The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

The Jobs Focus

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted November 15, 2012

It’s good that President Obama is well-focused on job creation. In his news conference this week, the president mentioned jobs 10 times and suggested that economic growth and creating more jobs have primacy over all other issues:

“Right now, our economy is still recovering from a very deep and damaging crisis, so our top priority has to be jobs and growth.  We’ve got to build on the progress that we’ve made, because this nation succeeds when we’ve got a growing, thriving middle class.”

Speaking about fiscal negotiations in Washington, the president said:

“I think that fair-minded people can come to an agreement that does not cause the economy to go back into recession, that protects middle-class families, that focuses on jobs and growth, and reduces our deficit.”

And on Washington’s priorities:

“I think the American people right now have been so focused, and will continue to be focused on our economy and jobs and growth, that if the message is somehow we're going to ignore jobs and growth … I don't think anybody is going to go for that.  I won't go for that.”

America’s oil and natural gas companies share President Obama’s desire to see new jobs created. More jobs is at the core of promoting increased domestic oil and gas exploration and development – which can drive job growth and broader economic expansion, as projected in this year’s IHS Global Insight (3.5 million jobs by 2035) study and Wood Mackenzie’s 2011 analysis (1.4 million jobs by 2030).

The oil and natural gas industry is a proven, dynamic job creator that’s lifting other sectors like manufacturing and petrochemicals. A Washington Post article details how affordable, available natural gas is generating an economic wave:

"Methanex Corp., which closed its last U.S. chemical plant in 1999, is spending more than half a billion dollars to dismantle a methanol plant in Chile and move it to the parish. Nearby, a petrochemical company, Williams, is spending $400 million to expand an ethylene plant. And on Nov. 1, CF Industries unveiled a $2.1 billion expansion of its nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing complex, aiming to displace imports that now make up half of U.S. nitrogen fertilizer sales. These companies all rely heavily on natural gas. And across the country, companies like them are crediting the sudden abundance of cheap natural gas for revving up their U.S. operations. Thanks to new applications of drilling technology to unlock natural gas trapped in shale rock, the nation’s output has surged and energy experts almost unanimously forecast that prices will remain low or moderate for a generation."   

Ride the wave, Mr. President. Join the 73 percent of Americans who support production of more U.S. oil and natural gas – and the 91 percent who believe that increased production will create more U.S. jobs.
One step is relatively simple and could happen right away: Approve the entire Keystone XL pipeline project. The president can declare that the pipeline is in the national interest and get full construction under way. This is energy infrastructure that’s essential to strengthening our partnership with Canada, and it will immediately create thousands of new U.S. jobs. API Executive Vice President Marty Durbin, during a conference call with reporters:

“President Obama campaigned on job creation and on an all-of-the-above energy strategy, including more oil and natural gas.  And our exit polls last week showed that’s where voters are as well. … Through greater utilization of Canadian oil sands, we have an important opportunity to create jobs, generate government revenue, and strengthen our energy security – and Keystone XL is a critical part of the necessary infrastructure.  And let’s not forget that the pipeline will also provide the means to get more of the production from North Dakota, Montana and elsewhere to market, providing enormous consumer benefit.”

The Keystone XL is just part of a true all-of-the above energy strategy that also includes opening access to American oil and natural gas resources, onshore and offshore, and developing a common-sense approach to regulating development. Americans embrace oil and gas because its reliability and affordability make their modern lifestyles possible. As Washington works to boost the economy while addressing the budget deficit, policymakers should embrace them as well.

“We need to get focused on what the American people are focused on,” API President and CEO Jack Gerard said at Politico’s “Energy and the Presidency” event this week. No question, it’s jobs. Our industry is creating them – and is ready to create even more.

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.