The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Infrastructure, Jobs and Economic Growth

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 15, 2017

We’ve posted quite a bit recently about the need for streamlining the federal permitting process for energy infrastructure (see here and here).  An API study earlier this year estimated investments in needed natural gas and oil infrastructure could total more than a trillion dollars and potentially generate more than 1 million jobs through 2035. That’s a lot of economic potential linked to infrastructure – and in that context, President Trump’s new executive order modernizing and bringing greater accountability to the federal permitting process certainly is welcome.

It coincides with release of a new study, for North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), detailing the jobs and economic impacts of energy infrastructure construction. NABTU President Sean McGarvey and API President and CEO Jack Gerard talked about the study and America’s energy infrastructure needs during a conference call with reporters.

The pipeline employment study estimated that $6 billion to $28 billion was spent annually on new additions to and the reconstruction of existing pipelines from 2006 to 2016:

nabtu_capex_pipelines

The study:

Industrial construction is an important source of jobs for the skilled construction trades. Individuals who engage in industrial construction have certifications, licensing, and training that provide guarantees that they are competent in difficult, specialized work. Pipeline workers are an important segment of this group. Pipelines are important to the efficient operation of the U.S. economy, and pipeline construction is an important source of family supporting jobs for construction workers.

McGarvey said the study’s findings are noteworthy they show support for the economy during a period that included a recession. Pipeline construction jobs bolster America’s middle class, he said. McGarvey:

“We’re talking about average weekly earnings of almost $1,200 a week, to keep folks squarely in the middle class. We look forward, based on this study, to show the real impact of this industry on maintaining that floor.”

More projects need to be “greenlighted and approved,” McGarvey said, to generate more construction jobs:

“I think they’ll come out with a good product under this executive order that’ll protect the environment and make sure that the holistic approach is done – but that’s not the use of a thousand paper cuts across agencies … where there’s surety and predictability for project sponsors, whether they’re public entities and/or private industries, and we robustly and safely, in an environmentally friendly way, grow both our energy and public infrastructure.”

Gerard pointed out that the natural gas and oil industry supports more than 10 million U.S. jobs, and that streamlining infrastructure permitting would unleash more than a trillion dollars in investments. Gerard:

“When you combine that private capital investment, coupled with some of the public-private partnerships, you begin to see what a big difference this can make. So we applaud the administration’s efforts to say, how do we move these permits in a timely fashion to put our people to work and to provide the quality of life we all seek to have?”

Infrastructure is the key link between America’s energy wealth and consumers – individual Americans and their families, businesses, manufacturers and power providers. Pipelines deliver crude oil, petroleum products and natural gas at a safety rate of 99.999 percent, guided by globally recognized industry standards. Building these projects creates good jobs, and infrastructure means safe, reliable energy for consumers. Gerard:

“We have a good track record. Sean and I and our various groups and teams work together to ensure safety, best practices and quality control, and we continue to collaborate in those areas to benefit the broader infrastructure effort.”


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.