As 2021 finishes out, West Virginians have experienced many blessings — from a rebounding economy with more job opportunities to a stronger, more fiscally sound state, we’re moving forward, together.
We’ve even seen the benefits — and drawbacks — of being in the national political spotlight thanks to the steadfast leadership from Senators Manchin and Capito, and our Congressional delegation. Amid the hustle and bustle of D.C., our leaders haven’t forgotten their roots, the people who helped get them into office, and the energy sector that’s bedrock to our state and nation’s well-being.
Whether it’s heating homes, schools, and small businesses, spurring manufacturing growth, advancing environmental goals, or creating opportunities for local high school, trade, and college grads, our world is brighter because of West Virginia natural gas.
Make no mistake, the fundamentals of our industry remain strong. We’ve seen year-over-year increases in natural gas production that have made West Virginia the country’s fifth largest energy producer. And additional pipeline expansion in 2022 will open new markets for our resource.
The highest paying sector in West Virginia, natural gas development supports the careers of more than 82,000 West Virginians, from Weirton to Bluefield and everywhere in between.
The natural gas we produce in the Mountain State is our economic engine and climate plan — and expanding domestic and international natural gas use will further drive production growth, investment, job creation across West Virginia, and reduce our overall global carbon footprint. It’s not rocket science — it’s Economics 101.
More U.S. natural gas production is an all-around win-win. As we’re heading into the winter season, Americans are cranking up the heat, and it’s natural gas that keeps us warm. Approximately 40% of West Virginia homes rely on natural gas for heating, as do about half of all American households.
While energy prices have risen lately due to numerous factors, including poor political and regulatory decisions, thanks to greater U.S. production, Americans continue to enjoy significant energy savings at home and at the gas pump. Since 2008, households, businesses, and manufacturers have saved $1.1 trillion due to increased production across the country including Appalachia.
All West Virginians enjoy the energy savings this industry creates — and when our industry does better, so does our state’s overall fiscal health.
Revenues generated by taxes on natural gas and oil have contributed more than $3 billion to the state budget since 2008 — including hundreds of millions of dollars annually in severance and local property tax revenues, both of which directly support individual counties.
Municipalities rely on this vital revenue stream to carry out the basic functions of local government — like maintaining roads, improving bridges and parks.
These blessings are just a few of the positive impacts the oil and natural gas industry have had on our state, much of which we have a duty to share with our nation and allies across the globe.
As the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas, our supply far outpaces domestic demand, giving us the opportunity to share these clean energy resources with the rest of the world. In 2022, the U.S. is projected to be the world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter — snagging the top spot from Russia and the Middle East. Our position as the world’s trusted, reliable energy supplier enhances our national security, is good for our climate, and our economy here at home.
While many obstacles remain heading into the new year, the past two years have forced our industry to adapt and be resilient, priming us for immense growth as we continue to expand and deliver more for American and global consumers.
We have much to be excited about as 2022 approaches and we’re grateful each and every day for the talent, grit, and determination of our industry in delivering the energy that’s fueling our future.
Charlie Burd is Executive Director of the Gas and Oil Association of West Virginia. Learn more at GOWV.com.
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