Thank you for that warm introduction, Will [Will Jenkins, president SeaRiver Maritime].
Governor Corbett … Mayor Nutter … Congressman Brady … Congressman Critz … and Representative Keller …
Distinguished guests and valued colleagues …
It is an honor to be here on this happy occasion, as we celebrate this newbuild contract … this commitment … and the bright future our “Liberty Class” ships will help shape and sustain.
Even before they set sail on their maiden voyage, these double hull, U.S. flag ships will have a strong impact in this historic city, where so many bold ideas were launched. Over time, they will create new jobs and opportunities in the city of Philadelphia. When these ships set sail, they will sustain jobs in Alaska, where the crude oil is produced, and in ports of call along the West Coast. And they will support good jobs at refineries and plants across America when that oil is refined into high-technology products, plastics, and the gasoline and diesel fuel that power American industry, transportation, and trade.
At ExxonMobil, we are proud of this investment because, as we all know, these are challenging economic times for our nation.
America has high unemployment and underemployment. We have high budget deficits which are straining government resources and forcing tough choices. And we have businesses across the nation struggling to make investment decisions in this midst of uncertainty and even fear.
What we celebrate today is a reminder of what America’s energy industry can do and is doing — investing in our country. We believe that expanding supplies of affordable, reliable energy is one of the best ways to get our economy moving again.
Affordable, reliable energy creates jobs. It helps entrepreneurs, businesses, families, and consumers. It improves our international competitiveness. And it helps meet our government’s fiscal challenges.
Pennsylvania is an especially fitting place for this ceremony and celebration.
This is not just because of the historic shipyards where these two U.S. flagged ships will be built. It is because Pennsylvania is the site of an energy revolution that is sparking an economic recovery.
It is here in Pennsylvania where we can see what is possible when private sector ingenuity, investment, and innovation are welcomed by government leaders who establish sound and farsighted energy policies.
‘Creating Jobs on Another Frontier’
Not far from here, America’s energy industry is investing and creating jobs on another bold frontier: We are investing in the development of natural gas flowing from the Marcellus Shale.
By applying proven technologies in new and innovative ways, we are bringing new supplies of natural gas to our domestic economy. For Pennsylvania, shale-gas development has already contributed to a 130 percent rise in jobs in the state’s “core” oil and gas industries over the last 10 years.
Access to and development of shale gas in other states is creating similar job booms in North Dakota, West Virginia, Ohio, Texas, and Oklahoma.
Affordable and reliable natural gas is also making helping strengthen and create jobs in other industries. It is strengthening America’s steel industry, which helps rebuild our nation’s infrastructure … It is reinvigorating America’s petrochemical industry, which helps us develop advanced plastics and consumer products … And it is helping our heavy-vehicle manufacturers build bulldozers, farm equipment, and earthmovers for construction and agriculture here in America and around the world.
In addition, cleaner burning natural gas will help us meet our shared goal for reduced emissions and environmental stewardship.
‘Together We Can Get America Moving’
These economic and environmental achievements would not be possible without elected leaders like those who have joined us here today.
Pennsylvania’s leaders have realized that government must create a positive climate for investment, job creation, and new ventures.
People like Governor Corbett are working to build policies to help our industry deploy the technologies and best practices that help us develop resources in a safe, secure, and environmentally responsible manner.
By working with our industry, we can enter into a positive dialogue with leaders and communities … address legitimate concerns … and share in the benefits that development of these resources can bring.
With fair and stable legal, tax and regulatory frameworks in place, America’s energy industry can invest for the long-term, and with every project success, we can build stronger communities and provide new sources of revenue to state and local governments.
‘We Can Do More’
I believe our industry can do even more. As these enormous vessels are constructed, it is my hope that in the months and years to come we will learn from the lessons Pennsylvania has to offer.
By producing more of America’s domestic energy supplies, I believe we would see the need for even more investment and more jobs.
As one study recently found, opening up access to America’s resources could create 1 million new jobs over the next seven years — and 1.4 million jobs by 2030. Such policies could also generate more than $800 billion in new government revenue by 2030.
Let me close by offering my congratulations to the citizens and workers of Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania.
As these ships go from drawing board to steel skeletons to state-of-the-art “Liberty Class” tankers, you will see a feat of modern engineering at a size and scale few Americans can imagine. These ships will be a reminder of the tremendous size and scale of our shared energy needs. And they will be proud reminders of the vast opportunities that await us as we work together to invest and develop our domestic energy supplies in a safe, secure, and environmentally responsible way.