The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Missed Opportunity at the Jobs Summit

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted December 3, 2009

API's President Jack Gerard and Devon's CEO and Chairman Larry Nichols called the White House Jobs Summit a "missed opportunity" during a conference call with reporters this morning, and wondered why the oil and natural gas industry was not invited.

America's oil and natural industry employs and supports a total of 9.2 million U.S. jobs. It powers most of the energy that heats U.S. homes, fuels factories and offices, and gets people to home and work. It also adds more than $1 trillion to the national economy.

Yet, Larry said today that despite the fact that the industry asked to attend today's Jobs Summit, he was not aware of anyone from an oil and natural gas trade association or a traditional energy company who had been invited.

With more than 15 million Americans unemployed today, the industry can help, Larry said. To cite an example, he pointed to the jobs expected to be generated by Marcellus Shale development in Pennsylvania. According to a Penn State study, natural gas drilling and production could create 175,000 new jobs in Pennsylvania alone during the next ten years.

"We think we could be a very constructive part of the solution to bring the economy back," Jack said, as he called for the federal government to open more onshore and offshore areas to oil and natural gas production.

Larry and Jack also cautioned that some of the policies being discussed in Washington could hurt job creation, not help it. Climate legislation, the health care bill, and the administration's 2010 proposed budget all contain tax increases that could have a chilling effect on job creation. As Larry explained, the administration's budget proposal would take 20 percent of the industry's cash, forcing companies to reduce employment and cut back on energy development at a time when the country needs more energy, not less.

Jack added that the industry is not seeking a bail out or stimulus money. "We just want the opportunity to do what we do so well," which is create jobs, generate government revenues and fuel the U.S. economy. "The public gets it," Jack he said, as shown by the recent outpouring of support for energy development during the Interior Department's comment period on offshore leasing. "Just give us the opportunity."

Read this brochure for more information about the economic impact of the oil and natural gas industry.

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Update on December 3, 2009: Read API's press release on today's teleconference held ahead of the White House Jobs Summit.

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.