Right Policies Needed to Ensure Benefits of Oil, Natural Gas

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The development of oil and natural gas could provide substantial economic contributions and energy security to the United States, but governmental regulators need to set forth the proper policies to accomplish those benefits, according to an industry advocate.

“U.S. oil and natural gas development is expanding and contributing more to our economy and energy security,” said Rayola Dougher, a senior economic adviser at the American Petroleum Institute (API). “Our oil and gas companies are producing more and more oil and natural gas, much of it from promising shale reserves in North Dakota, Texas, Pennsylvania and other places. More jobs are being created. Imports are down. And more revenue is being sent to government.”

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Continuing this trend is vital to U.S. economic recovery and long-term prosperity, Dougher added.

“Recent energy projections and economic analysis suggest it can continue,” Dougher said. “They also suggest the United States can become far more energy self-sufficient. However, the right government policies will be important to facilitating this.”

Technology is a key factor in ensuring the safe development of U.S. oil and gas reserves, Dougher said, adding that overregulation of hydraulic fracturing — a decades-old technology — could be counterproductive.

“The emergence of a new era of oil and gas development has been a game-changer,” Dougher said, “but there is potentially much more to come because the United States has the energy reserves and the technology to step development up to a new level.”

The technological capabilities of the United States have facilitated the “energy revolution” in the country, and that technology can continue to help increase oil and gas production from its ample reserves.

“Out of all the innovative technologies, hydraulic fracturing may be the most significant,” Dougher said. “Hydraulic fracturing is a safe, well regulated, 65-year-old technology. Its combination with directional drilling has propelled the shale energy revolution, and it eventually could be needed for most of our nation’s oil and gas development. As a result, costly or duplicative regulation of hydraulic fracturing could be extremely counterproductive.”

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