The NPC is chartered by the Secretary of Energy, under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972. The Council membership of approximately 180 persons is selected and appointed by the Secretary of Energy.
The Council also has members with interests outside of oil or gas operations, including representatives from academic, financial, research, Native American, and public interest organizations and institutions.
The advice of the NPC is transmitted to the Secretary in the form of reports approved by the Council and is rendered to the government as a public service. The cost of providing this service is borne by voluntary contributions from the Council members. The NPC conducts studies in response to specific requests originating from or approved by the Secretary of Energy. The Council does, however, reserve the right to decline to undertake any study requested of it by the Secretary, if it determines the subject matter to be inappropriate for Council consideration.
Since its formation in 1946, the Council has prepared over 200 reports, which deal with virtually every aspect of oil and gas operations. NPC reports include: examinations of the ongoing and future operations and requirements of the U.S. oil and gas industries; statistical studies descriptive of these industries; delineations of the U.S. oil and gas resource base; and comprehensive analyses of the domestic energy supply/demand situation.