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07/09/2013: Cuisia Sees Great Potential for Philippine Labor, Investments in North Dakota

8 September 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Philippines should take advantage of the energy boom in North Dakota not only by looking into investment opportunities but also in considering the fastest growing state in the United States as a possible destination for Filipino oil workers.

Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. made the call upon returning from North Dakota—considered the heart of America’s oil and gas boom—where  he led a three-day economic diplomacy outreach mission to the Bismark and Fargo upon the invitation of Gov. Jack Dalrymple.

“North Dakota is not only the fastest growing state economy in the US. It is now also the second-highest oil producing state next only to Texas,” Ambassador Cuisia said.

“We are being given the opportunity to be part of this boom and we should take advantage of it by looking into investments in infrastructure and possibly even jobs for Filipino oil workers,” he said.

In his meetings with North Dakota officials led by Governor Dalrymple, Ambassador Cuisia said there used to be as many as 2,000 Filipinos working in the energy sector in the US, including a number in Louisiana who helped rehabilitate offshore oil platforms that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

“Governor Dalrymple is very interested and wants to find out how North Dakota could tap Filipino workers,” Ambassador Cuisia said, adding that he will bring this opportunity with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

Ambassador Cuisia said Philippine companies will have the chance to explore this and other possible business opportunities in North Dakota when a trade and investment mission from the state visits Manila in February.

According to Ambassador Cuisia, North Dakota presently accounts for 10 percent of the overall daily oil production of the US, producing 800,000 barrels of oil per day in June alone and even overtaking the production of California and Alaska.

North Dakota’s oil boom started in 2008 when it was discovered that oil shale formations in the western part of the state had much more oil and natural gas than what had been previously thought.

According to the US Department of Commerce, North Dakota is No. 1 in the list of the fastest growing states in the US after it posted a GDP growth rate of 13.4 percent last year, owing largely to the energy boom that also allowed it to not only lower the unemployment rate to 3 percent but also cut income tax rate several times. ###