An extraordinary year for energy

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?

    • Over the course of 2012 it became clear the increase in domestic oil and natural gas production from unconventional sources like shale is significantly helping the U.S. economy – both in the heartland as well as the nation’s cities.
    • Even those regions without oil and natural gas resources are seeing their economies benefit from large increase in domestic production from unconventional formations, according to an end-of-year report from the consulting group IHS that examined state-by-state economic numbers.
    • 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.

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.

    • 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.