The Obama administration on Thursday acknowledged the U.S. energy sector for its "appreciable contribution" to jobs growth and recovery from the Great Recession, noting that the oil and natural gas sector alone had contributed more than 0.2% to real gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2012 and in 2013, with sector employment increasing jobs by 133,000 between 2010 and 2013.
The "historic transformation" in energy trends is part of a report about President Obama's all-of-the-above energy strategy that claims to have supported economic growth and job creation, enhanced energy security and laid the foundation toward a low-carbon future. Natural gas consumption has risen 18% since 2005, the administration noted. Total energy from wind solar and geothermal sources has more than doubled since 2009.
"Many of these changes are largely unforeseen," said the authors. "Only eight years ago, baseline projections showed steadily increasing petroleum consumption well into the future. But the Energy Information Administration (EIA) now projects petroleum consumption to decline starting after 2019. In fact, since its peak in 2007, U.S. gasoline consumption has fallen by 5.5%, or half a million barrels per day."
The energy sector "has provided key support" to the country's recovery since the Great Recession. Excluding the "crisis-effected year of 2009," the U.S. trade deficit as a percent of GDP "is the lowest in more than a decade…
“More than a fifth of the narrowing of the trade deficit as a percent of GDP since its 2006 peak can be directly attributed to a shrinking trade deficit in petroleum products, as rising domestic production and declining domestic consumption have combined to cut oil imports."
Energy security also has been enhanced through domestic production "by reducing spending on net petroleum imports and by reducing oil dependence…
“Although international oil supply shocks and oil price volatility will always present risks, empirical evidence presented in this report suggests that further reductions in net petroleum imports will reduce those risks."
The United States has emerged as the global leader of petroleum and natural gas, the administration said.
"In 2013, combined production of petroleum, natural gas, and other liquid fuels in the United States exceeded that of Saudi Arabia and Russia. The United States leads in natural gas and is predicted by the International Energy Agency to lead in oil as well in a few years."
Also of note is the reduction in total carbon pollution, which since 2005 is more than any other nation, the report said.
"However, much work remains. Recent projections suggest that emissions could begin to increase again, and more work remains to address this critical imperative. While the President's strategy embraces natural gas as a transition fuel and includes steps to ensure natural gas development is done responsibly, the plan also supports and is making progress on renewables, nuclear, and other zero-carbon energy sources through research and development, and invests in energy efficiency."