The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energy and Employment Gain

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted November 29, 2012

Check out this tweet from earlier in the week from Ryan Avent, economics correspondent The Economist in Washington, D.C.:

According to government data, on a percentage basis four metro areas situated in big-time energy-producing locations lead the nation in employment growth, basically, over the past five years. No coincidence, we think.

That’s because there’s been an almost unending stream of anecdotal evidence of the economic stimulus that’s being provided by the oil and natural gas industry – in Texas, North Dakota, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and other states. A couple of examples …

There was this earlier this fall from regional economic development officials in Corpus Christi, Texas (reported by KIIITV.com):

"According to the Regional Economic Development Corporation, since September of 2009, the Corpus Christi area has added 11,600 new jobs. Of course, the Eagle Ford Shale discovery has helped to fuel the growth in our area. Forbes Magazine has listed Corpus Christi at number six in the country among those mid-sized cities which are seeing thriving economies. Projections over the next 30 years also show salaries will rise and another 110,000 people will be added to the workforce."

And this from the Washington Post, on the job-creating revival of U.S. manufacturing, connected to plentiful and affordable natural gas:

"Consider the rising fortunes of Ascension Parish, La. 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."

The Post links energy development with manufacturing gains across the U.S.:

"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. The International Energy Agency says that by 2015, the United States will overtake Russia as the world’s biggest gas producer."

We could go on. These are just two instances where the oil and natural gas industry is leading economic opportunity, creating jobs, boosting employment. And it can do more. With more domestic resource areas opened to drilling – conventional as well as shale drilling using hydraulic fracturing – a common-sense approach to regulation and policies that encourage energy investment, our industry could create 1.4 million new jobs and generate $800 billion in additional revenue for government by 2030. Here’s how the job growth could look, according to Wood Mackenzie’s 2011 study:

There’s tremendous opportunity at hand. If we take it there’ll be more good-news employment reports from Washington.

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.