Oil lobby: Fracking saved Americans $248 billion last year

Hydraulic fracturing saved Americans almost $250 billion last year, according to a report issued by the oil and gas industry Thursday as part of a move to ratchet up the fight against looming regulations meant to restrict "fracking." 

The  study, commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute (API), compared historical fuel price and production data against a scenario without the advanced drilling technology. Researchers concluded that without horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, international crude oil prices would have been $12 to $40 higher per barrel.

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The resulting savings totaled $248 billion in 2013 and as much as $624 billion between 2008 and last year, according to the study, drafted by ICF International, a research and consulting firm.

“For the first time in generations, surging domestic production is driving our energy security and providing a crucial buffer against disruptions in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East,” said Kyle Isakower, the API’s vice president for regulatory and economic policy.

At the same time, the Obama administration is weighing regulations on fracking, a horizontal drilling method for oil and gas that pumps chemicals and water into the ground to break up deposits.

Citing public health and environmental concerns, environmentalists and some Democrats have pressured the administration to move forward with the strongest possible standards for fracking on federal lands.

Isakower said there are some 202 fracking bills and regulatory proposals pending in 34 states.

He said the push for stringent rules could undermine a domestic energy boom that has acted as a $1.1 trillion global economic stimulus and lowered gas prices across most of the U.S. below $3 a gallon.

“It’s critical that policymakers turn aside duplicative regulations on hydraulic fracturing and ensure that U.S. consumers can benefit from energy production on federal lands that remain off-limits.”