By BRANDON ROBERTS
HUNTINGTON – A new Wood Mackenzie study commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute revealed pro-development regulations for oil and natural gas production in the United States could dramatically improve the nation’s economic prospects for the foreseeable future.
The study shows nationally by the year 2035, pro-energy policies could yield an additional 2.3 million jobs, $443 billion in gross domestic product and $122 billion in tax revenues annually.
An American Petroleum Institute survey of 230 oil and natural gas vendors in West Virginia showed the industry contributes $5.8 billion to the state’s economy and supports 80,400 jobs. The study also shows the average annual salary earned by oil and natural gas industry workers is $74,450, compared to the average annual salary of $39,519 in West Virginia.
“These job and labor income figures demonstrate the people of West Virginia enjoy significant benefits from energy development,” according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Although West Virginia ranks 20th in oil production, it is ninth in natural gas production, which makes it one of the nation’s top energy-producing states.”
The survey also shows West Virginia particularly benefits from oil and natural gas production from “tight formation” shales using the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, method of extraction.
“The total number of jobs supported by hydraulic fracturing reached 11,884 in West Virginia in 2012,” according to the Energy Information Administration. “The job total is expected to rise to 29,656 in 2020 and 58,244 by 2035.”
An American Petroleum Institute blog at energytomorrow.org titled “Energizing West Virginia” explored the oil and natural gas industry’s intrinsic value and details how a re-invigorated partnership between the industry and the state bodes well for the state.