The natural gas and oil industry is the reliable foundation for America’s economic recovery. We’re ready to help the country build – today, tomorrow and in the future – through innovation and new technologies, to supply affordable, dependable energy while continuously improving environmental performance. API’s all-digital, 2021 State of American Energy report, begins now.


Americans appreciate the inextricable links between energy from natural gas and oil and prosperity and security. In the sections that follow, see how our industry is focused on keeping America growing and secure by providing a firm, reliable and resilient energy foundation – safely and responsibly developed to protect the environment as well as the communities in which we operate – Today, Tomorrow and in the Future.


America is the globe’s energy leader, with high-quality natural gas and oil reserves and a strong, technologically advanced industry that has been integral to every chapter of modern U.S. history. Our industry has the size and resources to help lead a national economic recovery. Energy empowers American progress; it takes energy to grow and adapt, to innovate and move forward – and to build a better future. Today, we’re powering the lives of Americans from coast to coast – keeping the lights on, heating homes, getting people to work, helping family budgets with lower energy costs, reinvigorating U.S. manufacturing and providing the building blocks for the technologies of tomorrow. We’re supporting jobs, strengthening small businesses and helping U.S. companies across a variety of sectors compete in the global marketplace. We’re meeting the challenges of today for a stronger economy and a brighter, cleaner future.

Powering Economic Recovery and Spurring Job Growth

American global energy leadership means increased self-sufficiency and the ability to help Americans find opportunities for better lives – through high-paying industry jobs that are valued by union and non-union tradespeople alike, as well as those industry supports across the economy. Industry supports more than 10 million jobs and contributes billions to U.S. GDP. According to government and private data, we’re driving nearly $290 billion of capital investments currently being maintained or under construction – from pipelines, refinery and petrochemical expansions to processing, storage and export facilities. These kinds of high value-added projects can transform communities and states, contributing an array of benefits throughout the economy not seen in the U.S. in a generation.

Committing to the Highest Performance through
New ‘Energy Excellence’ Initiative

API members affirm their commitment to continuously improving safety, environmental, security and sustainability performance through a new Energy Excellence program. It includes 13 core elements – from corporate leadership and community engagement to emergency preparedness and risk management – that every API member is expected to pursue and reach. The program is a roadmap for applying API/industry standards (see developing professional standards section below), implementing workforce training, participating in performance initiatives and sharing best practices. Members will show progress through annual, transparent reporting, assuring accountability and sustained effort. The goal is API-wide conformance by 2025.

Leading the World in Natural Gas and Oil Production

Natural gas and oil are the most important energy sources for the U.S. and other modern economies – affordable and reliable now and potentially for decades to come. The U.S. is the global leader in natural gas and oil production, built through innovative technologies, including advanced hydraulic fracturing, 4D imaging and horizontal drilling, that harnessed the country’s vast shale reserves – resources that once were economically unavailable.

U.S. Natural Gas and Oil Production

Quadrillion British thermal units

Developing Feedstocks at Refineries That Go Into Products Americans Use Every Day

Refineries provide petrochemical feedstocks that are used principally for the manufacturing of chemicals, synthetic rubber and a variety of plastics found in a variety of everyday products. These include soaps and detergents, solvents, medicine, fertilizers, pesticides, synthetic fibers, paints, epoxy resins, flooring and insulating materials – all things that make daily life better.

Did you know that petroleum is a key ingredient in:

Creating Safe Connections Between Energy and Consumers Through Infrastructure

Every day, Americans can count on the delivery of crude oil, natural gas and products through a vast infrastructure network that has grown 12% over the past five years. Transmission and distribution lines total more than 2.6 million miles. Total crude oil and petroleum product barrels delivered by pipelines totaled more than 21 billion barrels in 2017. These are fuels and other finished products that power Americans’ personal mobility and the country’s commerce. They are the components used to manufacture countless consumer items. U.S. pipelines safely deliver products to Americans virtually all of the time, and industry is committed to its goal of operating with zero incidents through a robust safety program. Beyond pipelines, properly investing in both coastal and inland waterway infrastructure ensures that the natural gas and oil industry – in addition to all of the other industries that rely on the U.S. waterway system – can continue to safely transport energy into, out of and around the U.S.

Lowering Household Energy Costs and Supporting Communities

Abundant domestic energy has helped lower energy costs for American households, providing $203 billion in annual savings – about $2,500 a year for a family of four, according to a 2019 White House report. And electricity generated using low-cost natural gas has contributed to even more savings through lower heating bills. Further, gasoline prices in 2020 were about 39% lower than they were in 2011. Meanwhile, the natural gas and oil industry sends billions of dollars to federal, state and local treasuries through taxes, royalty payments and fees. Severance taxes, the vast majority from natural gas and oil activity, contributed more than $14 billion to state treasuries in 2019. Industry pays its fair share in taxes and then some, with an effective tax rate of 34% between 2013 and 2017, compared to 26.7% for the S&P industrials.

Continuously Improving

Our Environmental Performance

Producing More Energy While Lowering Methane Emissions

Methane emissions rates – emissions relative to production – were down nearly 70% in five of the largest producing regions in the U.S. between 2011 and 2019, according to data from EPA and EIA.

Promoting Technologies and Protocols to Reduce Flaring

Participants in The Environmental Partnership, industry’s coalition focused on continuously improving environmental performance, have committed to sharing technologies and best practices to reduce flaring.

Making Products that Perform Better and Cleaner

U.S. refiners are producing cleaner gasoline and diesel fuels which, coupled with advanced vehicle technologies, means today’s new cars, SUVs and pickup trucks are about 99% cleaner for most tailpipe pollutants than vehicles in 1970.

Falling Methane Rates in Natural Gas Production From Key Basins

Metric Tons CO₂ equivalent per million cubic feet produced

Being Good Neighbors

Supporting Conservation and Preservation in All 50 States

Understanding Public Interests, Strengthening Community Relationships

As the industry expands or maintains natural gas and oil infrastructure, pipeline operators must establish local relationships, address performance issues and engage community stakeholders. Critically important is communicating the value of infrastructure to businesses, families and individual consumers. Energy infrastructure creates opportunities for local economic growth and other benefits for communities. The industry’s commitment to being a good neighbor throughout a pipeline project requires ongoing dialogue with local communities and other key stakeholders. API’s Community Engagement Guidelines for Pipeline Projects provide actionable strategies for identifying interests, issues and concerns.

Developing Professional Standards to Protect Workers and Communities

Safety – for industry workers, the facilities where they work and the surrounding community and environment – has been advanced for nearly 100 years through API industry standards. The natural gas and oil industry does not wait for legislation or regulation to advance safety. With more than 700 standards covering all segments of the industry – developed through a rigorous process accredited by the country’s foremost certifying organization, energy development has never been safer.

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Natural gas and oil will continue to play a foundational role in the world’s energy mix for decades to come, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the International Energy Agency. Consider: Even if the United States participated in meeting the aggressive sustainability goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, natural gas and oil would be needed to supply close to half of the world’s energy in 2040. Affordable, reliable natural gas will continue to partner with renewables, including wind and solar, so that consumers are served 24/7, rain or shine. Oil will continue to be integral to fuel the world’s transportation sector – supplying 62% or more of energy demand in 2040 – and to others, including manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, consumer products and more. We’ll do this and reduce emissions while we’re doing it through continued innovation and new technologies. These include the broad deployment of carbon capture, utilization and storage, fuel cells, more efficient gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles and others. The natural gas and oil industry is at the forefront of next-generation energy research and development that will shape America’s tomorrow and the future. Natural gas and oil are here for the long haul.