Subsidize, baby, subsidize!

By Hilton Price

Another U.S. Presidential election is just around the bend and, as always, this is the one that will make or break us for the rest of time. The issues, at least the ones that stir a large enough constituency, are being argued heatedly in sound bites and video snippets every day. The fight continues on social media, where I��?m watching friends torn by differing views, and people shunned and insulted for speaking what they feel is right.

Among the issues is one that pertains to me and probably all of you ��? subsidies. Oil subsidies tend to be the one railed against the most, but any type of economic business assistance tends to have its own pack of nay-sayers. It��?s typically argued that there are more deserving places for the money to go, and that the oil industry can support itself. Honestly, that��?s not wrong, but it��?s irrelevant.

Shell spent billions of dollars securing the right for its recent Arctic drilling attempt. That attempt was abandoned due to ice and equipment damage. I bring it up not to speak ill of Shell, the company was the victim of Mother Nature and circumstance, but to show that this is an industry which is sometimes forced to make a billion-dollar gamble. It��?s an industry where day-to-day business costs millions of dollars, a sum not seen by most people in a lifetime. It��?s easily one of the most expensive businesses in the world and honestly, shouldn't it be?

Almost everything I do all day long is possible because of the energy industry, and most of the time it��?s oil and gas doing the work. From simple room lighting to my car to the phone in my pocket, the energy industry enables my entire life. Above I mentioned there are places more deserving for subsidiary money to go. Teachers are a perfect example. But not one of those teachers will be able to as effectively do their job, if those classroom lights won��?t come on.

And yes, I absolutely think teachers need a pay raise and corporate CEOs (many in the energy sector) need a pay cut, but I don��?t want to flip the two. Oil and gas execs are welcome to make more money, even a lot more, if it keeps those industries staffed with people who are looking to produce energy effectively. Keep the lights on, and find new and better ways to do it!

There��?s an image problem in the oil and gas sector, at least in how the industry is seen by the country, and maybe the world. I addressed it��?s need for a make-over in my last post. Being honest about how the industry spends money, and being transparent about the true costs of the business, will aid in that make-over. There are cuts that need to be made, and adjustments that need attention, but they can be relatively minor. The real cost will be the courage to be honest about the industry��?s role in our lives.



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