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By Ed Longanecker, president of the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association

Candidates and political pundits often claim each election is the most important in our history. While this has become something of a cliché in politics, this cycle is unique in many ways and will define the future of our country, with a particular impact to the U.S. oil and natural gas industry.

Regulatory certainty enabled the U.S. to increase oil production from 9 million barrels per day under the Obama Administration to a pre-pandemic level of 13 million barrels per day.  Much of this is due to the enormous contributions made by Texas operators. In fact, if Texas was its own country, last year the state would have ranked fifth globally for oil production and third for natural gas output.

After decades of a rebalancing in geopolitics and related efforts to reduce our country’s reliance on Middle Eastern oil, which has finally become a reality, we are faced with an option of either becoming more dependent on foreign oil and supply chains or continuing to lead the world in energy production. Maintaining a regulatory environment conducive to economic growth and opportunity should not be a partisan issue, but rather a topic all policy leaders should embrace and collaborate on for the benefit of our country. The U.S. has proven that leading the world in oil and gas production, energy diversity and environmental stewardship are not mutually exclusive. 

At risk is one of our country’s key strengths for protecting national security, over 19 million direct and in-direct American jobs tied to the oil and natural gas industry, and hundreds of billions of dollars in economic contributions. As an example, in 2019, the domestic oil and natural gas industry purchased goods and services from over 900 different industries in our country in the amount of $538 billion. No other energy sector comes close to providing the same level of economic impact, not to mention the thousands of products Americans use every day that are made possible by oil and natural gas.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy released a report in October that reinforces the benefits provided from domestic development of oil and natural gas, and quantifiable results in advancing environmental stewardship through innovation and investment. As captured by government leaders in the report, oil and gas accounted for two-thirds of the total energy consumed in the U.S. last year and its continued development remains essential to meeting America’s energy needs, both now and in the future. It is integral to our country’s standard of living, and our economy is also fundamentally dependent on energy at every level. Put clearly, all Americans directly benefit from domestic production.

Regardless of political affiliation or ideology, recent polling indicates that Americans understand the essential role of oil and natural gas in our economy. Two-thirds of those polled in a recent Morning Consult survey said they are more likely to support candidates who favor access to U.S. produced oil and natural gas. Further, 93 percent of the respondents said it’s important for the U.S. to produce enough energy to eliminate dependence on other countries, with 73 percent expecting oil and natural gas to still meet a significant part of our energy needs in 2040. With a majority of Democrats, Independents and Republicans in agreement, voters clearly understand the need for American energy security and will make this a ballot box priority.

Texas citizens that value the positive contributions of oil and natural gas should join in efforts to inform and educate stakeholders, help promote sound, science-based energy policies at all levels of government, and support energy-minded policy leaders on Election Day.

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