The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Good News Friday: Refinery Expansion, Job Impact and a Brainstorm

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted June 24, 2011

Heading into another weekend, here's a look at some of the positive ways energy is affecting life in these United States:

Michigan Marathon - The Detroit Free Press reports that expansion work on Marathon's Detroit refinery is expected to peak this fall, employing 1,300 workers. The $2.2 billion project started three years ago and will let Marathon process more Canadian oil sands. Marathon promises to add 60 jobs and 75 contract positions after work is completed in the second half of next year, the paper reports. The expanded refinery is expected to generate $230 million in additional city tax revenues over the next 20 years, plus an estimated $85 million in state and local taxes.

(Oil) Boomer Sooner - You might have seen this earlier in the week, but a new study about the impact of oil and natural gas in Oklahoma bears some repeating. The Oklahoman newspaper reports new research by an Oklahoma City University economist shows the industry remains the state's top industry, directly employing about 71,000 people, with indirect links to more than 200,000 others. Overall, oil and natural gas pumped $51 billion into the state's $150 billion economy in 2009. "About one out of every seven jobs in the state is directly or indirectly tied to the oil and gas industry," said report author Russell Evans.

Jobs Initiative - Since it seems Washington is struggling on the job-creation front, University of California-San Diego Professor James Hamilton suggests energy policies that could create fertile ground in an online piece for CNN/Money. Start with government approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would deliver oil from Canada's oil sands region to U.S. refiners and create 15,000 high-wage jobs just from construction. "It would cost the government nothing," Hamilton writes, "and indeed would generate substantial new tax revenues for local, state, and federal governments." Next, grant more permits for offshore drilling and develop Alaska's energy resources. He cites a Shell estimate that going after Alaska's offshore oil would generate 50,000 jobs per year. Implementing these measures would have direct impact but also provide an important boost to consumer confidence, he writes.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.