The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Good News Friday: Energy Jobs, Energy Revenues

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted May 20, 2011

Sometimes it seems like the only news is bad news, but let's take a moment to focus on the positive. The good news is the oil and natural gas industry is making life better in communities around the country. Here's a sampling:

The Observer in Dunkirk, N.Y., has an op-ed column by Petro Enterprises CEO David W. Keefe, noting the positive impact of Marcellus shale gas exploration and development. Keefe writes:

(Marcellus) is estimated to contain up to 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, making it, potentially, the second-largest gas field in the world. New York's portion of those reserves could be as much as 50 trillion cubic feet. Drilling the Marcellus in Pennsylvania during a two year period ending in 2010 created 44,000 jobs. Similar performance is expected in New York with the addition of $11.4 billion to the New York economy over the next ten years if development is allowed to take place.

Elsewhere in the Marcellus shale play, civic leaders in Williamsport, Pa., led a panel discussion of the benefits of drilling activity to that community. The Williamsport Sun-Gazette reports the event centered on ways existing companies are adapting to meet the needs of the gas shale boom, which has helped unemployment in Lycoming County fall to 7.4 percent from previous levels of 10 percent and higher. Panelists see the shale deposits as economically sustaining for the long term. "We see this as a generational play," said Jason Fink, executive vice president of the area chamber of commerce.In Texas, the Midland Reporter-Telegram reports the oil and natural gas industry the Permian Basin has boosted employment 13 percent the first quarter of this year compared to 2010. According to a study, the paper reports, the industry is lifting the economies of Midland and Ector counties:

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. In Midland County, the industry represented 75.3 percent of the county's economic activity, generating $29.5 billion in annual expenditures, $9.6 billion output and 77,717 permanent jobs. Combined, the two counties receive $51.1 billion in annual expenditures, 16.8 billion in output and 139,245 permanent jobs from the exploration and production sector

The oil and natural gas industry is generating bigger tax revenues in North Dakota's oil country, according to the Minot Daily News. Final 2010 figures show taxable sales and purchases in Williston "skyrocketed" 97 percent over 2009 totals. The newspaper adds:

Leading the charge was the city of Williston, which despite having only the ninth-largest population in the state posted the third-highest taxable sales and purchases figures, which totaled $1.34 billion. ... The city is home to well over 350 oilfield service companies that make their living buying and selling to petroleum exploration, production and transportation companies. And with more than 175 drilling rigs active ... coupled with petroleum prices at more than $90 per barrel, there seems to be no lull in business looming ahead for that portion of the city's economy.


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.