The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

A Question of Leadership

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 24, 2012

On energy and jobs, we need leadership. Presidential leadership. We hear about an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, but we are not seeing those words followed by substantive actions to expand and strengthen U.S. domestic production. At the same time we need leadership to capitalize on the oil and natural gas industry’s demonstrated ability to create jobs, millions of them – and billions in revenue to the government. We’re sitting on a lottery ticket, and we need to make sure we don’t squander this opportunity for our country.

During a conference call with reporters on API’s new “American Energy Works” campaign, President and CEO Jack Gerard challenged the administration to back its words with policies that help increase domestic oil and natural gas exploration and development.

Gerard said the United States is on the verge of a “new energy paradigm” in which North American energy resources are developed – in the process creating jobs and making the U.S. energy self-sufficient, perhaps within a dozen years. Again, it comes down to leadership. Gerard:

“It’s a game-changing opportunity we’ve never seen in our lifetimes. … The president says he’s for all of the above, but when you look beneath the surface the president’s policies, practices and regulations have actually discouraged production of oil and natural gas.”

“American Energy Works” tells the stories of a number of the people in the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 9.2 million jobs. These are the faces and voices of people benefiting from well-paying jobs, more of which could be created with an energy approach that’s all of the above – and below. Gerard:

“The oil and natural gas industry has been a major job creator at a time when overall U.S. job creation has stagnated. It has created thousands of jobs while other industries have been losing jobs or, at best, holding steady.”

The great news is this industry is ready to do more. With the right leadership and policies, it could create 1.4 million jobs by 2030. It’s an industry that’s investing in America, doubling down on her future. Our companies claimed five of the top 11 spots on the Progressive Policy Institute’s recent list of the top 25 nonfinancial U.S.-based companies, ranked by their 2011 U.S. capital spending. There can be more investment, more jobs, more energy – with the right leadership.

It’s not going to come from those running unrealistic “beyond” campaigns to halt the development of fossil fuels, including oil and natural gas. Gerard:

“They say we can stop using oil right now. If this campaign is beyond anything it’s beyond sense. These groups need to be asked, what is their solution to power America’s economy? … Their campaign would put a halt to the creation of jobs that have been a lifeline to thousands of working Americans. It would hurt people who need work and those looking for new opportunities.”

It might set us back centuries. So, a pair of questions:

  1. Given America’s ample reserves of oil and natural gas, onshore and offshore, will there be leadership to develop our energy wealth or policies that keep that wealth off limits, unavailable?
  2. For those who oppose oil and natural gas: What’s your plan? What’s your plan to run an economy that currently gets more than 60 percent of its energy from oil and natural gas and which is projected by government to get nearly 60 percent of its energy from oil and gas over the next couple of decades?    

Gerard:

“Our industry is going to continue investing in America. And it’s going to continue to support common-sense energy policies that encourage development of all of our nation’s energy resources. That’s the only way we’ll be able to meet our future energy needs, supply affordable energy to our economy and, most importantly at this critical time, put people back to work.”

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.