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Petroleum - A Commodity Essential to our very way of life

Posted by Kelly Rains |

Petroleum ~ A Commodity Essential to Our Very Way of Life

Edward Cross, President

Kansas Independent Oil & Gas Association



               When talking about petroleum, many people likely have the image of a barrel filled with a thick, black substance.  But what most people may not realize is that petroleum is the building block of thousands of products that make our lives more comfortable, safer, cleaner, and healthier. 

            When thinking about the role of oil and gas in our lives, many people may only think of vehicles and fuel, but petroleum plays an integral role in nearly every aspect of our lives.  As a matter of fact, over 6,000 products come from petroleum.  People use oil-based products every day, whether it is your television remote, cell phone, or even the toothpaste and toothbrush you use to brush your teeth.

            Synthetic fabrics such as nylon and polyester are made from petroleum.  In addition, as a key component in heart valves, seat belts, helmets, life vests, and even Kevlar, petroleum is saving tens of thousands of lives daily.  Furthermore, oil and gas are key components in many medicines and antibiotics such as antiseptics, antihistamines, aspirin, and sulfa drugs. 

            These are just a few of the improvements that oil and gas make in our lives and societies around the world, and as a top 10 oil producing state, Kansas is a major contributor to that.  As a nation we take great pride in our agriculture sector and the role it plays in feeding people around the world.  In the same way, we should take great pride in the role our oil and gas industry plays in providing a commodity essential to our very way of life.  Oil and gas are fundamental to our modern way of life and high standard of living.    

Also, the oil and gas industry makes our environment far safer and creates new resources out of raw materials. 

The energy we get from oil and gas is particularly valuable for protecting ourselves from the climate.  The climate is always changing, whether mankind influences that change or not.  In the last 80 years as CO2 emissions have risen from an atmospheric concentration of 0.03% to 0.04%, climate related deaths have declined by 98%.  Oil and gas make the planet dramatically safer.

According to the EPA, oil and gas methane emissions account for only 3.63% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.  Methane emissions from the oil and gas sector declined 3.8% this last year, marking the fourth consecutive year of decline.  The fact is our nation’s 21st century oil and gas renaissance has made domestically produced oil and gas economical and abundant.  This market-driven success has helped our nation achieve significant emissions reductions.  The men and women of the oil and gas industry reject the stale mindset of last century’s thinking peddled by some that oil and gas production and environmental stewardship are not compatible.

Oil and gas have also made the planet dramatically richer in resources.  Until the Industrial Revolution, there were almost no energy resources.  Oil and gas are not naturally resources.  Those who first discovered how to convert oil and gas into energy weren’t depleting a resource, they were creating a resource.  The world is a better place for it.  Life is all about taking materials in nature and creatively turning them into useful resources.  And by creating the best form of energy resource, the oil and gas industry helps every other industry more efficiently create every other type of resource.

More than a billion people around the world face challenges for adequate food and education, clean water, and protection from heat and cold due to a lack of access to safe, affordable, and reliable energy.  We should work to ensure more people have access to safe, affordable, and reliable energy, no matter which state, nation, or continent they reside.  Because to rise out of poverty and enjoy health and safety, people need more energy, not less.