Natural gas and oil continue to fuel the Keystone State’s economy and job sector, pumping billions of dollars into Pennsylvania every year and providing thousands of family-sustaining jobs, as outlined in a recent analysis conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The study, based on the latest government data available, underscores the impact of the natural gas and oil industry in Pennsylvania and how the industry not only boosts the state’s bottom line but also strengthens the entire economy.
Thanks in large part to modern hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling in the Marcellus shale, Pennsylvania is now the second-largest producer of natural gas – closing the gap between Texas, the top energy-producing state in the U.S. And with the transition to cleaner burning natural gas for electricity generation, which in 2020 reached a record-high 40 percent nationally, natural gas development in Pennsylvania has generated good jobs, contributed billions in revenue and spurred additional economic development.
According to the PwC report findings, in 2019, the natural gas and oil industry directly and indirectly:
- Supported 480,300 total jobs (102,500 direct and 377,800 indirect) or 6.1 percent of Pennsylvania’s total employment.
- Generated an additional 3.7 jobs elsewhere in Pennsylvania’s economy for each direct job in the state’s natural gas and oil industry.
- Provided $40.5 billion in labor income ($ 14.5 billion direct and $25.9 billion indirect) to Pennsylvania or 7.9 percent of the state’s total.
- Contributed $78.4 billion to Pennsylvania’s gross domestic product ($39.4 billion direct and $39 billion indirect) or 9.7 percent of the state’s total.
“This study reinforces that Pennsylvania’s economic outlook is brighter when we are leading the world in energy production, and it serves as a reminder of what’s at stake if policymakers restrict access to affordable, reliable energy and make us more dependent on foreign sources,” said American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Mike Sommers.
Yet, the Biden Administration, not long after taking office, responded to the pandemic-induced economic slump by canceling the Keystone XL pipeline and the thousands of high-paying union jobs associated with it, suspended gas and oil leasing on federal lands and threatened to increase taxes on American energy companies. And just last month, the White House called on OPEC+ nations to increase oil production to meet the heightened demand for energy and offset the highest U.S. gasoline prices in years, while, at the same time, touting a “Buy American” agenda.
These major missteps by the administration are putting U.S. energy leadership and security – as well as jobs – in jeopardy. Developing natural gas and oil here at home encourages job and economic growth and ensures Americans have access to abundant, affordable and cleaner energy.
And the demand for gas and oil isn’t declining any time soon.
Under the International Energy Agency’s Sustainable Development Scenario, natural gas and oil will furnish 46 percent of the world’s energy in 2040 – more than any other source – even if every nation meets the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.
As economic activity, travel and spending are picking up, the U.S. Energy Information Administration anticipates global oil and liquid fuels consumption will surpass 2019 levels in 2022.
To meet the demand, we should be finding ways to support safe natural gas and oil development – not obstructing it. Pennsylvania and other top energy-producing states have powered our everyday lives and sustained our economy, even amid a global pandemic.
At the national level, the PwC analysis showed the natural gas and oil industry directly and indirectly supported 11.3 million total jobs, or 5.6 percent of total U.S. employment, produced $892.7 billion in labor income and supported nearly $1.7 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product, accounting for 7.9 percent of the national total.
As the U.S. continues its economic recovery, the natural gas and oil industry is serving as an engine for long-term growth, creating good-paying jobs and delivering energy to all corners of the commonwealth and country. This study reinforces the importance of domestic natural gas and oil production and shows us what’s at stake if we return to the days of relying on foreign energy sources. We shouldn’t look beyond our borders for energy when we have it here.