Oil and Gas Jobs Increase by 75,000 Under Obama — 69,000 More Than Would Be Created By Keystone XL

Approximately 75,000 jobs were created in the oil and gas sector under the Obama Administration between 2009 to 2011, according to analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That’s roughly 69,000 more jobs than would be created by construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

The figures, reviewed by the Center for American Progress, show that overall employment in oil and gas (extraction, field support, pipeline construction and transportation, and petroleum refineries) increased by 13% in the last two years.

The figures do not include categories such as gasoline stations, fuel dealers, asphalt paving, or lubrication production.

This strong increase in American fossil fuel jobs contradicts the arguments made by supporters of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, who have attacked the Obama Administration for denying the initial permit for the pipeline due to environmental concerns.

The oil and gas industry claims that Keystone XL will create up to 20,000 direct and indirect jobs. But more careful research of those jobs claims — analysis that is backed up by the State Department, Cornell University and TransCanada, the company building the pipeline — has shown that the number is closer to 6,000 jobs.

Armed with these inflated figures (which are still about 55,000 less than jobs created in the last two years), Keystone XL supporters have argued that the tar sands pipeline will be a panacea for job creation in America. In response to today’s news that the Obama Administration would reject the Keystone XL permit and ask TransCanada to file for another, Keystone supporters lined up to lambaste the President.

Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donahue said it proves “that creating jobs is not a high priority for this administration.”

And Republican Presidential front-runner Mitt Romney laid it on thick: “If Americans want to understand why unemployment in the United States has been stuck above 8 percent for the longest stretch since the Great Depression, decisions like this one are the place to begin.”

But here’s the deep, dirty little secret not mentioned by fossil fuel champions who falsely claim the Administration is killing oil and gas jobs: Since Obama took office, oil production has increased substantially — with more drilling rigs being deployed in America today than at any time since the mid 1980’s.

This increase in production has already resulted in 12 times the jobs that would be created to build the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Do you hear any mention of that from political candidates or the fossil fuel lobby? Absolutely not. And you never will.

These jobs figures prove once again that no matter how aggressively this Administration promotes oil and gas — alienating the environmental base in the process — political opponents will attack Obama in any way they can.

You can find the BLS figures here.

Zach Rybarczyk and Daniel J. Weiss contributed to this report.

18 Responses to Oil and Gas Jobs Increase by 75,000 Under Obama — 69,000 More Than Would Be Created By Keystone XL

  1. squidboy6 says:

    I’m glad I’ve read this here and it’s not really surprising. I’ve always felt that one goal that Bush had was to raise the costs of oil so much that US fields would be pumped again. Destabilizing the Middle East was the reason to invade Iraq…

    It’ll cut Obama both ways and the Right will deny it happened. The Keystone pipeline may create that many jobs but I’d rather it went somewhere else.

  2. prokaryotes says:

    I suppose this has todo with the opt-outing from foreign oil resources?

  3. Joe says:

    While I certainly support Obama over Bush, I would not be quick to give O’s administration credit for the increase in oil jobs and production. The stage was set for that to happen during B’s regime. What data (policies, etc) demonstrates that O had anything to do with the numbers cited in this article. He walked into it like he walked into the economic mess.

  4. Colorado Bob says:

    The oil field yardstick –
    The Baker Hughes rig count

    HOUSTON — The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. is down by 20 this week to 1,987.

    The Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday that 1,191 rigs were exploring for oil and 791 for natural gas. Five were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago this week Baker Hughes reported 1,700 active rigs, 187 fewer than this year.

    Read more here:

    We added 200 rigs to the fleet in a year, that’s about as fast as they can be built.
    Because of the gas boom , a lot of these drills are big hole rigs. They are very big.

  5. Colorado Bob says:

    The rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. A low of 488 was recorded in 1999.

  6. Colorado Bob says:

    That 4530 number , I was part of that boom .

