The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

You Want Jobs?

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 8, 2011

With June's dismal jobs report, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner's question from earlier in the week gains traction: "Where are the jobs?"

Wait a minute ... I know this one - energy!

More important: Does the administration know the answer? Lots of people are asking about its jobs strategy after the June report showed a disappointing gain of just 18,000, well below the 125,000 new positions needed each month just to keep up with population growth. Unemployment rose to 9.2 percent. Since Jan. 20, 2009, some 2.5 million jobs have been lost in the economy. The president:

"We still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do. ... Our economy as a whole isn't producing nearly enough jobs for everyone who's looking. ... The American people expect us to act on every good idea that's out there."

Good ideas? Here are a few:

Start with an energy policy that puts Americans to work - one that develops U.S. oil and natural gas resources - and drop the push for job-killing tax increases on energy companies. Instead of acting as though U.S. oil and gas reserves are an afterthought, the administration should make new access to domestic resources the cornerstone of its energy/jobs policy.

As Wood Mackenzie shows, energy access will produce 530,000 new jobs and $194 billion in new government revenue from 2011-2025. Contrast that with job and revenue losses if energy taxes are raised. With access, it's estimated that America would add 4 billion barrels of oil equivalent per day - compared with 700,000 barrels that would be lost with higher taxes.

The administration also can stop delaying approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would generate as many as 20,000 new U.S. jobs during construction alone. The Canadian Energy Research Institute estimates U.S. jobs supported by Canadian oil, which the pipeline would bring to U.S. refiners, could grow to 465,000 in 2035. It's estimated the Keystone XL will bring up to 830,000 barrels of oil a day - part of a U.S.-Canada energy partnership that could supply 92 percent of America's liquid fuel needs by 2030.

More jobs? Think of the employment boom along the Gulf Coast if the administration would stop slow-boating permits for deepwater drilling - reversing the economic drought it caused there with anti-drilling policies. And again, there would be the energy: accessible and secure.

Even more? Let development of America's oil and gas shale continue, resisting the urge to impose one-size-fits-all regulations on an energy sector that's well-regulated by the states and is bringing jobs and prosperity to Texas, North Dakota and Pennsylvania - where Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley said the gas industry and related businesses have generated more than 72,000 new hires over the past 18 months. And with the jobs, energy: vast quantities of clean-burning natural gas.

The job and energy benefits of these policy decisions are within the administration's reach, right now. API President and CEO Jack Gerard:

"We're ready to invest to create jobs, support economic growth, increase government revenues, bolster retirement benefits, and enhance domestic energy security. But we can only do this if the government gives us a green light. We urge the president and Congress to recognize our industry as a powerful part of the solution as they seek a deal on the debt limit and the overall budget."


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.