The leader of the American Petroleum Institute (API) says every generation has its own defining challenges and accomplishment.

“We are currently in America’s Generation Energy,” API CEO and President Mike Sommers told reporters during a conference call on Jan. 8 ahead of his group’s State of American Energy 2019 luncheon in Washington, D.C.

Sommers said this generation is defined as Generation Energy because of the unprecedented dual achievement of meeting record world energy demand while driving record CO2 emissions reductions.

“Thanks to America’s Generation Energy and its cutting-edge innovations, the U.S. energy outlook is stronger than ever,” Sommers said prior to hosting 400 government, labor and industry leaders at the ninth annual State of American Energy address.

Sommers pointed to record U.S. energy production and U.S. CO2 emissions reductions to their lowest level in a generation while calling on policymakers to enact policies that embrace technological innovation and open markets, implement effective trade policy and expand U.S. energy infrastructure.

Sommers said net oil imports are set to fall this year to their lowest levels since 1958 while the U.S. is becoming a global leader in exporting oil.

“On some days, we actually export more oil than some OPEC nations produce,” Sommers said. “That’s a monumental shift in the global balance of energy power, and it’s paying off in communities across the nation—cutting family budgets and bringing manufacturing jobs back.”

Sommers said the nation is setting energy records while understanding of the environmental impact and going to great lengths to protect it.

“The benefits are more than economic. U.S. Security and global stability are better off with the United States as the world’s energy leader,” he said. “The United States is the world’s gold standard when it comes to safe responsible energy development.”

Sommers pointed to the era between 1970 and 2017 when the U.S. Gross domestic product jumped 262%. At the same time, energy consumption increased 44%. He said while the miles people traveled tripled the combined emissions of the six criteria air pollutants dropped by 73%.

Sommers said to continue the trend, the industry needs bipartisan support as Democrats assume control of the House, while Republicans control the Senate and White House.

“It’s important not to lose sight of what growing energy demand means,” Sommers said. “It means better, safer quality of life for billions living in poverty around the globe.

“Nearly a billion people in the world don’t have access to electricity, and 2.1 billion live without safe drinking water at home. As we start 2019, we see energy as a major opportunity for bipartisan achievement in this Congress. The American people of both parties support energy infrastructure, investments and free trade agreements that exclude market restrictions because they see energy as an economics issue, a security issue and a household budget issue.”

Sommers also released a new energy poll on what Americans think about U.S. natural gas and oil.

Key poll results:

  • 84% support increased development of the country’s energy infrastructure;
  • 83% see natural gas and oil as important to the future;
  • 78% of voters support increased production of natural gas and oil resources;
  • 77% support energy policies that the natural gas and oil industry advocates: a secure supply of abundant, affordable and available energy;
  • 75% support the role natural gas is playing in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and;
  • 90% see personal value in natural gas and oil.

“The study shows more than three-fourths of Americans see personal value in natural gas and oil,” he said. “They take pride in U.S. energy leadership around the world, they support the industry’s work to meet environmental challenges and they see natural gas and oil as important to the future because increased access to our domestic resources could lead to more jobs, help stimulate the economy and help lower energy consumer costs.”

Terrance Harris can be reached at tharris@hartenergy.com.