NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Innovation in Oil and Natural Gas Production Assures Future Supplies

April 9, 2013

Technological advance is leading America to a brighter future in energy production. Though advocates of solar, wind and other renewable sources claim that environmentally-friendly energies are leading the way into the future, innovation in the oil and gas sector is creating vast opportunities for productions and exports. The oil and gas innovations will lead to cheap, abundant and reliable energy supplies in the future, says Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

  • U.S. oil production rose by 790,000 barrels per day in 2012 -- the largest annual increase in U.S. oil production since it began in 1959.
  • Between 1949 and 2010, improved technology reduced the number of dry holes drilled from 34 percent to 11 percent.
  • Between 2008 and 2009, the International Energy Agency more than doubled its estimate of global gas recourse to 30,000 trillion cubic feet, which is enough gas to last more than 300 years at the current rate of consumption.

Despite decades of doomsday predictions estimating that the world would soon run out of oil and gas, more advanced seismic analysis, harder and more durable drill bits, better drill rigs and more powerful pumps have improved our ability to find and extract oil and gas. The result is an increased ability to extract oil and gas that at one time was not extractable.

  • Politicians and environmentalists continue to promote green energy alternatives but so far clean energy has turned out to be more expensive, less reliable and not as clean as purported.
  • Oil provides about 33 percent of the globes energy and is more flexible, dense in energy and easier to handle than any other substance.
  • Developing U.S. oil and gas resources would help reduce the $430 billion that America spent importing oil in 2012.

The ability of technology to keep oil and gas as a primary resource is best demonstrated by the offshore oil well, which can now drill 20,000 feet or more into the seabed in 7,000 feet of water. The modern marine oil well is tapping vast underwater reserves with the help of submarines, robots and other expensive technologies.

While green energy has its upsides and proponents, oil and gas are unlikely to disappear soon as advances in technology and techniques, including slant drilling and hydro fracturing, continue to improve.

Source: Robert Bryce, "Innovation in Oil and Natural Gas Production Assures Future Supplies," Manhattan Institute, April 2013.


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