Much of the buzz in Washington is about jobs and rightly so. The August employment figures showed no jobs were added by the economy last month, setting a high-profile stage for the president's address to Congress on job creation Thursday night.

How to create jobs is the question. Energy is the answer.

A new study released today shows that the energy industry, which contributed $476 billion to the economy last year, can be a growth engine over the next two decades:

  • 1 million additional jobs by 2018, 1.4 million by 2030
  • Increasing daily oil and natural gas production by 10.3 million barrels of oil equivalent by 2030
  • Raising nearly $800 billion in cumulative government revenue by 2030

Let those numbers sink in - numbers contained in the analysis by the Wood Mackenzie research and consulting firm that compared the jobs, energy and revenues generated by existing policies with those that would result from policy changes. These include: opening federal onshore and offshore areas currently closed to energy development, approving the Keystone XL pipeline and other pipelines and setting a regulatory environment that allows full development of America's oil and natural gas resources, including those locked in shale formations. Jobs - Created in the oil and natural gas industry, in companies supplying the industry and in all communities affected by the economic activity generated by development. They would be produced in every state, benefiting thousands of businesses. While 1.4 million potential new jobs could be created by 2030, 1 million could be created as soon as 2018. "Shovel ready"? While oil and natural gas development doesn't occur overnight, there are plenty of new projects ready to launch if government gives the go-ahead and helps by streamlining the permitting process.

Energy - By fully using domestic supplies, Canada's oil sands and our own growing biofuels industry, the U.S. can meet 100 percent of its liquid fuel demand by 2026. Below, compare the forecast of the Energy Information Administration (in gray) with the energy potentials outlined in Wood Mackenzie's report (in green):


Bottom line: With the right policies in place, a child born today would be able to drive his or her car with fuels derived solely from North American sources.

Revenue - Cumulative revenue to government (including leases, state and local taxes) could reach $127 billion by 2020 and $795 billion by 2030 - of which Wood Mackenzie estimates $611 billion will be paid as federal royalties and taxes. The states would generate another $62 billion in royalties and taxes, with the remainder coming from new lease sales.

Simply put, the oil and natural gas industry is ready to help lead a real jobs recovery in this country. We recognize the importance and necessity of a strong regulatory system, supplemented with industry's standards and best practices, to help ensure safe operations and strong environmental performance. The administration has said the nation's regulatory infrastructure needs review to make it more practical and cost effective. We agree.

Meanwhile, even with growth in renewable energies, virtually all energy experts, including those in government, acknowledge that oil and natural gas will provide the majority of our energy for decades to come. Going in the direction suggested by the Wood Mackenzie study won't sacrifice or slow the nation's green future or significantly change how much oil and natural gas America uses. What it will change is how much of what we use is produced at home - compared to how much energy we import.

Americans need jobs. We can create jobs. At the end of the day, we want to work together to help improve the jobs situation while reducing the nation's debt. More domestic oil and gas development can help do both. Want to learn more? Follow the live stream of today's energy jobs summit in Washington.