WASHINGTON – The United States is in the midst of a boom in oil and natural gas production that could lead to 1.3 million new jobs and an energy-independent future, government officials and energy experts told a House energy committee hearing Tuesday.
Adam Sieminski, head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, told the House Energy and Commerce Committee that the nation’s natural gas production has steadily increased since 2005. In addition, he said, America could reach production as high as 8 million barrels of crude oil a day in 2014, compared with 6.4 million barrels in 2012.
Committee Chairman Rep. Edward Whitfield, R-Ky., said energy policy is an important economic factor.
“In oil, in natural gas and in coal, we have abundant resources that will meet the needs of this country … for years and years to come,” he said.
Whitfield said the natural resource policies the United States adopts going forward will determine America’s success in environmental issues compared with competing countries.
IHS Vice Chairman Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer-prize winning author of “The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World,” said the United States is in the middle of an oil and gas revolution due to spikes in production and revenue.
He said the increase is supporting 1.7 million jobs now, a number that is projected to rise to 3 million in 2020, and called the new energy landscape a “manufacturing renaissance.”
Shale gas has risen from 2 percent of our gas supply in 2000 to 37 percent in 2012, and oil production has increased by almost 39 percent since 2008, he said.
“It is certainly improving the competitive position of the United States in the world,” Yegin said.
In her testimony, Jennifer Morgan from the World Resources Institute stressed the importance of considering climate change while moving forward with natural resource policy.
“America is rich in renewable resources, and there is large opportunity to increase efficiency,” she said. “The United States has the opportunity to be both energy and climate secure in the future.”
She said Congress should build on America’s clean energy sector, promote increased energy efficiency and provide funding and incentives for low-carbon emissions and technologies.
“For decades Americans were asking the question, where will we get the energy we need?” said Mary Hutzler from the Institute for Energy Research. “We no longer question whether we have the resources.”