News outlets have been covering ExxonMobil’s request for a court to review the U.S. Interior Department’s rejection of plans to develop our Julia oil discovery in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. I don’t plan to argue the case here. What I do want to talk about today are the headlines about a significant oil discovery and the questions from media and others about why we didn’t trumpet it from the rooftops when we made the find several years ago.
During these challenging economic times, there are plenty of facts and figures to show how the U.S. oil and natural gas industry is creating jobs and economic opportunity across the United States. But just as powerful, I think, are the real-life stories from where the job growth is actually taking place. And it’s happening in places you might not expect.
The SEAB shale gas report: More time and including industry experts would have led to a better report
On Thursday, the Department of Energy released the first of two reports from the panel established by the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) to make recommendations regarding safe and environmentally responsible shale gas development. The report rightly acknowledges the importance of shale gas development and steps taken by industry to protect groundwater. Some of the report’s other conclusions and recommendations, however, lead me to think the panel would have benefited from additional time to study the issues rather than being held to an arbitrary 90-day deadline.
Although today’s jobs report is slightly more encouraging than generally expected, most Americans would agree that it’s nowhere near enough. Many are asking “how can we create more jobs?” It’s not an easy question. But one obvious place to start would be to encourage sectors in which jobs are already growing – including the U.S. oil and natural gas industry.