    Here’s how to work every morning –

    Lama toeing in, High Uintas Utah. (Submitted by Laura Cullen) Via USA Doodlebuggers

    I nearly cried when I saw this picture.
    It could be the best shot of a Lama ever taken. Which brings up the “Best Long Line Pilot” I ever saw.
    “Charlie “Blaze”
    I, and all my co-workers put our lives in the hands and feet of these pilots. So, we were pretty good judges about how good these guys were. It was an interesting group of men. Mostly small in height, but never short on balls. We flew when the Vietnam pilots were all getting 10 or so years into their careers. That’s mostly who we rode with. I did a little flyin’ with a fellow that became a helicopter pilot from Korea, and one who put himself through helicopter school …. Charlie “Blaze”.

  7. Joan says:

    Just discovered Cornell University’s updated (Jan2012) report “Pipe Dreams? Jobs gained, jobs lost by the construction of Keystone XL”. I didn’t realize before that “If approved, KXL will almost certainly be constructed by temporary labor working with steel made in Canada and India. Much of the Tar Sands oil will be refined in Port Arthur, Texas, where the refinery is half-owned by Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company of Saudi Arabia. And a good portion of the oil that will gush down the KXL will, according to some studies, probably end up being finally consumed beyond the territorial United States.” (see page 3 of the Cornell Report.

  8. Colorado Bob says:

    FaceBook – “What’s on your mind?”
    Me – ” I’ll believe corporations are people , when Texas executes one of them. “

  9. John Tucker says:

    Not really something to be proud of.

    Looking at the GG numbers I dont see how things could be worse. Im sure they could. But even though we’ve been in a recession and there has been a renewables push – greenhouse gases continue to grow more rapidly.

    If someone could give a different perspective I would like to see it.

    Personally I feel I need to go through the numbers in more depth. Basically now, after “Natural gas as a bridge fuel” and the Anti Nuclear push I dont think you can blindly trust anyone on this matter.

    Things are not looking up and I would like to see someone prove me incorrect. Honestly.

  10. John Tucker says:

    Also todays “victory” on keystone – without closing oil sands just means that more pollution will occur in transporting oil sands oil over time.

    So as is its probably increased GG too.

    With “success” like this I would hate to see failure.

  11. wili says:

    It looks like Obama really took the Repubs motto ‘drill baby drill’ to heart. Is this something we should be happy about.

    We can only hope that this delay gives the world time to start to come to its senses and start to turn away from fossil fuels.

    Meanwhile, the latest satellite imagery from the Arctic shows a large and angry, deep red blotch of the highest concentrations of methane over the East Siberian Arctic Shelf ever recorded (as far as I can see):

  12. BillD says:

    It’s troubling that the GOP disinformation/make up stuff machine is always being quoted. They just say what that want to believe about Obama and our country and after a while just about everyone starts believing at least some of it. Too bad that journalists seem to never check this stuff.

  13. mulp says:

    No one responds to the attacks on Obama by pointing out the three years of increased US oil production, the first sustained increase since Reagan killed the energy independence programs of Nixon and Carter in favor of increased oil imports.

    And no one is calling for expanding the gas pipeline network inside the US to supply natgas into more of the Northeast where the demand for heating oil creates a demand for oil imports because product pipelines are insufficient to supply domestic oil. But then, that creates jobs in construction that would benefit Obama…

    The alternative solution for the Northeast is energy efficiency to drastically cut demand for oil for heating, a big job creating capitalism investment program that creates demand in constructions. But that favors Obama….

    But then, creating increased delivered supply of natgas and reduced heating oil demand in the Northeast would benefit industry in the Northeast, and that would favor Obama….

    Anything that favors Obama must be opposed because he is an illegitimate president.

  14. Depressing!

    How many jobs in clean tech/green energy has this administration created?

  15. Pangolin says:

    When we have 75,000 new jobs drilling for enhanced geothermal power we can cheer. Every singly one of these jobs further damages our atmosphere and accelerates climate change.

  16. Nona Roach says:

    New drilling in the Balkan Shale are what has created these new jobs. I would rather have the pipeline where we can start to get away from Middle East oil and at least turn to North America for our supplies. No matter how many jobs it creates the ability to put more of our own oil into the pipeline and refine our own oil has got to be a great thing for the country.

  17. Paul Revere says:

    Aren’t a lot of the gas jobs due to the hydrofracking boom which people here seem to hate so much?