NAM’s John Engler on Natural Gas as a Jobs Creator

In his speech to the State Chamber of Oklahoma on Thursday, National Association of Manufacturers’ President John Engler discussed jobs creation through energy, infrastructure and exports. On the energy front, he discussed the astonishing expansion of domestic natural gas production (and potential production), thanks to technological advances in hydrofracturing.

Following are his prepared remarks from that section:

In Oklahoma, a proud tradition of supporting energy has helped keep your unemployment 3 percentage points below the national average.

You’re one of the states benefiting from development of shale gas, in this case the Woodford Shale. In Texas, there’s the Barnett Shale; in Arkansas, the Fayetteville Shale; in Louisiana the Haynesville Shale. Since 2000, gas from shale has grown from less than 1 percent of the nation’s production to about 10 percent.

Perhaps the most promising development is the Marcellus Shale underneath Pennsylvania and New York and West Virginia. Analysts say the Marcellus alone has enough gas to meet the nation’s needs for at least 14 years.

These natural gas deposits are close to northeastern population and manufacturing centers – they could be a real boon to consumers and industry in the area. But environmental groups have stirred up opposition, for example, in New York State, where there’s a pitched battle going on over natural gas drilling.

Opponents play on people’s fears of a technology that’s actually been in use for decades –- hydrofracturing. Thanks to massive R&D by energy companies, the technology has been improved, made even safer, and combined with horizontal drilling to open these shale deposits.

Oklahoma’s unemployment rate in October was 7 percent.

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