Dominant Jobs and Economic Impact of Oil and Natural Gas Obscured in DOI's Economic Contributions Report

July 9, 2012

Western Energy Alliance highlights the true numbers

(DENVER)- The Department of the Interior's Economic Contributions – Fiscal Year 2011 published today obscures the truly dominant role of the oil and natural gas industry in supplying the economic and jobs impact claimed by the Department of Interior (DOI). Western Energy Alliance attempts to shine some light on the numbers and point out that the government doesn't actually generate the economic value; economic impact is created by oil, natural gas, coal, and timber companies; ranchers; and other productive users creating value on public lands administered by DOI.

"By lumping all energy sources together in the Executive Summary and throughout the document, the true contribution of the oil and natural gas industry is not readily apparent," said Kathleen Sgamma, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs. "By analyzing the numbers, it's apparent that the oil and natural gas industry provides $238.5 billion and 1.3 million jobs, or 62% of the total economic value and 56% of the jobs that the Department of the Interior claims in its report. This is not value generated by the government – it's the result of private sector investment, technical innovation, and productive activity on public lands."

From the report's Executive Summary: "Energy and Minerals: Exploitation of oil, gas, coal, hydropower and other minerals on Federal lands supported 1.5 million jobs and $275 billion in economic activity."

Behind the Numbers: Oil and natural gas development and production creates the overwhelming majority of the jobs and economic value in the Energy & Minerals category. The breakdown is: 1

  • Oil and Natural Gas – 1,339,956 jobs (88%), $238.5 billion (87%)
  • Other Minerals – 122,928 jobs (8%), $21.2 billion (7.7%)
  • Coal 3.3% – 49,600 jobs (3%), $11.7 billion (4%)
  • Solar – 6,747 jobs (.4%), $1.4 billion (0.5%)
  • Hydropower – 4,981 jobs (0.3%), $1.6 billion (0.6%)
  • Geothermal – 3,029 jobs (0.2%), $610 million (0.2%)
  • Wind – 688 jobs (0.05%), $100 million (0.04%)

About Western Energy Alliance
Western Energy Alliance, founded in 1974 as the Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States, is a non-profit trade association representing 400 companies engaged in all aspects of environmentally responsible exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the West. More information on Western Energy Alliance and its members is available at

1 Note that Interior's report contains some missing data, and Western Energy Alliance had to do some extrapolation.