The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Welcoming Interior to the Energy Jobs Bandwagon

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 11, 2012

A couple of points from the Interior Department’s report on its contributions to the economy in 2011, which you can read in full, here.

First, we agree: Energy development indeed is a dynamic job creator and stimulus that ripples throughout local, state, regional and national economies. Interior says the development of oil, natural gas, coal, hydropower and other minerals on federal lands supported 1.5 million jobs and contributed $275 billion to the economy, and that’s great.

Every job is a paycheck, and energy development – whether on federal, state or private lands – is creating jobs. Lots of them. (Read here for an argument that oil and natural gas have been a lifeline for the struggling U.S. economy.) Our industry supports 9.2 million jobs overall and contributed $476 billion to the economy in 2010. And our companies are ready to do more.

That’s the other key point: If Interior is reporting that many jobs and that much economic stimulus – at a time when federal leasing and permitting policies onshore and offshore are less robust than they could be – imagine what could result with increased access to federal lands, more lease sales and a permitting process that’s been cleared of unnecessary delays and restrictions.

We already have. With the right policies in place, our industry could create 1.4 million new jobs and generate $800 billion in new revenue for governments by 2030, according to last fall’s Wood Mackenzie study. With a pro-energy development approach – expanded offshore leasing, drilling in an airport-sized parcel of the 19 million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and other pipelines, the U.S. could see 100 percent of its liquid fuel needs met domestically and from Canada by 2024.

One last point. We’re glad to see Interior’s methodology for counting jobs includes “direct,” “indirect” and “induced” jobs (see pg. 197). Maybe it’ll help cool the jets of some who’ve scoffed at jobs estimates for the oil and natural gas industry.


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.