Before the holidays, many of us hit the shopping mall in search of perfect gifts for loved ones. What many don’t realize, however, is that nearly every one of us will either give or receive the gift of petroleum this holiday season.
When talking about petroleum, most people likely have the image of a barrel filled with a black gooey substance, or at best, a gift card for your local gas station, neither of which seems like an ideal holiday gift.
But, what I’m talking about and what most people do not realize is that petroleum is part of some of the most popular gifts, including the iPad, Kindle, or TV on the top of your wish list, or the PlayStations or Barbies that will be asked for in children’s letters to Santa.
When thinking about the role of oil and gas in our lives, most people look only as far as their vehicles and the price of gasoline, but petroleum plays an integral role in nearly every aspect of our lives. Oil-based products are likely the first thing you touch at the beginning and end of each day, whether it is your alarm clock, television remote, iPhone, or even the toothpaste and toothbrush you use to brush your teeth.
Those who wear make-up or synthetic fibers, such as polyester or nylon, are using or touching petroleum nearly 24 hours a day, and, 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 improving our living environments by heating our homes in the winter, cooling them in the summer, and keeping our lights on and petroleum-based gadgets fully charged.
These are just a few of the improvements that oil and gas makes in our lives and societies around the world, and as a top 10 oil producing state, Kansas is a major contributor to that. And, in the same way that we take great pride in our agriculture sector and the role it plays in feeding people around the world, we should also take great pride in the role our oil and gas industry plays in providing a commodity essential to our very way of life.
As in any industry sector or business, there are inherent risks and impacts. The petroleum industry however, remains committed to mitigating these risks through extensive employee training and developing environmental, health and safety protocols to prepare and protect employees and the environment around them. There are state and federal agencies involved in regulating every phase of oil and gas production to ensure our energy resources are developed as safely, efficiently and responsibly as possible.
This year will go down as another year of historic growth of oil production and opportunity in Kansas as well as our nation. We should take a moment to recognize the incredible impact our oil and gas industry has had on Kansas, our nation and the world. The technologies and innovations developed here in America to unleash our abundant oil and natural gas reserves are bringing us closer to energy independence.
Kansas will continue to be a top oil producing state for years to come. As an industry, we are proud to produce a resource that is used to fuel the airplanes and vehicles that will bring families together this holiday season; the resource that will go into the gifts that will be exchanged; and the resource that is bringing us closer to energy independence.
On behalf of the Kansas oil and gas industry, we wish you all a happy holiday season.
Edward Cross is president of the Kansas Independent Oil & Gas Association.