further than the Bakken Formation and Marcellus or Barnett Shales to see the tangible, positive economic impacts of job creation and increased government revenue. In fact, oil production in the Bakken has had an undeniable benefit to North Dakota’s economy, increasing personal income, employment, state GDP and tax collections.
There are critics who claim that oil and natural gas companies sit on “idle leases” and that they should “use it or lose it.” Such accusations are based on a lack of understanding of the mechanics and processes involved in exploring sites and bringing a well on line for production. More often than not, non-producing leases aren’t idle at all; they are under geological evaluation or in development, and are working towards becoming an important source of domestic supply.
Whether exploring or producing, the oil and natural gas industry is committed to responsible energy development. Environmental protection, compliance with federal, state and local regulations as well as forging good relationships with neighbors and landowners are priorities for the industry. Technological advances onshore, like seismic imaging, remote monitoring and land reclamation, allow the industry to conduct operations more efficiently and with greater sensitivity to the environment.
For more information about onshore energy development, see our Onshore Access Brochure.