Please disable your Ad Blocker to better interact with this website.


Commentary: Shifting Natural Gas and Oil Jobs to the Renewables Sector Isn’t So Simple

Commentary by Stephanie Catarino originally published by RealClearEnergy

Within hours of taking office on January 20, 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order cancelling the cross-border permit for the Keystone XL pipeline as part of a plan to phase out natural gas and oil, eliminating thousands of family-sustaining jobs. At the same time, the Biden administration promised plenty of “good-paying” positions would be available in the renewable energy sector.

But the reality is that natural gas and oil jobs don’t easily transfer to the renewables sector, as a new analysis by Cicero, in coordination with North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) and American Petroleum Institute (API), shows.

Careers in the natural gas and oil industry pay seven times the federal minimum wage and over 70 percent more than the average U.S. job, one of the factors making transferability both unreasonable and economically unsustainable for families.

The analysis found that only two of the 18 most common natural gas and oil jobs are reasonably transferable to the 18 most in-demand renewable energy jobs. Painting industry jobs with a broad brush fails to consider how skills, education, compensation, location, and demand affects job transferability. The most common natural gas and oil jobs employ ten times as many workers as the most in-demand renewable energy occupations, the analysis revealed.

Natural gas and oil account for nearly 70 percent of U.S. energy consumption; blocking key projects and, in turn, canceling thousands of good jobs undermines access to reliable, affordable energy made in America and weakens the U.S. economy.

At this critical time, when inflation has soared to its highest point in 40 years and the demand for energy is surging, we need policies that support U.S. natural gas and oil production and grow our energy workforce. Global energy demand by 2050, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, is projected to increase nearly 50 percent above 2020 demand, and natural gas and oil are expected to supply half that 2050 demand.

For the first time in nearly seven decades, the U.S. became a net energy exporter in 2019, increasing America’s energy security and providing the opportunity to export reliable natural gas and oil to our allies abroad.

Yet, despite the numerous benefits of domestic energy development, several significant projects in Pennsylvania have stalled or stopped altogether in recent years because of burdensome regulatory hurdles or disinformation campaigns. These missed opportunities have cost the commonwealth hundreds, if not thousands, of good jobs and billions in economic benefit. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, every direct job in the natural gas and oil sector supports an additional 2.7 jobs in other industries.

In Pennsylvania alone, the natural gas and oil industry employs over 100,000 people and supports nearly 500,000 jobs. Equally important, industry jobs have boosted and maintained economic vitality in communities around the state.

Consider the borough of Tunkhannock, located in northeast Pennsylvania, with a population of nearly 2,000 – it’s home to Lackawanna College’s School of Petroleum and Natural Gas, the only program of its kind in the state, in the heart of Marcellus drilling operations. This nationally recognized associate degree program has changed many lives – not to mention generated a positive economic ripple effect in the community.

“They are getting jobs with life-sustaining wages where they can have a family, buy a home and stay in the local area,” said Sue Gumble, program director of Lackawanna College’s School of Petroleum and Natural Gas, when speaking of industry careers.

Pennsylvania and the shale-rich Appalachia region rely on natural gas production to support the economy and provide hundreds of thousands of good jobs that are simply irreplaceable. The Cicero study underscores the importance of supporting natural gas and oil sector jobs to maintain America’s energy leadership and security while protecting the environment.

America has become Number 1 in natural gas and oil production thanks to a dedicated, well-trained workforce. As world demand for energy continues to increase, U.S. policies should support American energy and infrastructure development – and with it, the millions of skilled workers who produce and deliver the energy that powers our everyday lives.

Stephanie Catarino Wissman is the Executive Director of the American Petroleum Institute Pennsylvania (API PA) in Harrisburg.

Deneen Borelli

Deneen Borelli is the author of Blacklash: How Obama and the Left are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation. Deneen is a contributor with Newsmax Broadcasting. She is a former Fox News contributor and has appeared regularly on “Hannity,” “Fox & Friends,” “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” and “America’s Newsroom.” She has also appeared on Fox Business Network programs “Making Money with Charles Payne,” “The Evening Edit with Liz MacDonald,” and “Cavuto: Coast to Coast.” Previously, Deneen appeared on MSNBC, CNN, the BBC and C-SPAN. In addition to television, Deneen co-hosted radio programs on the SiriusXM Patriot channel with her husband Tom. Recently, Deneen co-hosted the Reigniting Liberty podcast with Tom. Deneen is a frequent speaker at political events, including the FreedomWorks 9.12.2009 March on D.C. which drew a crowd estimated at over 800,000 people. Deneen is also an Ambassador with, a social media platform that promotes free speech, and with the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) which advances policies that put Americans first. Deneen testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources in May 2011 and before the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee in December 2011. Previously, Deneen was a host, Outreach Director with overseeing its outreach program, a Project 21 Senior Fellow, and Manager of Media Relations with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Prior to joining CORE, Deneen worked at Philip Morris USA for 20 years. During her corporate career at Philip Morris she worked in various positions, her last as Project Management Coordinator in the Information Management department where she was responsible for the department’s mandated quality processes, communications, sales information and database management. Deneen began her Philip Morris career as a secretary and advanced to positions of increasing responsibilities. Deneen worked full-time and attended classes at night for 11 years to earn her B.A. in Managerial Marketing from Pace University, New York City. Deneen served on the Board of Trustees with The Opportunity Charter School in Harlem, New York. She appeared in educational videos for children, worked as a runway fashion model, and auditioned for television commercials. Her interests include ancient history, pistol target shooting, photography, and volunteering at her church. Deneen currently resides in Connecticut with her husband Tom.

Related Articles