Good news for the oil industry

01 18, 2013 by Houma Courier

The oil industry is here, and its future is bright.

That’s the word from the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, whose president addressed the Bayou Industrial Group this week.

“Take a look at the Gulf of Mexico region. If it were a country, it would be the eighth-largest producer in the world. Louisiana is the No. 1 refining area in the world,” Chris John told the local group on Monday.

The numbers are on John’s side.

The U.S. uses around 20 million barrels of oil each day. Of that, 6 million is produced in the Gulf of Mexico. The industry accounts for $70 billion in business in Louisiana and keeps thousands employed.

“When you look at the whole region, it is the strongest port system in the world,” John said. “To put that in global context, no other region in the world has this oil standpoint.”

You don’t have to take John’s word for it or that of his organization.

All you really have to do to see the significance of this vital industry is to look at the employment and unemployment numbers of our region and our state.

While most of the rest of the country was mired in double-digit unemployment during the national economic downturn, Louisiana enjoyed a relative stability.

And our area was among the top even within the healthy atmosphere within the state.

Similarly, you could look at real-estate values, a good overall measure of a region’s economic health. While real-estate values throughout the nation fluctuated wildly, creating economic turmoil, the values here remained strong, a great testament to our strength, much of which is directly attributable to oil and gas.

Or, you could just ask your neighbors. The chances are that either you or your neighbors work in the oilfield or know someone who does.

That economic engine touches almost every part of our area.

Finally, you could ask one of the many people who each year take jobs in the industry or retire from long, lucrative careers in the industry — careers that have made countless lives better throughout south Louisiana.

So there is no doubt of the oil industry’s immense significance and of its health.

John and others have said that even as the U.S. searches for alternative sources of energy, oil and gas will continue to play a pivotal role, meaning our region will continue to benefit from it.

That is good news for all of us.