Last week’s presidential executive order embracing increased access to America’s offshore natural gas and oil reserves jumpstarts an important conversation about the needed, positive steps to make the United States’ energy future more secure. With 94 percent of federal offshore acreage currently off limits to development, there are more questions about that future than if safe offshore access was the rule instead of the exception to the rule. The president’s order begins the process of changing the offshore equation. API Upstream Group Director Erik Milito talked about the offshore executive order and the need to build on it during a conference call with reporters.
Recent developments represent a significant shift of Washington’s approach to the new reality brought by America’s energy renaissance. All signal a new embrace of safe and responsible domestic oil and natural gas development. All inherently acknowledge that growing U.S. oil and gas production can continue benefiting American consumers, businesses and manufacturers with affordable, reliable energy that supports economic growth and strengthens U.S. security – while playing the major role in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation fall to their lowest levels in nearly 30 years.
Every day Americans head off to work or play, use a cellphone or countless other consumer products made from petroleum, they should thank a refiner. U.S. refineries are the essential link between America’s ongoing renaissance in energy production and the actual benefits Americans enjoy from that production.
Safety is a core value of the oil and natural gas industry – safety for workers, communities near active operations and the environment, from protecting plants and animals to reducing emissions for cleaner air. Safety has continued to grow since the advent of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, bringing energy development to more and more areas across the country.
There’s great opportunity to responsibly develop Alaska’s great oil and natural gas resources. This should be guided by a forward-thinking regulatory framework that prioritizes regularly scheduled lease sales as necessary to enhance U.S. energy security and maintain America’s position as a global energy superpower.
While a number of policies and actions would support America’s recent energy progress, none is more important than opening new access to oil and natural gas reserves in federally controlled areas, offshore and onshore – the latter where production has declined in recent years.