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Unconventional Oil And Gas Securing America's Future: Report

By Ideas Lab Staff October 31, 2012

In its latest monthly report, IHS examines unconventional oil and natural gas and the possible benefits it could bring the American economy.

Unconventional oil and natural gas _ in this case, gained through horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing _ is expected to grow over the next 25 years, bringing, IHS argues, ‘millions of jobs and billions in government receipts’.

“It will make significant contributions to the US economy through direct employment, its many and diverse connections with supplier industries, the amount of spending this direct and indirect activity supports throughout the economy, and the revenues that flow to federal and state and local governments,” IHS says in its report.

Already, more than 1.7 million jobs have been created by this unconventional revolution and IHS estimates nearly the same number will join those ranks by the end of the decade.

The importance of unconventional oil and natural gas cannot be overestimated, the study finds, since it has propelled the U.S. into prime position as a global leader in crude oil production capacity.

The report says the U.S. is also the largest natural gas producer, also cementing its national security. “Instead of debates over U.S. imports, there is a discussion today about exporting some of the domestic surplus, as well as the potential for using natural gas in some classes of vehicles,” it says.

The study was sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, along with the American Petroleum Institute, American Chemistry Council, and the Natural Gas Supply Association.

“We’ve known for some time that shale energy is truly a game-changer for America, and now we can prove it,” said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the Energy Institute, in a news release. “This new, comprehensive study demonstrates that shale energy is already contributing over $200 billion to our economy, with much more to come, if policymakers at all levels of government don’t stand in the way.”

Harbert adds that the study shows net oil imports by 2020 will drop by 60 percent, and claims the U.S. will spend $200 billion less on imported oil.

Responding to West Virginia’s State Journal about the report was Lewis County Development Authority Director Doug Parsons.

“West Virginia has long been a leader in energy production, and the future is bright thanks to shale energy,” Parsons told the publication. “We’re already beginning to see the impact of shale energy in our community. In just five short years, Lewis County has gone from having one of the highest unemployment rates in the state to one of the lowest and it’s all due to the shale industry.”

To read more of the IHS report, click here.