The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energy Development: The Key to Jobs

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted February 16, 2010

As we've been saying here for the past several weeks, the oil and natural gas industry could help to pull the economy out of the doldrums if it were allowed to search for and produce more domestic energy. The United States has abundant energy resources, and developing them could create hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs, send much needed revenues to federal, state and local governments to pay for services, and improve U.S. energy security.

Two newly released studies back up these statements.

• One study issued yesterday says that restrictions on oil and natural gas drilling could cost the U.S. economy $2.36 trillion through 2029, raise energy prices, and result in the payment of $607 billion to OPEC countries. The study was conducted by SAIC Corp. and commissioned by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) and the oil and natural gas industry. "Unless...policies change, Americans can look forward to a world with millions of fewer jobs, higher gas prices, higher electricity prices, and billions of America dollars being sent to hostile foreign countries," Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) said, according to Dow Jones.

• A separate study says the jobs of nearly 600,000 Canadians were supported by the natural gas industry in 2008. The study, conducted by IHS Global Insight for America's Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) also shows that the natural gas industry contributed more than $106 billion to Canada's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). "As we make decisions about job creation, energy production and our transportation future, it's crucial we keep in mind just how central natural gas is to Canada's economy and Canadian families' lives," Eric March, executive VP, Natural Gas Economy of EnCana, told Canada NewsWire.

In the United States, the oil and natural gas industry supports about 9.2 million jobs and stands ready to create even more economic opportunity. No stimulus plan, handout or earmark would be required. The industry simply needs the government's permission to drill.

But it appears that the administration's pattern of delay is continuing.

According to a news release from the Institute for Energy Research (IER), the administration does not plan to allow oil and natural gas development off the Atlantic coast until at least 2014. IER's Dan Kish said, the "slow-walk" toward Atlantic development will be "at the expense of American jobs and economic growth."