Below are highlights from the speech given by Jack Gerard, President and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute at the Big Brothers Big Sisters National Conference.
“The oil and natural gas industry has provided well paying jobs for generations. In the last several years the industry has been the driving force behind our nation’s achieving its status as a global energy leader. We are the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world. Not Saudi Arabia, not Russia, the United States of America. We have surpassed all expectations and achieved a level of domestic energy production that was unthinkable even five years ago and have entered into a new era I call the American energy moment.
“But this American moment does not guarantee sustained energy leadership for our nation. As my industry looks to the future it understands that sustained energy leadership will only come from ensuring that all Americans have access to the opportunities the industry provides.”
Big, better, best
“The 2015 conference theme Big, Better, Best is also a good summation of the state of America’s oil and natural gas industry. We are among the biggest employers: The industry supports 9.8 million jobs or 5.6% of total US employment. America’s oil and natural gas industry supports approximately US$1.2 trillion in US gross domestic product. And the average oil and natural gas employee makes roughly twice the national average. Also, we are always getting better at what we do.
“Through US$284 billion and growing investment in environmental protection and safety since 1990, the oil and natural gas industry has improved the environmental performance of its products, facilities and operations. From 2000 through 2012, the industry spent more on low and zero carbon emitting technologies than the federal government did, and that total is nearly as much as all other industries’ spending on these technologies combined. And according to an EPA study, even with the fourfold increase in energy production, methane emissions from hydraulic fracturing have fallen by 73% since 2011, a result of technological innovations by the oil and natural gas industry. As a result, 60% of Pennsylvania sits on the Marcellus shale play an energy rich formation that places the commonwealth at the forefront of the nation’s energy from shale revolution.”
All hands on deck
“The fact is that sustaining our nation’s energy renaissance will require an all hands on deck approach to recruitment and retention of the next generation of oil and natural gas workers. And that means we’ll need higher levels of participation by women and minorities. Because we know that for the next 7 – 10 years approximately half of the industry’s current technical personnel will retire. Replacing these jobs and creating new ones presents an historic opportunity to create an oil and natural gas workforce that reflects the increasing diversity of our nation.
“We also know that we are at the nexus of two dramatic changes to the country; first an unprecedented energy boom. Second a significant demographic change. This confluence means that in the coming decades, in order to fill the hundreds of thousands of jobs the industry will create, we’ll need to ensure that the oil and natural gas workforce of the future is as diverse as our nation.”
“According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, The US ranks 27 out of 34 developed nations in the proportion of college students receiving undergraduate degrees in science or engineering. The report emphasises the fact that in the decades ahead the oil, natural gas and petrochemical industries will spur the creation of hundreds of thousands of new, well paying jobs that require people with a wide range of skill sets, training and educational achievement levels. And to maintain this American energy moment, we need a workforce prepared for the thousands of well paying career opportunities our industry will create with the right energy policies.
“Specifically, we need to increase the number of STEM graduates to ensure that we have a workforce capable of continuing America’s 21st century energy renaissance and global energy leadership. And in that area we have some work to do.”
“By working with organisations like Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America it is our goal to increase the number of STEM graduates to ensure that we have a workforce capable of continuing America’s 21st century energy renaissance and global energy leadership. We want to work with you to ensure that anyone who wants a well paying career has that opportunity. Because that’s the only way we will seize America’s energy moment. Because ultimately we want an oil and natural gas workforce of the future that is as diverse as our nation so that we can continue to provide energy to fuel our nation’s economy and ever growing worldwide demand for cleaner, cheaper energy.”
“After all, future generations are counting on us to implement policies that promote educational achievement, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math because it will largely be those subjects that determine who will benefit most in the 21st century.”
Edited from speech by Claira Lloyd