The International Energy Agency defines energy security as the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price.
Such reliable energy is crucial because we are wholly dependent on energy to power our lives. We use energy for powering and heating our homes and businesses; transporting our children to schools and our first responders to emergencies; manufacturing goods and transporting them to markets; constructing and maintaining our homes, bridges and buildings; and defending our country. We also use inputs from energy resources like natural gas and oil as a foundation for nearly every product we use on a daily basis, from clothing, to makeup, to cellphones and medicines.
We need all forms of energy, but we are still dependent on natural gas and oil and will be for decades to come.
Natural gas and oil supply more than 60% of our energy needs. And the U.S. Energy Information Administration expects that percentage to remain the same through at least 2040, even with a stronger energy demand and aggressive development in alternative sources. Although renewables remain a critical part of our energy mix, the EIA projects that they will only meet 12% of our energy needs.
Fortunately, thanks to remarkable advances in technology, we are now able to access stores of oil and natural gas right here in the North Americas that have been previously inaccessible to us. That means increasing the availability of energy to meet our needs, and making energy more affordable for Americans.
Developing our rich natural gas and resources is also generating jobs and economic prosperity.
The oil and natural gas industry currently supports 10.3 million U.S. jobs, and accounts for $1.3 trillion or 7.6 percent of the U.S. GDP (2015). And these are well-paying jobs that are often twice the average salary of other non-industry jobs in a state.
Every day, the industry fills state and federal government coffers with tens of millions of dollars in taxes, fees and royalties – approximately $30 billion annually. All while investing hundreds of billions more in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.
A 2017 study showed that over the next two decades, we could see $1.3 trillion of private investment go into U.S. natural gas and oil infrastructure, which could also generate 1 million new jobs and $1.89 trillion in added GDP.
And a strong oil and natural gas industry is a vital part of the retirement security for millions of Americans. If you own mutual funds, pension funds, IRAs, you’ve probably benefitted from owning some shares in "big oil."
Our energy abundance is also decreasing our reliance on energy imported from foreign sources in unstable regions or who don't share America's best interests. So in addition to powering America with reliable, affordable supplies of energy and generating economic prosperity, natural gas and oil are securing America’s national security.