The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

The 230,000-Job Solution

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 22, 2011

There's yet another study out pointing to tens of thousands of new jobs that would be created by returning oil and natural gas activity in the Gulf of Mexico to where it was before last year's federal ban on deepwater drilling.

The specific jobs number is 230,000 in 2012 - contained in this week's IHS report that identifies a job-restricting gap between what industry is willing and able to do but can't due to a regulatory process the report's authors say has "almost ground to a halt." IHS:

"Safely restoring oil and natural gas exploration and development levels in the US Gulf of Mexico is potentially one of the most significant sources of new jobs over the next two years and could help sustain a nascent trend of rising US oil production and lower crude oil imports. Failure to do so would have a major toll in jobs lost and lower energy security."

In addition to jobs, IHS says resurgent oil and gas development in the Gulf would generate:

  • More than $44 billion in economic growth
  • Nearly $12 billion in tax and royalty revenues to state and federal treasuries
  • Production of more than 400,000 barrels of oil per day, or nearly 150 million barrels per year - five times the size of the administration's recent release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

The IHS study says job and economic benefits "will not materialize under the current track - the 'Slow Recovery' scenario" now being pursued by the administration. The study found the median number of days an exploration plan is pending prior to government approval has grown from a historical norm of 36 days to 131 days. More from the report:

"The magnitude of the slowdown indicates the need for regulatory capacity and responsiveness commensurate with the level of investment that companies are prepared to commit to oil and gas exploration and production operations in the post-moratorium environment."

The analysis follows another with similar results by Quest Offshore Resources Inc. earlier this month that said offshore-related oil and gas employment could hit 430,000 in 2013, including about 187,000 new jobs, if the permit slowdown is reversed.

Looks like a pattern: More access to Gulf oil and natural gas = jobs, lots of them. At a town hall Friday the president said he's thinking about the economy from the moment he wakes up in the morning until he goes to bed at night. Our industry is ready with help, right now. IHS:

"Swift action to reduce the growing backlog of plans and increase the pace of plan and permit approvals to explore for oil and natural gas resources in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico would increase employment opportunities in almost every state, boost tax and royalty revenues for governments, and help stabilize US energy security. And these benefits could materialize rapidly."

For more, check out coverage at The Foundry blog, the Houston Chronicle and the Oil & Gas Journal.


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.