As the American Petroleum Institute marks its first century, the energy industry continues to do what we have always done — develop breakthrough technologies that frame the future of our country’s energy landscape. We have long been an industry focused on finding solutions, working with policymakers and stakeholders to empower innovation and provide Americans with affordable and reliable energy.
So it is only logical that API is a proud sponsor of National Clean Energy Week because, as our nation continues to seek clean energy solutions, our industry is once again playing a leading role. We are researching cutting-edge technologies and have invested nearly $356 billion since 1990 to enhance the environmental performance of our products, facilities and operations. We are delivering the breakthroughs that are driving progress in clean energy.
At the same time, the rapid growth of natural gas and renewables is reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector, which has historically been the nation’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide. The United States has reduced carbon emissions to their lowest levels in a generation, emitting 28 percent less carbon dioxide than it did almost 15 years ago, and more than any other nation, according to 2017 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration — progress that demonstrates a realistic path to a cleaner energy future. The EIA estimates more than half of that reduction can be directly attributed to coal-to-natural gas switching, showing definitively that the emergence of natural gas has enabled a fundamental shift in the way we power our country.
By the end of this year, the United States is also projected to become the third-largest liquefied natural gas exporter in the world. Supported by record-breaking domestic natural gas production, LNG exports are advancing clean energy goals around the world, while also supporting American jobs and the economy.
The steady and regular deployment of natural gas resources has become the unsung hero of the global clean energy economy — and our organization is supporting this transition, which we’re discussing today at an event we’re co-sponsoring with LNG Allies and the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas, “The Role of U.S. LNG in Addressing Global Challenges.” Speakers including Dr. Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, will discuss how U.S. LNG helps to improve global conditions and lift people out of poverty, meet global environmental goals and create greater global security.
The energy industry is also spearheading carbon capture technology. By taking carbon emissions and pumping them back into wells to store and enhance oil recovery, operators are illustrating the new reality of our energy economy — reducing carbon emissions and producing more energy are no longer mutually exclusive.
By taking action on initiatives such as The Environmental Partnership, our industry is reducing emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds. This industry-led, voluntary program streamlines leak detection and infrastructure repairs and serves as a model for how industry innovation can lead the way in developing clean energy solutions.
In transportation, the refining industry has removed 90 percent of sulfur from gasoline and implemented an ultra-low sulfur diesel standard across the country. When used in modern vehicles, this has reduced emissions by more than 99 percent since the 1970s, and our energy leadership does not end at our borders. In preparation for the International Maritime Organization’s 2020 sulfur standards rule, we are providing the marine sector with cleaner fuels, which will reduce shipping emissions by nearly 80 percent.
We recognize that the energy future is not a zero-sum game. By partnering with other industries, we can bolster private investment in the new technologies that advance our collective economic and environmental goals.
As our industry continues to meet the dual challenge of economic growth and environmental progress, we will continue to champion innovations, best practices and technologies that contribute to America’s clean energy goals. The natural gas and oil industry is passionate about promoting cleaner energy and a better environment and is proud to be a part of a modern energy mix now and for years to come.
Frank Macchiarola currently serves as the American Petroleum Institute’s vice president of downstream and industry operations.
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