The head of the U.S. oil industry's biggest trade group said Wednesday that if Washington were to adopt less restrictive policies the nation could become energy self-sufficient in liquid fuels within 15 years.
Jack Gerard, head of the American Petroleum Institute, called on Congress to do away with unnecessary energy policies that he said limit job creation, stunt the economy's recovery and inhibit U.S. energy and national security.
Gerard targeted President Barack Obama's delay in approving the Keystone XL Pipeline, long permitting processes for drilling permits, the Gulf of Mexico's drilling moratorium, areas of the country including the coast of Virginia where drilling is restricted, and what he called duplicate state and local laws that slow the nation's energy development.
Besides the benefits of job creation, economic recovery and enhanced security, a fresh energy policy that includes opening federal lands such as Alaska's North Slope -- including part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge -- and eastern portions of the Gulf of Mexico to drilling will also help satisfy the nation's rising demand for energy, he said.
By 2035, the United States is expected to require 45 percent more energy than it did last year. From roughly 550 quadrillion BTUs at the end of last year, the country's energy consumption is forecast to rise to close to 800 quadrillion BTUs in the next 20 years, according to an API report published Wednesday. API's report also projects U.S. demand for foreign oil by 2035 to increase by 16 percent.
In addition, opening more federal lands and streamlining approvals for onshore and offshore prospects will boost federal revenue.
The U.S. oil and natural gas industries currently generate $86 million a day for the Treasury Department, according to the API report, and if federal lands are opened up to more drilling, geographic assessments, graphing and exploration, that contribution will only increase, the report said.
If we are allowed to develop our resources in the United States that are currently off limits, coupled with the imports from Canada, our largest energy trading partner, coupled with the expanded development of renewable forms of energy, we can become energy self-sufficient for liquid fuels in 15 years. That is a reasonable expectation with right governmental polices that we can achieve and become far less reliant on foreign forms of energy in unstable parts of the world, Gerard said.
As part of Wednesday's presentation, Gerard also unveiled a huge public relations campaign slated to run in print, television and social media to highlight the industry's concerns and help place energy policies at the forefront of the presidential election.