Despite Overregulation, Western Exploration and Production Industry Continues to Make Significant Economic Contributions to the Nation

October 5, 2016
  • Western oil and natural gas producers support 177,058 jobs, $49.2 billion in annual economic benefit
  • Misguided federal policies result in 55% collapse in royalties, while nonfederal royalties remain buoyant

(DENVER) - According to updated economic data, the western oil and natural gas exploration and production (E&P) industry supports 177,058 jobs across the United States and remains a major economic contributor with $49.2 billion in annual economic activity.

The Western Oil and Natural Gas Employs America: 2016 economic model developed by John Dunham & Associates shows the current impact of the western E&P industry in every state, county and congressional district across the country. The model does not include midstream and downstream activities. While burdensome regulations and market conditions have slowed the growth of development, oil and natural gas production is up by 20% since the study was last conducted in 2014. The western E&P sector provides $14.5 billion in wages to working families across the country and over $13 billion in taxes annually, making it an important source of revenue to local, state and federal governments. 

“The E&P industry has faced many regulatory challenges and tough market conditions since the last economic analysis was released, and jobs in the industry are down as a result,” said Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of government and public affairs.  “While President Obama claims credit for increased oil and natural gas production in America, the reality is that federal policies have slowed recovery and resulted in the collapse of royalties from federal lands by 55%. Meanwhile, oil and natural gas royalties from private lands remain buoyant, with only a 4% decrease. The effects of misguided federal policy continue to be sharply reflected in the numbers.”

The model quantifies the impact from just the oil and natural gas E&P sector in the western states of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Although the energy is produced from the West, the economic impact is across the entire nation.  

To see where western oil and natural gas companies are creating jobs and economic growth, visit