The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energy Today - May 19, 2011

Rayola Dougher

Rayola Dougher
Posted May 19, 2011

The Washington Times: Revenge of the Squares in North Dakota: It's a "tax, regulatory and legal environment that's quite extraordinary," says Andy Peterson, president of the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce, and all of a sudden, the state is showing up on lists where you'd never expect it. No. 1 in road maintenance, says the Reason Foundation. Forbes magazine puts Fargo high on its lists of top college towns and best small places for business careers - and the whole state above neighboring Minnesota on the annual list of best states for business. For two years, it's led the nation in growth of gross domestic product. The state unemployment rate, 3.6 percent in March, is the nation's lowest. Part of that, of course, derives from the development of the Bakken shale fields in the western part of the state, using fracking to release the oil from the shale formations. Now the fourth-largest producer in the nation, North Dakota has gone from 3,000 barrels a day in 2005 to 225,000 barrels in 2010. Harold Hamm, president of Continental Resources, the leading leaseholder and driller in the Bakken shales, told CNN that the industry employs more than 30,000 workers, up from 5,000 in 2005. The Hill's Congress Blog: Political Attacks on "Big Oil" Hurt America: Imposing what would amount to a multibillion-dollar energy tax hike would increase operating costs for American companies producing oil and natural gas, fuels and petrochemicals. This would give foreign companies an unfair competitive advantage - thereby increasing the amount of these products produced abroad and reducing the amount produced in America. American companies would then earn less, pay less in taxes and employ fewer workers - costing all levels of government billions of dollars in lost revenue. The way to get more money from companies in the oil and natural gas sectors is to allow them to produce more in the United States. There has never been a case in history, as far as I know, of a tax increase prompting a company to produce more and lower prices on its products.

My West Texas: Oil Industry Churning Out New Jobs: The Permian Basin oil and gas industry is churning out jobs at a blistering pace, with employment up 13 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to last year. Hired by Midland College's Petroleum Professional Development Center, The Perryman Group conducted a study of the economic impact the oil and gas industry has in Midland and Ector counties. The study found, in Ector County, the exploration and production sector was responsible for 76.5 percent of the county's economic activity, generating $22 billion in total expenditures and $7.3 billion in real gross product and 61,527 permanent jobs.

Additional Resources:

The National: Earth-Friendly Natural Gas Under Misguided Attack

Tax Foundation's Tax Policy Blog: S. 940. The Latest Example of Tax Policy-as-Political-Weapon

The Foundry: Stop Demonizing Oil Profits


Rayola Dougher is senior economist at The American Petroleum Institute (API), where she analyzes information, manages projects and develops briefing materials on energy markets and oil industry policy issues. She is the author or co-author of economic research studies covering a diverse range of topics including crude oil and petroleum product markets, gasoline taxes, energy conservation and competition in retail markets. In addition to testifying before federal and state legislators, she has participated in numerous newspaper, radio and television interviews on a wide range of issues affecting the oil industry, including crude oil and gasoline prices, industry taxes and earnings, exploration and production, and refining and marketing topics.

Prior to joining API, Rayola worked at the Institute for Energy Analysis where her research focused on carbon dioxide related issues and international energy demand and supply forecasts. Rayola holds a Masters degree in Economic Development and East Asian studies from the American University and a degree in History and Political Science from the State University of New York at Brockport.