Posted October 8, 2014
Energy already is generating benefits for North Carolina and its economy, and things could get a lot better with the right oil and natural gas policies in place – an important point as North Carolinians get ready to vote in a U.S. Senate race that has national implications.
Advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling could get under way early next year with the finalizing of state rules for safe and responsible development.
This fits with recent polling showing that strong majorities of registered North Carolina voters support increased domestic oil and natural gas production, including 91 percent who say more production could lead to more U.S. jobs and 89 percent who say more oil and gas could help stimulate the economy. North Carolina Petroleum Council Executive Director David McGowan:
“The people of North Carolina get it. America’s economic future, the availability of affordable and reliable energy, depends on the policies created today.”
North Carolinians feel this way because the oil and natural gas industry already is helping drive the state economy:
- 146,100 direct and indirect jobs supported by oil and gas operations, according to a PwC study
- $6.7 billion in labor income or 2.6 percent of the state’s total labor income
- $12.5 billion contributed to the state economy overall
- $51,651 average oil and natural gas industry annual salary, compared to $43,758 average for all industries and sectors in the state
The good news is that energy can drive more growth in North Carolina. With access for safe exploration and drilling on the Atlantic outer continental shelf beyond the state’s shores, a study by Quest Offshore Resources projects that North Carolina could see additional benefits:
- $26.4 billion in cumulative oil and natural gas industry spending, 2017-2035
- 55,422 in employment by 2035
- $4 billion added to the state economy
- $3.9 billion in cumulative state government revenue, 2017-2035
Significant numbers – if access to the outer continental shelf is granted and if safe seismic testing is permitted to specify the resource base. These are important “ifs” – policy decisions, many of which will be decided in Washington.
Oil and natural gas development – in North Carolina and the rest of the country – is a crucial piece of an all-of-the-above approach to energy. Energy isn’t a Democrat or Republican issue. It’s one that affects every American and policies directing our energy course should be developed in a bipartisan manner so that the benefits of safe and responsible energy development can reach everyone.
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.