November 7, 2014 The Journal Record Opinion Guest Column by Nathanial Harding
Veterans Day offers us a chance to celebrate the service of all U.S. military veterans. It’s also time to celebrate an advancing American oil and natural gas industry that is moving our country toward energy independence.
The use of advanced technology, primarily horizontal drilling, has opened vast new areas in Oklahoma for the exploration for oil and natural gas and has breathed new life into the state’s historic oil fields. The increased oil-field activity in the Sooner State has helped our nation on its path to energy independence, enhancing U.S. energy security and creating Oklahoma jobs while doing so.
In Oklahoma, crude oil production has doubled in the last four years and now stands at levels not seen since 1988. Similar production increases across the country have made the United States the largest crude oil producer in the world, overtaking oil-rich Saudi Arabia in October. For decades, every U.S. president has sought to make America energy self-sufficient; enterprising individuals and companies are making that happen.
The benefit to America’s military men and women is twofold.
First and foremost, a secure energy future means the United States becomes less dependent on imported energy from foreign sources in unstable or unfriendly parts of the world. The U.S. will be less vulnerable to the economic strong-arm tactics imposed by these countries through oil supply.
Secondly, a vibrant and growing oil and natural gas industry offers employment opportunities for men and women following their discharge from military service. Oklahoma added more than 60,000 private sector jobs between 2010 and 2012. Nearly 40 percent of those jobs came directly from the oil and natural gas industry. As they trade their helmets for hard hats, their oil-field efforts will continue to strengthen our nation’s security.
Energy security equals national security, and Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry is doing its part to ensure that our country has a stable and secure future.
Nathaniel Harding is president of Oklahoma City’s Harding and Shelton Exploration and serves as a captain in the Air Force Reserves.