WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- American Petroleum Institute chief economist John Felmy said increased U.S. oil and gas production is driving growth in the manufacturing sector.
Felmy said new drilling technologies like hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have put the United States "in a position of strength" economically.
"Domestic oil and gas production also is powering a resurgence in U.S. manufacturing as businesses take advantage of affordable and abundant energy supplies here in the United States," he said in a statement Thursday.
A Thursday report from the Department of Commerce said the trade deficit for goods and services in December was 12 percent worse than in the previous month, suggesting the global economy is slow to expand.
The report said, however, that the United States imported 2.8 billion barrels of crude oil in 2013, a 9.2 percent decline from the previous year and the lowest total the mid 1990s.
Felmy said the U.S. government could capitalize on the energy gains by encouraging more exports in products like liquefied natural gas.
The Energy Department attributes the increase in U.S. oil and gas production to developments in shale formations.
Hydraulic fracturing, a controversial shale drilling practice known as fracking, is viewed as a threat to the environment by critics.