For many decades the benefits of oil and gas development in the US have been overshadowed by the amount of money companies in the sector have made, the environmental impacts of use or development and occasional accidents and the degree to which imports impact US foreign policy and economic health.

The extent to which the US oil and gas business drives job growth, contributes to local and the national economies and has renewed potential to shift economic and political power back to the US were the focus of the American Petroleum Institute’s State of American Energy presentation in Washington, DC today. API has sought ways to boost the reputation of the oil and gas industry in recent years after the industry faced unprecedented opposition to new development both on-and-offshore as new technology allowed access to onshore reserves and offshore development revived.

See Breaking Energy’s comment on stakeholder society approaches for the energy business here.

API quotes some extraordinary figures in its recent report (available here) to illuminate the oil and gas sector’s contributions to economic health. It invites readers to imagine American lives without oil and gas, noting they would be “far different, making it exceedingly challenging for families to heat their homes and run their daily lives.” What the alternatives might be, or how one might retroactively decarbonize an entire economy, isn’t addressed in the report, which quickly turns to the sunny prospect of potential North American energy security replete with spiking job growth and even energy exports.

Some of the more striking statistics cited by API today include:

  • $1.1 Trillion: The total value added by the US oil industry to the national economy
  • $109.5 Billion: The projected amount US households will save between 2009 and 2020 due to lower household natural gas prices
  • $545 Billion: Amount directly provided by the oil and natural gas industry to the US economy in 2011 (according to a PriceWaterhouseCoopers report).
  • One million plus: The number of hydraulic fracturing wells API claims have been drilled without a case of groundwater contamination (API cites its own blog, quoting in turn outgoing EPA chief Lisa Jackson on proven cases of groundwater contamination).
  • 9.2 million: The number of US jobs supported by American oil and gas
  • $94,500: The average salary for refinery workers
  • $29 billion: Cash dividends paid to shareholders of oil and natural gas companies

API sponsored an unprecedented advertising campaign around energy issues in the 2012 election cycle, read more about that effort here.