Role of the Independent Operator
There are about 9,000 independent oil and natural gas producers in the United States. These companies operate in 33 states and offshore and employ an average of just 12 people. Independents can be small family companies or publicly traded companies. These companies produce 4% of the United States’ Gross Domestic Product and reinvest billions of dollars back into the American economy. In their efforts to discover and to produce more energy in the most cost-efficient ways, independents play a critical role in the nation’s overall economic vitality and energy security.
Although “Big Oil” is still focusing most of their exploration and production efforts internationally, the unconventional plays of recent years have increased their domestic interests. With the uptick in domestic production, US imports of foreign oil have decreased from 60% in 2007 to less than 50% today.
Because most imported oil is from volatile OPEC countries, the U.S. remains determined to increase domestic reserves and decrease our dependency on OPEC. Independent operators play a major role in this effort, accounting for over 90% of domestic wells drilled, producing 54% of domestic oil and 85% of domestic natural gas.
Unlike major oil and gas companies who fund their drilling activities with the sale of stock, independent operators rely on investors. In return, we provide investors with cash flow and tax advantages through direct participation in oil and gas programs. And we help the US economy as well: recent studies have shown that independents reinvest 100% of their domestic cash flow back into new domestic production, providing over 4 million jobs and billions of dollars in revenue and taxes, while producing oil and clean-burning natural gas across the nation.
(Source of statistics: IPAA)