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For those who are following the debate in this country on shale gas development, as I am, today’s column by David Brooks in the New York Times is a must read. In balanced terms, Brooks summarizes the future energy and economic potential of America’s enormous shale gas endowment – and the current debate surrounding its safe and responsible production. The benefits of shale gas development in terms of economic growth, job creation and energy security are without question, as he points out. The only question is whether our political leaders will permit these benefits to be realized.

To hear the opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline project, you might think this was the first pipeline to be built in the United States, and the first built to carry crude oil from Canada to the United States. While critics and protestors try to portray the Keystone XL pipeline project as something new and unnecessary, it’s simply not true. There are thousands of miles of pipeline carrying Canadian oil from Canada to the United States, and for good reason: Canada, by far, is the largest supplier of imported oil to the United States.

ExxonMobil announced estimated third quarter results today, and most news coverage is likely going to focus on the global quarterly earnings total of $10.3 billion. As I mentioned in my post yesterday, it’s also important to look beyond the bottom line of oil company earnings and consider how much a company’s operations and investments contribute to the economy in order to generate those earnings.

ExxonMobil is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings tomorrow, and earnings day usually attracts quite a bit of media attention and political comment. While the debate often centers on the numbers that show the size and profitability of the oil and gas industry, I’ve found there’s far less focus on what such numbers mean for the U.S. economy as a whole.

  • Worth a deeper look...