Karen Alderman Harbert
Former President and Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber Global Energy Institute, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


March 06, 2017


The energy revolution continues to bring good economic news to an otherwise anemic economy. For years, we’ve been arguing that America’s energy revolution will bring jobs and investment to our economy. Now, there’s a new example to demonstrate just how true that is. Today at the annual CERAWeek 2017 conference, ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods announced a new Growing the Gulf initiative to increase its manufacturing capabilities in the Gulf coast region.

As part of the initiative, the company will be investing $20 billion to build or expand 11 different facilities—creating 45,000 new American jobs.

So why is a giant company best known for oil production investing so much in manufacturing? Last year, the Chamber’s Sean Hackbarth captured the essence of how America’s energy revolution has sparked a manufacturing revolution as well. The natural gas, crude oil, and gas liquids being produced across the country in record amounts are the chemical building blocks to products we use every day, from clothing to cosmetics to pharmaceuticals. One needs to look no further than the aisles of a department store to see all the plastic products, and that plastic comes from natural gas and oil. Sophisticated high-tech manufacturing facilities turn these energy resources into the products we buy.

As we produce more home-grown energy, it is leading to more home-grown manufacturing as well. Plentiful energy resources are making it less expensive to build products in the United States, and those same resources are also providing the electricity needed to run manufacturing facilities at reduced costs.

All this manufacturing means more choices for American consumers, and it gives us an opportunity to export products. Domestic U.S. manufacturers are now competing all over the world, helping to reduce our trade deficit and creating jobs back at home.

As a result, the United States, and especially the Gulf coast, is becoming the epicenter of a manufacturing renaissance—exactly as we predicted. In 2014, the Energy Institute launched our “Shale Works for US” campaign, which included a report produced with IHS CERA that quantified the far-reaching benefits from the shale revolution. It is important to note that because of our national supply-chain, the benefits from investments reach each and every state, and in turn bring jobs, revenues and benefits to every corner of our nation.

It’s exciting to see these predictions borne out, and it’s a continued sign that America’s status as an energy superpower will help bring prosperity to us all—while driving innovation and technological advancement that help make America an economic superpower as well.

About the authors

Karen Alderman Harbert

Karen Alderman Harbert is the former president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy (Institute).