Press Release

Nov 20, 2011

Markey Challenges API on Job Claims, Tax Break Defense

Issues: Oil

Oil Industry Shedding Jobs, Not Bidding on Most Drilling Opportunities, Yet Oil Lobbyists Claiming Huge Job Growth in New Ad Campaign

WASHINGTON (November 21, 2011) -- The largest oil companies have shed thousands of jobs over the last six years. Most drilling leases put up for bid receive zero interest from oil companies. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts fewer jobs in the drilling sector because of technological advances and increased efficiency.

That hasn't stopped oil lobbyists from using a study funded with their own money to potentially mislead the public into thinking more than a million jobs are on the horizon from the oil and gas industry.

Responding to a new ad campaign by the American Petroleum Institute that claims the oil and gas industry will add one million new jobs by 2018, and that eliminating unnecessary tax subsidies for the industry will cause them to lay off American workers, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) today challenged the head of the oil lobby to defend the studies his organization is using to make these claims.

"It appears the oil lobby got what they paid for: cooked numbers to justify their untenable policy positions," said Rep. Markey, the Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee. "When the top five oil companies shed thousands of jobs over the last five years, and companies aren't even taking advantage of most drilling opportunities offered to them, it seems to me creating a million jobs doesn't even have a million-to-one chance of happening."

The letter, sent to API President Jack Gerard, targets a study conducted by the consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. API paid for the study and Wood Mackenzie's chief clients include oil and gas companies.

The full letter is available HERE, and some of the main points of contention raised by Rep. Markey are:

  • PARKING VALETS AREN'T OIL WORKERS. The ad campaign using the study gives the false impression that the oil and gas industry will create one million jobs by 2018. Yet they count parking valets and day-care workers as jobs indirectly created by increased oil and gas activity.
  • BIG OIL IS FIRING, NOT HIRING. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said in their most recent career guide that "[n]ew drilling and extraction techniques allow for more efficient production from a reduced number of drill sites. As a result, employment in oil and gas extraction is expected to decline by 16 percent through 2018." Meanwhile, ExxonMobil, Shell, and BP combined to reduce their U.S. workforces by 17,500 jobs between 2005 and 2010. Chevron's U.S. workforce peaked in 2008 but since then has been reduced by 2,000 jobs. And ConocoPhillips, which does not report U.S. job numbers, reduced its global workforce by 5,900 jobs.
  • OIL COMPANIES NOT BIDDING FOR DRILLING. Oil and gas companies submit no bids on most offshore leases offered for sale. In the past ten Gulf of Mexico lease sales, dating back to August 2005, more than 39,000 blocks totaling almost 211 million acres were offered. Of these, just over 3,600 (totaling almost 20 million acres) received bids-not even ten percent of the blocks offered. Oil companies often sit on their leases they have won for years and do not engage in prompt development of these blocks.

"When Big Oil fires thousands of people, and then counts a parking valet as an oil industry job, how can we believe any of their outlandish claims about job creation?" asked Rep. Markey. "Meanwhile, the solar and wind industries are hiring tens of thousands of workers, showing that clean energy is the true growth industry sector."

Solar energy has doubled its American jobs in the last two years, going from 50,000 jobs in 2009 to 100,000 jobs in 2010. Wind ener