Energy Exports Present Solid Opportunities For Small Businesses
Written by Ken Gaebler
SBE Chief Economist touts the benefits of energy exports for the small business sector and the entire U.S. economy.
The U.S. energy industry is booming. With robust production in natural gas and other markets, the nation is currently experiencing stable pricing and solid employment growth across much of the energy sector.
According to recent comments by SBE Council Chief Economist Raymond Keating, now is not the time to restrict U.S. energy exports, but to increase the amount of energy that is being shipped overseas and to support the small businesses at the heart of the nation's current energy boom.
"Corporate special interests and various politicians have taken the bizarre position of trying to limit U.S. liquefied natural gas exports," said Keating. "Typically, efforts to limit trade by special interests have focused on restricting imports. But this misguided undertaking turns this on its head. It's hard to believe that American interests are working to limit exports given their critical importance to our economy, and efforts by the Obama Administration to double exports by 2015."
Although controversial in some areas, Keating was quick to point out the role that natural gas production is playing in the U.S. economy.
"Advancements in technology have opened up vast resources of natural gas in shale rock that were previously not accessible. There is no reason to believe that such innovation and production will cease in the future. As a result, natural gas prices have plummeted in the U.S., and since prices remain high in other parts of the world, the potential exists for significant benefits to be derived from exporting liquefied natural gas. That's a win-win for the U.S. economy, the small businesses and their employees that support the energy sector, and job creation."
The concept of shipping products abroad has always been a viable way for small businesses to gain access to new markets for their goods. But energy exports have the potential to benefit small businesses by increasing production in a sector where small businesses serve as a vital link in the supply chain.
The vast majority of firms (91 percent) in the oil and gas extraction industry are small companies employing fewer than 20 workers. Similarly, 80 percent of the companies that support drilling oil and gas wells have few than 20 employees, underscoring the importance of small businesses in the energy sector and the inherent benefits of supporting energy exports.
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