The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Oil and Natural Gas Jobs, Close to Home

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 9, 2014

One way to measure the positive impact of America’s oil and natural gas industry is the 9.8 million jobs it supports nationally, accounting for 5.6 percent of total U.S. employment. Another way to look at our industry’s economic breadth is the size and diversity of supporting businesses, reaching into every state in the union and the District of Columbia.

vendorThat’s what you see in a new vendor supply survey unveiled this week, listing 30,000 operators, contractors, service companies, suppliers and other vendors that support oil and natural gas operations. Even if there isn’t an oil or natural gas well site near where you live, chances are good a business that supports the oil and natural gas industry is. Erik Milito, API’s upstream group director, talked about the first-of-its-kind survey during a conference call with reporters:

“API’s more than 600 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, service and supply firms. But oil and natural gas companies are only one part of a much larger economic success story that is creating job growth up and down the supply chain. … Thanks to innovations in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, America’s potential as an energy superpower is growing, and businesses of all types are growing with it. From the folks who make work gloves to environmental consultants, our survey identified nearly 30,000 businesses, which represent just a small cross-section of the opportunities created by America’s energy revolution.”


Milito said most of the vendors are small and mid-sized businesses that supply industry with everything from portable restrooms to accounting services. The vendor survey organizes and maps the results by congressional district (left), listing the specific businesses involved in the industry’s supply chain along with the state’s economic profile and overall oil and natural gas job numbers.

The largest number of vendors in the survey are located in oil and natural gas-producing states like Texas (11,000 supporting businesses) and Oklahoma (2,513). But even states where oil and natural gas reserves are less plentiful have significant numbers of businesses that support oil and gas operations, including Illinois (932 vendors) and New York (392).

Milito noted that even beyond major oil and natural gas-producing areas, industry is creating jobs that pay about double the average salary for all industries:

“By tracking this information and providing a list of specific businesses, we can better understand the positive effects of sound energy policies – not just to our industry, but to all the small businesses and workers who make America’s energy revolution possible. And we can show lawmakers yet another way their constituents benefit from open access to federal land and resources, fewer duplicative regulations, and free trade of American petroleum products. Taken together, these vendors and service providers are part of the often overlooked economic growth behind American oil and natural gas, and their success is critical to our energy security and our economy.”


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.