I have written recently about ExxonMobil’s Outlook for Energy, which looks out to 2040 about future economic and energy trends that will shape our world.
But as we close out 2012, it’s worth looking back on a few developments that made this year so extraordinary, many of which I covered at ExxonMobil Perspectives.
What were some of the key storylines in 2012?
- In January President Obama’s White House issued a report noting that the large increase in U.S. natural gas production – an increase of more than 24 percent from 2006 to 2011 – was helping to fuel domestic job creation.
- Meanwhile increasing U.S. natural gas production is helping to reverse a long decline in U.S. industrial activity.
- Analysis showed that new supplies of oil and natural gas the industry is bringing online from unconventional formations and offshore are providing a $1 billion-per-day benefit to the U.S. economy.
- Members of the U.S. oil and gas industry were among the leading “Investment Heroes” lauded by the Progressive Policy Institute for investing in America’s future.
- North Dakota’s Bakken Shale saw a 100-fold increase in daily oil production over what was being produced six years before.
But it wasn’t just good economic news to come from the world of energy. The environment benefited as well:
- The Energy Information Administration reported that that U.S. energy related greenhouse gas emissions registered at their lowest levels in 20 years, in large part because utilities increasingly are substituting natural gas for coal in generating electricity.
And there are good signs from the world of public policy that our leaders appreciate the virtues of a thriving energy sector to support a strong economy.
- In their convention platforms, the two major political parties each called for an “all-of-the-above” energy policy – a phrase intended to include everything from oil and natural gas to nuclear, coal, hydropower and renewables.
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a major address on energy and diplomacy that discussed the moral imperative for combating energy poverty while providing strong support for free and open global trade.
- And finally, on Meet the Press this past weekend, President Obama said, “We’ve got a huge opportunity around energy. We are producing more energy and America can become an energy exporter.” Doing so, he noted, requires dealing with the environmental challenges of energy production – which has been a priority for our industry for many years and will continue to be.
So as we look ahead to 2013, there is room for optimism that energy development will continue to support economic growth, job creation and needed government revenues – and the services they enable – while ensuring the environment is protected and enhanced.