ConocoPhillips CEO James Mulva in the WSJ
"Even after 103,000 jobs were added during September, unemployment remains at 9.1%. Counting those who have given up the job search or accepted a part-time job, economists calculate actual unemployment at a staggering 16.5%. Where will the growth come from that can help get people back to work?
One source is the natural gas industry, which is already generating jobs by the thousands, all without government subsidy. And it can generate even more, if we unleash this resource's full potential.
More than 600,000 Americans already explore, produce, store and transport natural gas, according to consultancy IHS Global Insight. For example, in Texas the Barnett shale gas field has created 100,000 jobs since the mid-1990s, and the Eagle Ford field is expected to create 68,000 jobs by 2020. In addition, IHS Global Insight estimates another 2.2 million jobs nationwide are sustained indirectly by the incomes of natural gas workers, or in companies that service the industry.
At least 15 states now produce shale gas and others may join them. The largest shale area, the still-emerging Marcellus, covers much of the Northeast and already supports 140,000 jobs in Pennsylvania alone.
Natural gas and shale gas heat homes, schools and factories, generate electricity and serve as feedstock in plastics, chemicals and fertilizer. They are familiar, safe and affordable. Abundant reserves—North America has an estimated 100-plus year supply, according to the Department of Energy—mean natural gas prices will remain reasonable, giving energy-dependent American manufacturers an edge in competing for global business.
The natural gas industry is growing, and its growth can help put the country back to work."
MP: The chart above shows the significant growth over the last five years in natural gas production in the U.S., which recently surpassed Russia to become the No. 1 producer of gas in the world.