The U.S. oil and natural gas industry seeks to refute criticism of oil majors that are announcing strong first-quarter profits amid high gas prices. Robust earnings indicate "growing strength in our economy," said Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute. "We should be proud of the success of an industry that supports 9.2 million American workers and 7.5 percent of our economy while also supplying income to millions of the nation's retirees," Gerard added.

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