Western Producers Could Create 120,905 Jobs, $383.5 Billion in Economic Impact

May 9, 2012

New study quantifies cost of burdensome, multi-year approval process for oil and natural gas development on public lands


(DENVER)- Western Energy Alliance today pointed to a new study on oil and natural gas development on federal lands in the West, which highlights the adverse impacts of public lands policies on jobs, investment, and state revenue. Economic Impacts of Oil & Gas Development on Federal lands in the West, prepared by SWCA Environmental Consultants, details the huge economic impact of 22 oil and natural gas projects proposed in the West. Collectively, these projects could create 120,905 jobs, $8 billion in wages, $27.5 billion in economic activity, and $139 million in government revenue every year. The total economic impact of these 22 projects over their anticipated 10-15 year lifespan is $383.5 billion.


In the federal oil and natural gas process, companies are responsible for proposing projects, and the Bureau of Land Management or the Forest Service is responsible for completing the environmental analysis required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Development, and the resulting jobs and economic growth, cannot proceed until the government completes the NEPA analysis.


"Government delays during the environmental analysis phase are preventing significant job creation and economic activity," said Kathleen Sgamma, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs. "If we look at projects outstanding for three years, which represent about 1,631 wells per year, we see that federal government delays are preventing the creation of 64,805 jobs, $4.3 billion in wages, and $14.9 billion in economic impact every year.


"Our members, especially the small independent businesses who are the backbone of the western economy, know first-hand how difficult it is to operate on public lands. Federal policies discourage domestic oil and natural gas production, and put the West at a disadvantage compared to other regions of the country without a preponderance of public lands. This study provides hard evidence of how bureaucratic delays are adversely affecting small businesses and working families," said Sgamma.


Key Findings of Economic Impacts of Oil & Gas Development on Federal lands in the West:

  • The projects proposed in Wyoming could create 58,480 jobs, $14.8 billion in economic impact, and $82.5 million in government revenue annually, based on 1,720 wells drilled per year.
  • The projects proposed in Utah could create 62,425 jobs, $12.7 billion in economic impact, and $56.7 million in government revenue annually, based on 1,445 wells drilled per year.
  • The majority of the wells, 30,789, are proposed in NEPA documents that have been underway for over two years. Many of these were begun over five years ago, delaying projects for years past the usual processing times.
  • Outstanding projects delayed over three years represent 22,835 proposed wells, or about 1,631 wells per year. Federal government delays to these projects are preventing the creation of 64,805 jobs, $4.3 billion in wages, and $14.9 billion in economic impact every year.

Click here to view Economic Impacts of Oil & Gas Development on Federal lands in the West.

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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 www.westernenergyalliance.org.