Chris John: Oil and Gas Industry Day highlights its importance

05 11, 2015 by Daily Advertiser

Monday at the Capitol highlighted a number of facts that often goes overlooked. Did you know that the oil and gas industry employs 300,000 Louisianans? Or how about the fact that the oil and gas industry has a nearly $74 billion dollar impact in the state? After this week, the message is out.

The 2015 Oil and Gas Industry Day was held this week at the Pentagon Barracks and in the halls of the Capitol. More than 350 supporters of the oil and gas industry packed the event to raise awareness and show the depth and scope of the industry. This event was hosted by the Grow Louisiana Coalition, Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association and the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association.

As part of the program, we were happy to have gubernatorial candidates U.S. Sen. David Vitter and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle in attendance where they offered words of encouragement and thanks for what the industry does for the state. GLAC Executive Director Marc Ehrhardt noted his organization officially signed their 10,000th member at the event and Don Briggs and I commented on the longstanding relationships the industry has had in their communities and the industry’s contribution to Louisiana. Following the luncheon, a throng of supporters wearing green “We are Louisiana Oil and Gas” T-shirts marched to the Capitol to voice their support for Louisiana's oil and gas industry and appreciation of its contribution to their livelihood to lawmakers.

The message delivered was simple and obvious. The diverse group of various interests in attendance all held one thing in common: the need for a robust oil and gas industry to support their businesses. The trickledown effect of the oil and gas industry is astonishing. For every job created in the oil and gas industry, another 3.4 jobs are created all around the state. It is these people that feel the pinch when actions are taken that negatively impact the oil and gas industry.

It was a timely event in an appropriate venue. The Louisiana Legislature is currently considering a myriad of ways to close their estimated $1.6 billion shortfall. Solutions and suggestions are many, including taxing industry – including oil and gas companies. Given the price of oil right now and uncertainty of the future, some of these proposals couldn’t occur at a worst time as board rooms work on their capital expenditure allocations for their global portfolio.

Hopefully, the insight expressed by the everyday folks across Louisiana who attended Industry Day will get the point across. A thriving oil and gas industry equals a thriving Louisiana.

— Chris John, former congressman, is president of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association.