American Petroleum Institute’s Jack Gerard told attendees of the winter PVF Roundtable meeting at the Westin Galleria in Houston in early February that the U.S. has a “once-in-a-life-time opportunity to show the world how energy abundance can be used as a positive force.”

Gerard’s well-received keynote and subsequent question-and-answer session to end the first of four quarterly PVF Roundtable meetings centered on America’s rise as a global energy force and the roadblocks it potentially faces going forward.

Gerard noted the U.S. currently is No. 1 in natural gas production, petroleum refining and in the production of crude oil. He added the new era of energy abundance has set domestic production and refining records while creating 600,000 jobs between 2009 and 2011.

“America’s rise to become a global leader in energy production, brought about by innovations in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, and encouraged by its unique private property and free market system, is what we call the American moment,” he told the audience. “This American moment has greatly diminished what have been our nation’s largest economic and geopolitical vulnerabilities: domestic energy scarcity and dependence on foreign countries to meet our nation’s energy needs. Overcoming these vulnerabilities has been the goal of every president and Congress for the last four decades.”

Gerard said the decisions to promote North American energy production and leadership should transcend political parties. “It’s not a Blue state or Red state issue,” he said. “It is an American prosperity and security issue. Broadly, it should be about ensuring America remains a positive force on the world energy market and that all Americans benefit from their nation’s emergence as a global energy leader.”

He also tackled the controversial subject of the Keystone XL pipeline project (President Obama vetoed the Keystone bill just prior to press time), stating the administration’s handling of the pipeline, “is nothing short of a national embarrassment because this nation has accomplished much more in less time. The wait for the pipeline has taken longer than it took the allies to win World War II; our nation to build the first transcontinental railroad; or to build the Hoover Dam.”

Gerard continued to stress the importance of the opportunity sitting in front of the country in the energy arena. “Mother Nature has provided us all with an extraordinary gift,” he said. “For the first time in our lifetime we can now say North America has the potential to achieve liquid fuels self-sufficiency. That’s a revolutionary change, a seismic shift from where we were just a few short years ago.”

He added: “In my view, it would be unforgivable if this country were to abandon or ignore its responsibility to future generations by missing this opportunity based on flawed science, outdated assumptions and political orthodoxy. We have the responsibility to turn this American moment of energy abundance and global leadership into a lasting legacy of energy security for decades to come. If we work together and get our energy policy right, future generations of Americans will only know their nation as a global energy leader.”

The winter PVF Roundtable meeting again attracted a crowd of more than 500 registrants. Penn Machine’s Joe Pro was formally introduced as the PVF Roundtable’s new president.  The Roundtable returns Tuesday, May 19 for the first of two networking-focused meetings. The day before, the annual Don Caffee Memorial Golf Tournament takes place at Sweetwater Country Club in Sugar Land, Texas, and benefits the PVF Roundtable Scholarship Fund. For more information, visit