The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Hispanic Energy Workers in Washington

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted September 30, 2009

Cecilia "Ceci" Leonard describes herself as an "oil brat" from the oil patch. She is a second-generation petroleum worker who has come to Washington today to meet with members of Congress.

"We have an image problem," Ceci says about the oil and natural gas industry. "I want everyone--including Congress--to know that we are regular, responsible and educated people. We are active in our community. We are professional. We recycle. We want what's best for our kids. We are good citizens."

Ceci is one of several Hispanic members of the oil and natural workforce who will meet with policymakers this week. They hail from 11 states and include geologists, petroleum engineers, refinery managers to name a few. Their goal is to explain to their members of Congress how legislation under consideration could affect them, their families, their communities, and American consumers.

Jack Gerard, API's president and CEO, believes it's essential for Congress to understand how legislation can affect energy workers' livelihoods. He says that adding new energy taxes, denying additional access to development of America's oil and natural gas resources or imposing new, burdensome regulations can have a negative impact on the 9.2 million people who depend on the industry for their jobs. It's estimated that 11.5 percent of the industry's employees are Hispanic.

Energy Industry Employees Visit the Hill

Ceci, a vice president of reservoir engineering for Devon Energy Company in Oklahoma City, shares Jack's views. "In my job, on the exploration and production side of the industry, I have to look at how much capital is available to invest and where is the best place to put that capital. Some of this legislation Congress is considering has the potential increase our costs, reduce our investments--and ultimately reduce the amount of production here in the United States."

The Hispanic oil and natural gas workers will be meeting with their elected representatives today and tomorrow.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.