Oil & gas: Still fueling La.’s economy

08 11, 2014 by Daily Advertiser

For close to 100 years, the oil and gas industry has beenthe economic engine for Louisiana.

Whether we talk about extracting our abundant natural resources, transporting it around the state and country, or refining it to make the products essential to everyday life, the message is clear: The oil and gas industry and Louisiana enjoy a strong partnership.

From time to time, it is important to quantify these successes and detail the positive impact in real terms. That’s why I am proud to unveil our latest findings prepared by famed economist Loren Scott.

This further underscores the overwhelming economic impact of the industry and the benefits it provides to the state — to the tune of $73.8 billion. That $73.8 billion impact includes $20.5 billion in household earnings while supporting more than 287,000 jobs, with energy jobs and earnings found in all of the state’s 64 parishes.

Of these jobs, Lafayette Parish scored the highest number of citizens working directly in the energy sector, with 16,179 workers and more than $1.3 billion in annual wages. Oil and gas industry workers earn nearly twice as much as the average Louisiana worker.

These jobs help Louisiana’s ranking as the No. 2 producer of crude oil and natural gas in the country, while also having the second-highest petroleum refining capacity in the United States. All of this comes as no surprise to the men and women who keep the industry humming day after day. But for the uninformed, I hope this causes pause to fully appreciate and marvel at the significance of the oil and gas industry to the future of Louisiana.

This comprehensive report digs even deeper. The oil and gas industry is one of the most significant funding sources for state and local government projects. The industry paid $1.497 billion in state taxes, licenses, and fees in 2012-2013 while also accounting for nearly 15 percent of all taxes, licenses and fees collected.

The industry paid $409 million — more than $1 million a day — in ad valorem taxes to local governments in 2013. In 43 parishes, these taxes exceeded $1 million. In 22 parishes, the number exceeded $5 million. All told, that is $4.2 billion contributed to state and local treasuries. That is a truly profound finding and one that every citizen in Louisiana should consider next time enjoying any of the basic government services the industry helped fund.

I know this column was data-heavy, but it is important. With all the baseless and exaggerated negative claims lobbed at the oil and gas industry every day, it’s best to let the facts speak for themselves.

This industry has a deep and far-reaching effect on the economy of the entire state. It also enables our petrochemical industry to thrive. No two industries combined create more high-paying jobs for people or generate more revenues for state and local governments.