Why Western Oil & Natural Gas?

Quick Facts

  • Western exploration & production (E&P) generates $84.3 billion annually in total economic impact and supports additional industries, such as agriculture, construction, real estate and manufacturing in all 50 states.
  • 90 percent of oil and natural gas wells in America are drilled by companies whose names you may never know. These companies, known as independents, are small businesses with an average of 15 employees.

Western Oil & Natural Gas?

Oil and natural gas delivers all the obvious benefits everyone knows–mobility to get to work, school, and vacation; home heating and cooling; electricity; and the power for every aspect of the economy. But oil and natural gas also provide the feedstock for medicines, fertilizers, plastics, synthetic fabrics, electronic components and many other common household items. Water treatment and delivery systems, and public sanitation and safety require oil and natural gas. Simply put, pretty much everything you put into or on your body just wouldn’t be possible without oil and natural gas. No other existing energy source does everything that oil and natural gas does reliably, 24/7 at an affordable price.

Those who want to Keep It in the Ground and stop all oil and natural gas production simply aren’t facing reality. If they got their way here in America, we’d just have to import that energy from overseas, sending over $350 billion abroad. Even more pernicious is their desire to deny the nearly one billion people worldwide who lack access to electricity the healthy, happy and safe lifestyles we enjoy here in the developed world.

That’s why Western Energy Alliance is proud to be part of the American energy success story, representing the exploration & production (E&P) or “upstream” sector of the industry that discovers, develops, and produces oil and natural gas in 13 western states. For more than a decade, the United States has undergone a “Shale Revolution” as a result of innovation, and western producers have played their part. We’ve helped make the United States the dominant force in the global energy market. In addition, western states are delivering tremendous benefits that improve the climate, support allied nations, and benefit our local communities. 

Climate and Environmental Benefits

The United States leads the world in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions, and the primary reason is natural gas. The incredible progress has been made without heavy-handed federal policies like a carbon tax, cap-and-trade, or the Paris climate accord. Rather, the oil and natural gas industry has helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions 14% below 2005 levels through a market-driven increase in natural gas electricity generation.

While the carbon reduction is impressive, the United States also benefits from utilizing the most technologically advanced and environmentally sound production techniques. Local regulators and companies work together to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and air emissions from the oil and natural gas sector even as production of natural gas has increased by 55% and oil by 46% over the last decade.

Energy Security

Through advanced drilling and completion technologies, the United States became the world leader in oil production in 2018. As the leading producer of oil and natural gas, the United States not only reduced its reliance on foreign sources of energy but has reduced our allies’ dependence on unfriendly sources as well. The United States is already a net natural gas exporter, and petroleum exports continue to set records.

It’s a similar story with the recent expansion of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. Europe could be freed from dependence on unreliable supplies of Russian natural gas with increased imports of American LNG. Likewise, LNG exports from western states could benefit allies in Asia seeking reliable electricity sources.

Benefits to Communities

The western E&P industry in just 13 states supports 169,331 jobs and generates $36.6 billion in annual economic impact nationwide. We support thriving rural communities across the West with significant tax revenues. For example, the industry provides $3 billion in revenues in North Dakota, $1.7 billion in Wyoming, and $1.062 billion in New Mexico, or nearly one-third of the state’s budget. That revenue provides critical funds for schools, roads, safety and other vital public services, while enabling additional economic activity in many other industries such as agriculture, recreation, and manufacturing.