Argument: Many job-creation estimates for ANWR drilling are highly exaggerated

Issue Report: Oil Drilling in Arctic Wildlife Refuge


  • US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources News Release 10/22/06 – “Drilling advocates frequently cite a 1990 study by Wharton Economic Forecasting Group that says 735,000 jobs would be created if full development were allowed in the refuge. Inaccurate analytical and modeling assumptions resulted in a biased analysis that dramatically overstates potential job creation. In late 2001, the Wharton Group admitted that flawed assumptions were used in the report. According to the Congressional Research Service (October 2001), under the most likely scenario, full development of ANWR would result in 60,000 new jobs. In 2001, the Center for Economic and Policy Research puts the number at ‘less than 50,000’ nationwide. And the bipartisan Joint Economic Committee last year found that drilling ANWR would ‘create 65,000 jobs nationwide by 2020.’ Why? The service companies that would shoot seismic would use existing equipment and staffing. Industry would most likely move drilling equipment from other sites in the Arctic as opposed to ordering any significant amount of new equipment. The upstream exploration and production part of the oil industry is no longer labor-intensive. The only new jobs are created during the actual drilling phase. Some new pipelines would be spread around the area to connect wellheads, and one would be built to connect with the existing Alyeska Pipeline.”

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