The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Industry Workers Provide Their Perspective to Congress

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted April 27, 2010

Nearly 70 U.S. oil and natural gas workers are on Capitol Hill this week to talk with policymakers about energy.

They include geologists, petroleum engineers, landmen, rig workers and others from 15 states, who are meeting with their elected representatives to explain how a strong oil and natural gas industry can contribute to the U.S. economy and create jobs.

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Carlos Dengo of ExxonMobil says the trip to the nation's capital is an "opportunity to bring our story to Washington. It's about who we are in the oil and natural gas industry, what we do and how we do it."

Dengo, who serves as vice president of geosciences for ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, explains that the industry uses advanced technology to provide energy to all Americans. As one example, he points to the impact of technology on U.S. natural gas supplies, which can supply U.S. demand for an estimated 100 years at current consumption levels.

Dengo says:

"Technological breakthroughs and finding ways to use old technology in new ways have made it possible for vast quantities of clean-burning natural gas to be discovered. Developing and producing this resource is going to mean lots of good jobs and reliable, clean energy."

Janell Mickelson of Parker Drilling believes it's critically important for Congress to understand that its actions can impact long-term energy supplies and jobs:

"Even though we use advanced technologies to minimize environmental impacts and access resources, we face tax increases and a lack of access to federal lands that force us to buy more oil and natural gas from abroad. Like every American, I'm concerned about high energy costs, about paying for my commute, about making ends meet."

She adds, "I know what it feels like to have lost a job...We need to create more jobs here, not send them abroad."

The oil and natural gas workers are part of the 9.2 million U.S. workers who are employed or are supported by the industry. These workers had planned to come to Washington in February, but their trip was postponed due to the blizzard.

API President and CEO Jack Gerard said their trip--and their message to Congress--was long overdue:

"Congress, in the coming months, will be working on a host of issues that could impact the oil and natural gas industry...It's good for lawmakers to hear from their constituents...and understand how energy policy might affect their lives and their communities."

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.