Committee Explores the Impact, Benefit of Technology on America’s Energy Outlook

Feb 13, 2013

Washington, D.C. — The Subcommittee on Energy today held its first hearing of the 113th Congress, examining the impact of technology and policy drivers on U.S. energy markets.  Witnesses provided a broad overview of the U.S. energy outlook, and discussed trends in the electricity and transportation sectors.

Subcommittee Chairman Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo): “It is difficult to overstate the importance of energy to America’s success.  Plentiful and affordable energy is arguably the single most important factor to enabling our prosperity—from our health and wellness to our national and economic security.  Technology development impacts all components of a healthy, developed energy system, including exploration and production, transportation, and end-use consumption. By providing the private market with the tools and incentives to innovate, our energy system can continue to integrate new technologies to reliably provide affordable and abundant energy.

“Throughout the languishing economic recovery, expanded domestic energy production and low natural gas prices are two of the few bright spots in the current economy and have the potential to revitalize America’s economic engine.”

Over the last decade, America’s resurgence as a leading global oil and gas producer can be credited in part to development horizontal drilling techniques and hydraulic fracturing. The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts the U.S. will overtake Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest oil producer by 2020 and Russia to become the world’s largest natural gas producer by 2015. Increased production, coupled with reduced domestic consumption, has also led to a sharp decrease in energy imports.  In 2012, imports accounted for just 41 percent of total domestic oil consumption, down from 60 percent in 2005.

Witnesses discussed how technological advances can positively impact the energy sector and lead to abundant and affordable energy that is the foundation for a healthy economy. The witnesses also highlighted the benefits of innovations in oil and gas production, and discussed the short and long term affects of increased oil and gas production due to hydraulic fracturing.

The following witnesses testified:

The Honorable Adam Sieminski, Administrator, Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. Department of Energy
Mr. Robert McNally, President, The Rapidan Group
Ms. Lisa Jacobson, President, Business Council for Sustainable Energy

For more information, including witness testimony and the archived hearing webcast, visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website.