Study: Keystone XL Job Numbers Inflated, Misleading

Study: Keystone XL Job Numbers Inflated, Misleading

As the Obama Administration is expected to make a decision soon on a proposed pipeline from Canada to Texas, TransCanada responds to a new report that disputes the number of jobs that will be created by the project.

According to a new report from Cornell University's ILR Global Labor Institute, researchers contend the number of jobs that would be created by the Keystone XL project is inflated and misleading; while TransCanada claims GLI's research is a "classic case of starting with a preordained conclusion and saying whatever is necessary to support it."

Visit to read Keystone XL: Fewer Jobs than Promised? Then, come back and post your thoughts on the debate below in the comments section.

Matthew V. Veazey has written about the oil and gas industry since 2000. Email Matthew at


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Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.
HN Crotts | Oct. 4, 2011
I don't see 324000 jobs, but the TransCanada estimate is right on. Now adding the value of a friendly supply source; why the fuss?

Christel Frantz | Oct. 4, 2011
Jobs are jobs. In this economy we need additional jobs. However, the real concern is will we be able to keep the bitumen or asphalt from leaking out of the pipeline? I think we Americans can come up with ingenious solutions to avoid contamination issues. Is there an additive which might break down and neutralize the bitumen? We limit our own abilities and emphasize the negatives. let us carefully examine how to responsibly handle possible contamination issues and have a long term game plan in place if the project does move forward to address such issues immediately. This too may create jobs and they might be longer term than the construction jobs depending upon the solution and needs of implementation. I see opportunity for industry, science, engineering, construction and other disciplines plus labor to occur. People have the ability to create and solve challenges. I see this as an opportunity. It might serve to help our country, economy and trade.

Ben | Oct. 3, 2011
The ecological risks are too great for this pipeline to go through.

RALPH SMITH | Oct. 3, 2011

Richard Schlosberg | Oct. 3, 2011
The United States is in desperate need of good paying jobs. The likelihood that so-called green alternatives will create similar numbers of jobs in the next ten years without massive government subsidies is fanciful at best. If Keystone isn't approved, it is possible that a pipeline to the west coast of Canada will be built so that the produced oil will be available for sale to China. Then, we will continue our massive dependence on imports from places less friendly than Canada.

Lou Ludlum | Oct. 3, 2011
The point of manufacturing, refining, producing a product is to meet consumer demand while making a profit. It is not to "create jobs" - jobs just happen when products go to market - design, construction, manufacturing, admin, safety, marketing, sales, etc. not the other way around. Sounds too much like the old USSR, "We pretend to work, they pretend to pay us."

Michael | Oct. 3, 2011
Just more of "I hate the oil patch, how is my grant request progressing?"

Tim | Oct. 3, 2011
Does it really matter a fewer jobs than stated? Look at the well paying jobs it does create. Does National Security mean anything that this pipeline helps? People need to wake up. Apparently no one remembers the Oil Embargo of the 1970s.

TOM JONES | Oct. 3, 2011

Gary Alden | Oct. 3, 2011
KXL will create short term and longer term jobs and the US could use a little non government job creation. If we are only discussing the amount of jobs on 8500 or 13000 then either way the project should go forward. Heavy crude oil has been refined by US refineries for years.

mohanad al mashal | Oct. 3, 2011
exactly this web site is the best I watch. thanks very much 4 all the instructors on this group

Armando | Oct. 2, 2011
Thanks for using the time and effort to write something so interesting.

| Oct. 1, 2011
We can all count..

