by Jon Bargas, senior vice president of government and public affairs for The Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma.
Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry is dedicated to reducing air emissions, while continuing to increase oil and natural gas production. In the United States, greenhouse gas emissions have fallen to their lowest levels since 1992, and between 2011 and 2017 methane emissions fell 24 percent, while oil production rose 65 percent and natural gas rose production 19 percent, according to the EPA and EIA.
In fact, the amount of recoverable natural gas in the United States, much of it right here in Oklahoma, has reached its highest-ever recorded level, according to a recent announcement by the Potential Gas Committee. The PGC’s biennial assessment of recoverable natural gas measured a 20 percent increase over the 2016 assessment, and the largest two-year increase in the report’s history. This record high is attributable to unprecedented technological advances in our industry that have helped efficiently extract and produce more resources in a cleaner manner.
Meanwhile, some presidential candidates are floating the idea of rolling back the environmental progress we have made by proposing a ban on hydraulic fracturing. Such misguided action would be detrimental not only to Oklahoma’s economy, but also to that of the U.S. Currently, there is no energy source that could replace the loss of cheap, abundant oil and natural gas. Therefore, energy prices would skyrocket, hurting our poorest and most vulnerable citizens the most.
Fatih Birol of the Paris-based International Energy Agency recently explained a few of the negatives of a fracking ban on the U.S. and Europe, saying in part:
“This would have major implications on the market for the U.S. economy, for jobs growth and everything, and not good news for energy security, because for example U.S. natural gas provides a lot of security to the markets. Stopping oil and gas production is something that I wouldn’t advise to the U.S. government or another government.”
Outlawing the process through which practically every oil and gas well in the country is completed would endanger energy security and put environmental goals out of reach. Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry is critical to a cleaner energy future, which must have as its foundation clean-burning natural gas.