By Velda Addison, Associate Editor The oil and gas industry supports more than 1.92 million jobs in the US, and it has the potential to create 1.4 million new jobs in the next 15 years. Jamie Vazquez, president of W&T Offshore, presented the figures during the July 20 Decision Strategies’ Oilfield Breakfast Forum. Her talk was peppered with an array of statistics. There was even more informative data, left for those who attended the event, in the National Ocean Industries Association’s (NOIA) booklet that touted what the American offshore industry can do. Keeping the economy growing, putting Americans to work, and securing a reliable energy future were on the list. Facts and figures presented probably didn’t include my position as one of Hart Energy’s newest employees. But, no doubt, the industry has given me a new opportunity to explore a field that is bigger than I first thought. Having moved to Houston from northwest Louisiana, the heart of Haynesville shale, I lived near a natural gas rig (separated by a large fence and a small pond, of course) and within walking distance of BHP Billiton’s new regional headquarters in Shreveport. As the local desk editor, who also was in charge of business coverage, stories about the many jobs created, landowners negotiating with landmen, school districts raking in millions of dollars, and fracing were among those that oftentimes landed on my desk to be edited. So were stories about drilling rig accidents, water woes, and tattered roads. The shale was a change to the big oil bust of the 1980s, which came before my five-year stint in northwest Louisiana. But nothing could have been a bigger change, for me, than returning to Texas (I’m a Dallas native), and working in the Energy Corridor. In my short time at Hart Energy, I have discovered that the energy sector is enormous to say the least. From LNG and shale gas development in China and the many ventures into virgin territories in Africa to a renewed interest in Arctic drilling and evolving technology, my eyes have been opened to a whole new world and way more acronyms and industry terms than I anticipated. Christmas trees and hangers have new meanings for me now. I quickly learned that the Haynesville shale was just one small player in a vast field. The total industry contributed $32 billion to America’s gross domestic product in 2011, according to NOIA. The industry contributed $79.5 billion in revenues to the federal government from 2001-10. “We create a reliable source of energy for America’s energy security,” Vazquez said. And with policy in place that supports the industry, “US oil and natural gas could generate 1.4 million new jobs in the next 15 years. We could create an additional $800 million in government revenue and have 76% more production in this country, which would equate to energy independence.” NOIA got it right when it stated “It’s amazing what America’s offshore energy industry can do.” They can add onshore to that statement, too. Contact the author, Velda Addison, at