For the first time since the 1940s, the United States can legitimately claim to be energy-independent.
Yes, you read that correctly – after decades of dependence on foreign (and often unfriendly) sources of oil and natural gas, our nation is now a net exporter of both energy sources for the first time in over 70 years, achieving a goal that has been widely mocked as a pipe dream, even as American companies have continued to set record levels of production.
Oklahomans can take pride in the fact that our state has played an oversized role in helping to hit this monumental milestone. Oklahoma is now the fourth-largest producer of oil and the third-largest producer of natural gas in the county.
In 2018, Oklahoma’s oil production reached the highest level since the 1960’s and a level well above the high during the oil boom of the 1980s. Natural gas production has posted record levels annually since 2014. In fact, natural gas production is now 30% above the prior high record set in 1989. This could not have been achieved without the unprecedented advancements in cutting-edge technology, namely horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracing, that has been pioneered by companies right here in Oklahoma.
In the past half-century, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has dictated oil markets, but this dynamic has changed, and our nation can now celebrate the very real benefits of no longer having to rely on others for the energy we need to survive. We should all be proud of this remarkable achievement, which would not have happened without the hard work and innovation of the men and women of Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry.
Amid the celebration, however, there is reason for caution. Industry in Oklahoma is still facing significant challenges. Our rig count has seen a dramatic drop from 140 rigs at the end of last year to just 50 currently, and this is having an effect on both employment and revenue to the state.
No state, no community, no company is immune from negative impacts when you have this significant of decline in drilling activity. Our leaders need to be extremely thoughtful in the months ahead if we are to continue Oklahoma’s vital contribution to American energy security.
Published by The Journal Record