Jose Pelota | Oct. 1, 2011
I am confused about how Canadian oil is not foreign oil. I am confused about why we think we have a right to the oil from the tars sands. It seems lilely that the oil will go to where investment and activity is: China and India, just like pension funds, bank deposits, and corporate multi-national assets and investments: the money is fleeing America and heading for BRIC (Brazil, Russia, China, India.) at a dizzying pace. The oil companies will sell to the highest bidder-- dont presume this will stay in canada or the US. I think the idea that Tar Sands are dirty due to dirt is hilarious!! It is not the dirt content, it is the full life cycle analysis of the process. Tar sands are objectively a total and complete disaster. Like all oil and gas production, if you want an omelette, you have to break some eggs. We are starting to produce oil from marginal sources: the easy stuff has been got. Our society seems to absolutely not give a darned whether we destroy fisheries and sustainable jobs like we did in Prince William Sound with the Valdez disaster, or like we just did in the Gulf with P and Halliburton, and we are in the tar sands and the Nigerian Delta. Oil is a wonderfully energy-dense resource. We have 5 to 6 generations of global citizens and a complex society that has developed due to oil. What makes me scratch my head in wonder is how little imagination we have to coming up with a viable alternative to transition to. There is HUGE money to be made competing with oil, and lots of job possibilities. In my mind, the XL pipeline will happen, regardless of the number of jobs, or where the refined product will end up, or how many spills and catastrophies occur. And we wont have moved one step closer to an alternative to oil. Small wonder: the oil companies have a vested interest in keeping us addicted and fighting any viable alternatives for as long as they can, to protect their investments and maximize their profits. They are using Korean-welded equipment, and shipping it in to the tar sands. They could have built that in Canada or the northern tier of the US. Globalization has created a race to the bottom: working folks scrapping for a crumb, and the work chasing the lowest-wage least regulated host country, so the multi-nationals can maximize profits. Its moved from US, to Japan, Mexico, to central america, to Viet nam, Cambodia, China, India. I am still paying top-US dollar for my boxer underwear, and they are made in China. Why cant I pay a China-based price? Fruit of the loom is SMILING!! The US has five aces: it could re-route the inevitably approved pipeline a wee bit east, so it only crosses one river , the Missouri, near Tremton ND and Williston, instead of three (Milk, Mo, and Yellowstone). They could re-route it along existing highways and county roads in eastern Montana (Sidney to Baker) so XL could NOT have to take property by easement agreements or eminent domain. They could re-route westerly from there, so it by-passes the fragile Sand Hills in Nebraska, and doesnt threaten the Ogallal aquifer. They could then pick up Denver Julesburg niobrara product, if it comes in, with an additional on-ramp. It would cost a bit more, it would take more time (more jobs!! more man hours!!) and XL would pay, because the cost is immaterial. Like any oil producer, the cost just gets passed on to the consumer, and we are willing to pay ANYTHING for oil. Ask a european or canadian. Like one of the commenters said before: just specify what we demand of the pipeline company: better route, US made pipe, valves, controllers, pumps, labor, etc. Lets see if they manage this one like they did iraqafghanipakistan, or if they break New Ground and do it right. So now what? Id LOVE to be able to have a choice between a gas pump and a ??, and a natural gas furnace and a ??. We need a moon shot 10 year plan to get some alternatives. Itll take years to wean ourselves and transition. My frustration: we arent even trying. Think of the jobs and competition alternatives would create?! We spend less than .5% of resources on R & D on energy, and energy alternatives. Its unbelievable. We are intelligent, able creatures able to exercize free will, and instead we choose to muddle forward in a massive march like lemmings over the brink. All we have to do is take a 90% turn and walk a different direction. Lets just get it all out and burn it as fast as we can: once it is gone, we will start to have LOTS of local economic activity. We cant seem to create this on our own before we see peak oil calamity. We have become an unimaginative culture of dependent addicts.

mark jr | Sep. 30, 2011
ok then how many jobs will become available? I think someone needs to start spittin out some facts and put some americans back to work. We gotta eat and keep this roof over are head, so quit playin politics, quit acting like little girls fightin over dolls and put us back to work.

Rick Morgan | Sep. 30, 2011
Thomas Jones, The oil is not dirty - its the additives that create the problems. This oil is only called dirty because its just that - a highly saturated bitumen sludge which never solidified to coal or liquified into a true oil. Please use the facts, not rhetorical politically directed diatribes.

Rick Morgan | Sep. 30, 2011
If the total were just ten guys working for 3 years, that would be an improvement over what exists now. If the end users and goverment want more US and/or Canadian content in the raw materials (read pipe), then so specify that. Every other country in the world does that for major projects. I believe one of the most telling notes is that people whose working lives have been spent in academia or governmental employment can be so adamant that they are always correct. They would be much more believeable if they had spent some major portion of their adult working lives doing just that: working for a living. Besides, ignoring everything political, what is wrong with the pipeline? The environmentalists clamor that when it leaks, ...! Guess what, if we dont wean this country from foreign oil, there wont be anyone left who speaks American English to give a big rats a** about the leaks.

Thomas Jones | Sep. 30, 2011
The problem with this whole pipeline is on both ends. The multiple refineries in what use to be the "Golden Triangle" have produced the most polluted and highe cancer occuring anomaly in the country. In addition theyve introduced processing VX gases in the area also. Port Arthur has become a dumping ground for cancer agents. This oil should refined and sampled for pollutants at a demostration plant in Canada. The EPA can then compare the results and the impact this very dirty crude might have in the thats already polluted, especially with upper respiratory diseases and lung cancer.

Don Dobesh | Sep. 30, 2011
The end of the article refers to creating green jobs instead of "dirty oil" jobs. Agenda driven study from what I can see. Once again its one vs the other. If green jobs are available to create, have at it. Whos stopping them. In the mean time, lets create jobs and build the pipeline all at no tax payer expense. Let the private sector do what it does best and pick the winners and losers on the free market.

Mark | Sep. 30, 2011
One would think a pipeline company would have a better idea on how many people they would employ. A professor who has never sat on a backhoe has no real world data to apply. We need Keystone!

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