* More oil, gas drilling could create 1.4 mln jobs-study
* Development could yield $800 bln in government revenue
* Key policies in study face uphill political battle
By Ayesha Rascoe
WASHINGTON, Sept 7 The United States could
create more than one million jobs by 2030 by expanding offshore
drilling, limiting federal regulation of shale gas development
and quickly approving a Canadian oil sands pipeline, according
to a study commissioned by a major oil industry trade group.
The study's bottom line would depend on some major policy
shifts by President Barack Obama and Congress, and comes just
ahead of a key speech by Obama on his plan to boost U.S.
employment as the nation struggles to regain its economic
The study was conducted by consulting firm Wood Mackenzie,
and paid for by the American Petroleum Institute, and the
findings were released on Wednesday. The consultants found that
1.4 million new jobs could be created through more oil and
natural gas development.
"Our new analysis is what our industry has to offer: jobs,
increased federal revenue, economic and energy security. Our
industry has long been a leader in these areas, but what we are
here to say is we can do even more," API head Jack Gerard said
on Wednesday at an event on Capitol Hill.
The urgency to address the employment situation has
increased for lawmakers after a Labor Department report last
week found that the economy did not create any new jobs in
Gearing up for upcoming budget battles in Congress, oil and
gas industry advocates have argued that the fossil fuels sector
could be an engine for economic growth and should not become a
target for more taxes or regulations.
In addition to creating jobs, the study said that expanding
oil and gas production would generate more than $800 billion in
additional government revenue by 2030 from taxes and drilling
But for these outcomes to be realized, some politically
difficult actions would need to be taken by Congress and the
For example, the report assumes the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) would become open to oil drilling, a
move that would likely need Congressional support and is
strongly opposed by many Democrats.
The job creation cited in the report would also depend on
speeding up permits for offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico
and quickly approving TransCanada's (TRP.TO) Keystone XL
pipeline, both politically sensitive issues which fall under
the purview of the Obama administration.
The jobs scenario also depends on regulation of shale gas
development remaining at the state level. Environmental critics
of the hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" technique used to tap
shale gas have called for more federal regulation of the
Republicans in the House of Representatives have passed
legislation aimed at increasing drilling permits in the Gulf
and setting a firm deadline for making a decision on Keystone
XL, which would transport Canadian oil sands crude to the U.S.
But these efforts have met resistance in the
Democrat-controlled Senate and it's unclear what energy bills
could get passed into law with the partisan gridlock in
Doc Hastings, the Republican chairman of the House Natural
Resources committee, said that he plans to propose the opening
of ANWR to the so-called "super committee" in Congress, which
is supposed to focus on reducing budget deficits.
While opening ANWR has been a lightning rod in Congress in
the past, he said he hopes to be able to gain support from
Democrats on the select committee.
"Maybe with the price of oil where it is, the price of
gasoline where it is, the national security aspects, maybe some
of these members will have an epiphany," Hastings told
reporters after delivering a speech at the energy jobs
(Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)