Study shows energy industry powers La. economy

Advocate staff file photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- The ExxonMobil Refinery in Baton Rouge is the nation's third-largest refinery. Two others in Louisiana are in the top five: Marathon in Garyville and Citgo in Lake Charles. Show caption
Advocate staff file photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- The ExxonMobil Refinery in Baton Rouge is the nation's third-largest refinery. Two others in Louisiana are in the top five: Marathon in Garyville and Citgo in Lake Charles.

HIGH IMPACT

East Baton Rouge Parish is one of four parishes that will enjoy a taxable-property bonanza over the five years ending 2017, thanks to expiring tax exemptions on refineries.

In East Baton Rouge, 10-year tax breaks on roughly $419.5 million worth of refinery property expire from 2013 to 2017, economist Loren Scott says in a 2014 update of “The Energy Sector: A Giant Economic Engine for the Louisiana Economy.”

The fifth edition of the study, funded by the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association and the Louisiana Grow Coalition, analyzes the energy industry’s contributions, such as jobs and tax revenue.

“Think of Louisiana as a big economic pond,” Scott said. “And into this pond you’re going to drop … a very big rock.”

An energy industry-sized rock. A rock whose 2011 impact included 287,000 jobs, $73.8 billion in sales to Louisiana companies and $20.5 billion in household earnings. Household earnings from the energy industry were greater than the total value of goods and services produced by 86 countries.

The study found that oil and gas producers, refiners and pipeline companies in the state:

  • Paid nearly $1.5 billion in state taxes and fees in fiscal 2013, which ended June 30
  • Paid $410 million in property taxes to local governments in 2013, a 37.5 percent increase over 2009
  • Produce 1.4 million barrels of oil per day, the second-highest total in the country. This figure includes production from federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, but almost all of that production comes ashore in Louisiana.

Louisiana also ranked No. 2 in oil refining capacity with 19 refineries and a total daily capacity of 3.3 million barrels. Louisiana is home to three of the country’s five largest refineries: Marathon in Garyville, No. 2; ExxonMobil in Baton Rouge, No. 3; and Citgo in Lake Charles, No. 5.

The energy industry paid $1.4 billion in annual wages to residents of Lafayette Parish, $558.1 million in Terrebonne and $361.5 million in Orleans — the top three. Wages totaled $220 million in East Baton Rouge.

The energy industry’s impact on Louisiana is huge and growing, Scott said. The state is lucky to have these kinds of resources, and the industry to take advantage of them.

“If you want to know what Louisiana would look like without the energy sector, all you have to do is look one state over to the east,” he said.

Mississippi has similar demographics to Louisiana, but its energy industry is miniscule. Mississippi’s per capita income ranks 50th in the United States. Louisiana’s is No. 32.

Chris John, president of Mid-Continent, said it’s an exciting time be in the oil and gas industry.

The United States is now the world’s biggest oil producer, thanks to advances in technology and the development of a number of oil-rich shale formations, John said. America is becoming something thought impossible just a few years ago: energy secure.

Follow Ted Griggs on Twitter @tedgriggsbr.