Oil and natural gas companies are America’s top investors in zero- and low-greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) technologies, according to a new study released by American Petroleum Institute (API).
“America’s oil and natural gas companies have invested more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than the federal government and almost as much as all other industries combined,” said Kyle Isakower, vice president for policy and economic analysis for the trade association. “The industry is aggressively pursuing new technologies and game-changing energy research that will fuel innovation for years to come. These investments not only lower carbon emissions, they create jobs and advance America’s technological competitiveness.”
The study by T2 and Associates examined investments in GHG mitigation technologies from 2000 through 2012. During that period, the U.S. oil and natural gas industry directly invested approximately $81 billion in GHG mitigation technologies. Other U.S. industries invested an estimated $91.2 billion, and the federal government invested an estimated $79.7 billion. Oil and natural gas industry expenditures on GHG mitigation more than double – to $165.4 billion – when the total includes shale investments, which have unlocked an abundance of affordable natural gas, allowing America to supplant more carbon-intensive fuels.
“U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are at the lowest level in nearly twenty years, driven down significantly by advancements in the oil and natural gas industry,” Isakower said. “With these investments, the oil and natural gas industry is supplying the energy our economy needs, while helping to promote a future where alternatives play a larger and larger role. This is a true all-of-the-above approach, and it will continue to yield environmental benefits, but only if misguided tax policies don’t stand in the way of energy innovation.”
During the study period, the oil and natural gas industry was responsible for approximately $11.4 billion, or one out of every six dollars, invested in non-hydrocarbon resources, including wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass technologies. The industry also has adopted methods to reuse excess heat from refineries and permanently sequester carbon dioxide. From 2011 to 2012, these and other investments allowed the U.S. oil and natural gas industry to directly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by the equivalent of 53.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide – equal to taking 10.8 million cars off of the road.