BRIGGS: A Time To Give Thanks
As Americans gather today to celebrate Thanksgiving, we truly have much to be thankful for in Louisiana. While the nation has experienced a severe economic downturn over the past couple of years, Louisiana’s economy has remained steadfast thanks partly to Louisiana’s oil and gas industry.
Louisiana is known as THE ENERGY state for a reason. Around 80% of the nation’s offshore oil and gas resources come from or through Louisiana. This is equal to nearly 30% of the entire energy consumption for the United States moving through the pipeline infrastructure of Louisiana.
Oil and gas exploration and development in the Gulf of Mexico continues to be the crown jewel for our country’s long-term energy security, holding vast oil and gas reserves yet to be discovered. Louisiana’s offshore industry will provide the technical expertise for that development.
Over the last four years, Louisiana has been the home of what the nation knows as the Haynesville Shale. The Haynesville Shale is a dry natural gas play that can boast as the most productive natural gas play in the country. Nearly 2,400 wells have been drilled in the Haynesville. The Haynesville has supported over 60,000 jobs with an economic impact of 14 billion dollars to the state of Louisiana.
Due to the massive exploration and over production of natural gas in the country, the price of natural gas has declined considerably, causing drilling activity in the Haynesville and other shale gas plays across the U.S. to drop. In time, the surplus capacity will decrease and we will again see more activity in the shale gas plays.
In addition to the Haynesville Shale, Louisiana has the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale (TMS) and the Brown Dense, both of which are predominantly crude oil plays. While these plays are still in the exploratory phase of development, the potential is encouraging for our state.
One of the big financial benefactors to low natural gas prices is the petrochemical industry. Natural gas is the feedstock for the petrochemical industry such as flour is to a baker. The petrochemical plants based in Louisiana are responsible for producing chemicals that are used in everything from plastics to our cleaning supplies in our homes. Natural gas is also chief ingredient in electric power generation. For the first time in United States history, natural gas has surpassed coal as the primary energy provider for our nation.
Louisiana will always be a major contributor to our nation’s energy supply. However, the ripple effect in Louisiana goes beyond being directly employed by an oil and gas company, a petrochemical plant or refinery. The restaurants, hotels, car dealerships and banks are just examples of the many businesses affected by the natural resources of our state. We have much to be thankful for, not just this special day of Thanksgiving, but also every day.