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Gerard speaks to the American Association of Blacks in Energy

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Below are highlights from a speech given by Jack Gerard, American Petroleum Institute President and CEO to the American Association of Blacks in Energy.

“The US IS the leader in natural gas production and a leader in crude oil production. Not Saudi Arabia, not Russia…The United States of America. In a few short years, we have surpassed all expectations and achieved a level of domestic energy production that was unthinkable even five years ago, which signals that this nation has entered into a new era I call the America moment. Globally, this American moment has added significantly to the worldwide energy supply that has led to reduced energy costs, which benefit America’s consumers.”

“Nationally, America’s oil and natural gas industry supports approximately US$1.2 trillion in US gross domestic product and provides US$85 million a day to the federal governments in the form of royalties, bonuses paid at lease sales and taxes. And the industry supports 9.8 million jobs, 5.6% of total US employment. And while the recent swings in the price of oil have led to some restructuring in the oil industry, including some layoffs, this is not the long term story or trend for the industry.

“The reality is, North American energy production is expected to increase for many years to come and as a result, so is the number of jobs available within the industry. Today, we stand at the nexus of two dramatic changes to our country; first an unprecedented energy boom. Second a significant demographic change toward an even more diverse society. This confluence means that in the coming decades, in order to fill the hundreds of thousands of jobs the industry will create, we’ll need to ensure that the oil and natural gas workforce of the future is as diverse as our nation. To achieve that goal we need to understand where we stand now. As the national trade association representing America’s oil and natural gas industry, we understand the need to ensure that tomorrow’s workforce is diverse. Because, not only is it the right thing to do, it is a long term business imperative.”

All hands on deck

The employment and demographic trends make it clear that in order to sustain our nation’s global energy leadership created by the North American energy renaissance we need an all hands on deck approach to recruitment and retention of the next generation of oil and natural gas workers. And that means we’ll need higher levels of participation by women and minorities.

“To get a handle on the industry’s future workforce, and what that means for women and minorities, API commissioned IHS Global to examine potential job opportunities through 2030. The report ‘Minority and Female Employment in the Oil & Gas and Petrochemical Industries,” estimates that over 950 000 job opportunities could be created by 2020 and nearly 1.3 million job opportunities through 2030 across the country in the oil and natural gas and petrochemicals industry. In addition to these new jobs, there are a significant number of existing jobs that will need to be filled as a result of the expected crew change, a 7 – 10 year period when roughly half of the oil and natural gas industry’s technical personnel will retire.

“The overarching message of the report is that if our nation is to fulfil its potential as a global energy leader the oil and natural gas industry must remain focused on attracting and retaining workers, management teams and senior executives that reflect the growing diversity of our nation. Nationally, the report projects that, on our current course, almost 408 000 positions of the 1.3 million opportunities, roughly one third of total expected growth, will go to African American and Hispanic workers.”

“African Americans are expected to account for 8%; Hispanics 24% and women 15% of total job opportunities in our industry. The report also estimates that African American and Hispanic workers are projected to make up nearly 20% of new hires in management, business, and financial jobs through 2030. And keep in mind that these estimates are based on current and projected trends in factors such as labour force participation rates and educational attainment. We should consider these projections more as a floor, not a ceiling.”


“Bottom line, we need to increase the number of STEM graduates to ensure that we have a workforce capable of continuing America’s 21st century energy renaissance and global energy leadership. And in that are we have some work to do. For example, between 2003 – 2013, women earned 58% of all bachelor’s degrees awarded in the US, but only 36% of the STEM bachelor’s degrees. And between 2001 – 2010, African Americans were awarded 9.6% of all bachelor’s degrees, and only 7/2% of all STEM bachelor’s degrees. During the same period, Latinos were awarded 8.6% of all bachelor’s degrees, and 7.3% of all STEM bachelor’s degrees. We simply must do better as a nation if we are going to remain a global energy leader.

“Because it will be up to the next generation of Americans to expand and maintain our nation’s energy abundance and global energy leadership; it is up to our generation to make sure that you have skills, knowledge and information needed to make the most of that opportunity. Our goal is to ensure that anyone who wants a well paying career has that opportunity. Because that’s the only way we will seize America’s energy moment. Ultimately we want an oil and natural gas workforce that reflects the diversity of our nation because that is the only way our industry can continue to provide the energy to fuel our nation’s economy and ever growing worldwide demand for cleaner, cheaper energy. More broadly, all of us must remain engaged in the national energy conversation.”

Understanding energy

“Our goal is to create a new American understanding of energy, and with it a national energy policy, based on science, the free market and entrepreneurial spirit because energy is too important and fundamental to our way of life for anything else. Ultimately we want to create an American consensus on energy policy that will allow our nation to take full advantage of its bright energy future. What we want and what the American people deserve is energy policy that continues the trend of our nation becoming energy self sufficient and THE global energy leader. Other nations are ready to take our place if we falter.

“The decisions our country makes in this are now will determine our nation’s energy future course for generations to come. It is my view that we have a responsibility to future generations to get our nation’s energy policy right, seize this American moment to ensure that our nation is second to none in energy production, security and economic prosperity. If we do that future generations will only know the US as a global energy leader.”

Edited from speech by Claira Lloyd

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