A new study estimates oil and gas development in the Gulf of Mexico supported 345,000 jobs in the United States and contributed $28.7 billion to the nation’s economy in 2019.
The study, “The Gulf of Mexico Oil & Gas Project Lifecycle: Building an American Energy & Economic Anchor,” conducted on behalf of the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) by the consulting firm Energy and Industrial Advisory Partners, was released August 12.
Gulf oil job and economic impact numbers will likely grow unless they are derailed by climate and environmental policies imposed by the Biden administration, said the study.
Gulf Production Boosts Jobs
The report identified more than 200 different types of jobs directly involved in offshore oil and gas projects.
These jobs pay annual wages significantly higher than the national average.
“With average annual wages of $69,650, U.S. offshore oil and gas wages are 29 percent higher than the national average and many of the jobs identified in the report bring in wages significantly higher than that,” says the report.
Gulf exploration and production benefits U.S. workers and the general public, said Erik Milito President of NOIA, in a press release accompanying release of the study, cautioning leasing moratoriums, like the one President Joe Biden imposed shortly after taking office, could disrupt economic gains.
“The multitude and diversity of U.S. offshore oil and gas jobs begin well before any lease sale,” said Milito. “These jobs, which are high paying and accessible, lift countless Gulf Coast communities and support the investment footprint of businesses in every single U.S. state.
“The Gulf of Mexico has transformed into a national strategic infrastructure asset, and we must make every effort to sustain it through a predictable regulatory system that includes regularly scheduled lease sales and continued permitting,” Milito said. “Government policy should continue to encourage investment in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico energy sector to secure the tremendous energy, climate, and national security benefits for American citizens, as well as help avert potential inflationary risks associated with high energy costs.
America will continue to need oil and gas for the foreseeable future and it is better for our economy and the environment if it is produced domestically rather than imported from abroad, Milito said.
“As long as Americans depend upon oil and gas for modern life, it must come from somewhere and it is clearly better to get oil and gas here at home than from a foreign state with weak environmental safeguards,” Milito said.
‘Worst President … for Energy Security’
Biden’s policies are putting the United States at a competitive and geo-political disadvantage, says Dan Kish, senior vice president for Policy at the American Energy Alliance.
“Just last month President Biden was begging OPEC to produce more oil, and Russia is now the number 2 exporter of oil into the United States,” said Kish. “Rather than put Americans and Canadians to work supplying secure North American supplies, Biden is ensuring that we will become energy dependent on OPEC countries and, through his Green New Deal, ultimately China.
“The NOIA study should affect the Biden Administration policy but it will not,” Kish said. “President Biden is committed to stopping oil and gas development through whatever means he can.”
Current administration policy risks the the United States current position and a global leader in oil and gas production, says Kish.
“Leasing makes America stronger, provides jobs and lessens energy costs to Americans,” said Kish. “Everything Joe Biden is doing is just the opposite. He is the worst president for American energy security in U.S. history.”
Kevin Stone (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes from Arlington, Texas.