The oil and natural gas industry supported 9.8 million American jobs in 2011, an increase of more than 600,000 jobs in just two years, according to a recently released study.

The sector also supported 8 percent of the U.S. economy, up from 7.7 percent in 2009, according to a PwC study commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute.

API President and CEO Jack Gerard said in a conference call with a number of reporters from various industry magazines, including Industry Today, that “game-changing innovations in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling” is spearheading the job creation boom.

“For the first time in generations, America’s path to true energy security seems clear, if we get our energy policy right today,” Gerard says, adding that the survey is an update to a previous report released in 2009.

Still, he adds, manufacturing leaders and executives need help from regulators and legislators to explore additional energy prospects.

“We need Congress and the administration to unlock additional opportunities by expanding access to domestic energy resources, speeding up permitting, and ending the broken ethanol mandate,” Gerard says. “By doing so, we will create more even American jobs, grow our economy, protect consumers, and take full advantage of our nation’s vast energy resources.”

The industry supports jobs in all 50 states, Gerard says, citing the aforementioned study.

Texas remains American’s oil and natural gas leader, with the industry supporting nearly two million jobs in the state and making up 23 percent of the state’s economy.

California is second with nearly 800,000 jobs, making up nearly 7 percent of the state’s economy, followed by Louisiana with 400,000 jobs and 35 percent of the state’s economy.

“The PwC report confirms what we already know,” Gerard says. “America’s 21st century energy revolution is driving our resurgent economy.”

That is quite a different tune than the one hummed some time ago, when doubters believed the energy options nationwide was running dry and that the country faced a grim future based on scarcity of resources. The subsequent rising prices and costs would have wreaked havoc on the economy, skeptics said.

“Today, we face a far different future,” Gerard explains, “(It’s) one in which the U.S. is the world’s largest producer of natural gas and could soon be the largest producer of petroleum.”

This energy revolution is magnificent news for taxpayers, consumers, motorists, and businesses nationwide, Gerard explains, citing the study’s findings on how improvements in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling are creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs every year.

Furthermore, he says, the availability of lower-cost energy has U.S. manufacturing poised to experience a revolution, meaning more jobs and economic benefits domestically.

“For the first time in generations, America’s path to true energy security seems clear,” he says. “And if we get our energy policy right today, this could be just the beginning.”

He explains that the nation is in tremendous need of policy leaders who will pursue sensible energy policies and will let science guide their decisions, not political ideology.

“And this becomes a problem when looking at the stark difference between the rate of new energy development on private and state lands versus federal land,” he says.

Gerard claims the federal government prohibits energy development on 87 percent of federally controlled offshore areas. “Even while energy exploration on state and private property has created thousands of jobs, new permits on federal land declined 36 percent from 2008 to 2012,” he says.

Meanwhile, he adds, the State Department continues to delay the creation of 42,000 thousand jobs that their own assessment predicts will be created by the Keystone XL pipeline.

“The president may scoff at or misconstrue the jobs this pipeline can create, but no one can deny that spending billions of private dollars on a pipeline that will run from Canada to Texas isn’t going to create thousands of American jobs and help the U.S. economy,” Gerard says. “Minimizing the real impact of these jobs is a disservice to the millions of Americans looking for work.”

In addition, ever-increasing ethanol mandates under the Renewable Fuel Standard are a major threat to America’s energy revolution and consumers, he claims, adding that full repeal of the RFS is the best way to protect consumers and the economy from the devastating impact of unsafe bio-fuel mandates.

“We need our elected leaders to unlock these untapped opportunities, approve the Keystone XL pipeline, and halt the broken RFS,” Gerard says. “This will help our industry create even more American jobs and more American energy while protecting consumers.”

About API
API is a national trade association that represents all segments of America’s technology-driven oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 500 members – including large integrated companies, exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms – provide most of the nation’s energy.