10 ways to educate the public on the oil and gas industry

As gas prices soar at the pump, it will come as no surprise that the hostile environment towards the oil and gas industry in America is only going to grow in the summer months as the prices continue to rise.

From a President with no grasp of the importance fossil fuels and domestic production have to the country, and activists from New York to Wyoming undermining the industry’s job of finding more oil and gas rich places, the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) attitude isn’t disappearing anytime soon.

This mood across the country paints a picture of a frustrated and ill-educated public making uniformed judgments against the industry. That’s is why it’s imperative for the oil and gas industry to purposefully educate the public with the truths about the industry instead of letting the media and those with an alternative agenda do the talking for them.

In speaking with our clients the past few weeks, they’ve helped me identify how our industry should better educate the public, why it’s important and what factors are currently getting in the way. Today I’m going to look at their top 10 ideas for how to educate the public.

1. Begin by having the industry (and this is large and small producers alike, not just the big boys who are trying to do all the talking already) positively explain how crucial the economic impact is of the industry.

2. Similarly, to begin doing this, operators and producers (again of all sizes) need to make sure they are running their business in a positive way first.

“First we can’t educate them positively if we have nothing positive going on. So first we have to make sure we are all running our business in positive ways. Environmentally sound ways, so that we are compliant, but also so that we have something to brag about.” – Kimberly

3. Let the public know that operators and producers DO drill and maintain wells with the least possible damage to surroundings that they can. A few bad producers who aren’t compliant shouldn’t tarnish the whole industry’s reputation.

4. Continue with TV, print and radio ads projecting the importance of the industry and how its helped local communities. Operators and producers should also speak at local events, give interviews and answer local question and answer seminars.

5. Business owners should make sure each person on their staff is positively educated about the industry and what all they do for the community so education can spread through word of mouth.

“First, we should educate our staff positively about what we do as an industry. The best advertisement is most normally through word of mouth and when your employees feel good about what they do, it is passed on to the public.” – Jenifer

6. Educate the public on energy facts such as where oil and gas come from, how much we consume, what that looks like for our economy, etc.

“We must make people aware of the energy facts: the sources and uses of gas and oil. How many know the percentage of electricity produced with natural gas at one-half the carbon emissions of coal for example.” – David

7. Start educating young and start in schools with programs such as OOGEEP in Ohio, and also support education for those in and beginning in the industry too like Desk & Derrick.

8. Support state organizations that promote the industry such as your state’s Oil & Gas Association and meetings.

9. Share positive stories with those you know on people who work in the oil and gas field. Not enough “good news” is shared today about the industry, and certainly a lot exists.

10. One unique idea that sparked my interest was reinforcement for T. Boone Pickens’ plan for converting 18-wheelers and those vehicles that run on “dirty diesel” to natural gas, and stick an advertisement on it letting the public know the vehicle runs on natural gas and at what cost.

Next post see why educating the public is important to our operators and producers and what factors are getting in the way.

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