WASHINGTON, April 23 (UPI) -- The oil and natural gas sector in the United States is expanding, though more is needed for energy security and economic growth, a trade group said.
The American Petroleum Institute said 12 percent more exploratory wells were completed so far in 2012 when compared with the same period last year. Overall well completions, however, declined 9 percent during the reporting period.
Hazem Arafa, director of statistics for API, said the domestic oil and natural gas industry has shown its commitments to U.S. energy security during the first quarter of 2012.
"Additional access to our own vast energy resources and streamlined federal permitting would allow for more opportunities to produce our own energy while creating more American jobs and generating more revenue for our government," he said in a statement.
Critics of U.S. President Barack Obama's energy policies accuse his administration of blocking oil and natural gas developments. The White House says production is at historic highs, though much of that increase is due to polices enacted by the previous administration.