How many millions of jobs is the Keystone XL worth?
In a New York Times interview over the weekend, President Obama sneered at 2,000 or so construction jobs created by construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Here’s what he doesn’t get — and perhaps doesn’t want to understand either.
Tar sands development is about wealth creation or creating something out of nothing or more out of less — the very engine that has provided developed nations with their unparalleled prosperity, astonishing public health and clean environments.
Alberta has reserves on the order of 170 billion barrels of oil locked in the tar sands. Left alone, the tar sands are worth nothing. But excavated and processed into crude oil, they are worth (at today’s prices) more than $100 per barrel — i.,e, $17 trillion.
That is a lot of wealth to create out of nothing — wealth that can create a lot of jobs.
The U.S. economy employs about 150 million people on a GDP of about $16 trillion.
The remarkable thing about the Keystone XL is that all that wealth can be dramatically facilitated by the temporary labor of only thousands of people. Once complete, $17 trillion worth of wealth can start its journey from Alberta through the U.S. and into the economy where other processing can create even more wealth out of it.
Obama’s sneer at the Keystone XL? Consider the source.