The notion of United States Energy Independence is nothing new. The term has been a buzz word since it entered the American lexicon during the days of the Nixon Administration. However, until recent years, it has seemed more like a pipe dream than an attainable goal, and understandably so.
When it comes to conventional reservoirs, no place on earth can stack up against the Middle East. The general population knows very little about the intricacies of Oil & Gas production, but it has long been considered common knowledge that the US had no other option than to give OPEC trillions of dollars to provide our robust energy needs. Unsurprisingly, this has lead to myriad issues throughout the years.
In 1979, the toppling of Iran’s Mohammad Reza Pahlavi turned the country against the US and removed it from our very short list of Middle East energy providers. Saudi Arabia has remained our sole friendly energy source ever since. In the following decades, the problems and costs have mounted exponentially, most notably in the untold amounts of money needed to protect our interest in the region.
Thankfully, new technologies in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, along with the resiliency of the American energy sector has unlocked massive resource stores that were inaccessible just 10 short years ago. This has lead to a boom in unconventional Oil & Gas production, and spiked overall production in the US. As a result, some are beginning to discuss the realistic possibility of Energy Independence for the United States in the next 20 years, and most see the impact on the global energy picture.
Drillinginfo is proud to help our members accelerate their workflows and decision processes that result in faster, smarter, safer exploration and production of our country’s resources. But, just what size of impact have our members specifically made on the US production picture?
We evaluated the gross US production of the active producers within our 2900 member companies. Those companies contribute to over 86% of the total current US production, an increase of 6% from 2005 when US production first began to significantly rise. That same group of companies produces 90% of US natural gas production alone.
And it’s not “Big Oil” that is making the most impact as we work towards a brighter energy future. It’s the thousands of small and mid-sized independents actively applying new technology and continuously trying new experiments that are bringing about this change. The companies we’ve identified as small and mid-size (<5000 total employees) went from 39% of the total US production to 50% between 2005 and 2012. If we move a few of the large independents into the mid-size group, that number would be closer to 60%.
Whether the United States truly has a chance to become Energy Independent certainly depends on more than just our ability to produce hydrocarbons. How we apply our ingenuity in creating the demand for using natural gas to meet US energy needs is critical. Global politics and economic changes will play a significant role in both the demand and supply side. But as the past ten years have shown, US companies will continue to innovate and Drillinginfo’s members will continue to lead the pack!
Now it’s your turn. What do you think needs to happen for America to achieve Energy Independence? Please, leave a comment below.
Latest posts by Ramona Hovey (see all)
- How Small Independents are Leading the Charge for American Energy Independence – December 19, 2012