Recognize why US energy progress occurred, industry leaders urge Obama

US President Barack Obama should recognize why the US energy outlook improved during his administration and not allow regulations to be imposed that would stifle further progress, oil and gas industry leaders said prior to Obama’s final State of the Union address.

“The administration should recognize that the energy resurgence does not threaten environmental goals,” American Petroleum Institute Pres. Jack N. Gerard said on Jan. 12.

“The US model I mentioned last week in my State of American Energy address (OGJ Online, Jan. 5, 2016) allows the free market and innovation to thrive,” Gerard told reporters during a teleconference. “Let’s let these market-driven initiatives continue to improve our environment, our economy, and our world leadership.”

In a separate statement, National Ocean Industries Association Pres. Randall B. Luthi urged Obama to return to what used to be his core mission of developing all forms of energy.

“Even as he establishes the legacy of his administration, the people of the US need, and are going to need, both traditional and nontraditional forms of energy,” Luthi said. “Even taking growing renewable energy sources into account, traditional fuels, including oil and gas, are expected to supply over about 88% of the world’s energy needs for at least the next generation.”

‘Part of the solution’

American Gas Association Pres. David K. McCurdy acknowledged that the president is acting aggressively at home and abroad to reverse the effects of global climate change.

“The US has a credible leadership role on this issue, in part, because of the country’s abundant supply of natural gas and the adoption of aggressive fuel economy standards that have led to significant and continued declining emissions,” McCurdy said. “Gas is part of the solution to climate change and will help the US make progress toward ambitious emissions reduction targets.”

Gerard noted that most of the additional US oil and gas production that has helped the general economy to increase has occurred on land that is privately owned or controlled by individual states. “On federally controlled land, crude oil production has remained flat and natural gas production has declined—not just due to geology, but in large part to policy,” Gerard said.

“The same tendency to place ideology over experience is behind the administration’s Clean Power Plan, which ignores the natural gas success story and gives special treatment to wind and solar,” Gerard said. “By giving preference to intermittent and more costly sources, the policy puts natural gas at a disadvantage—the energy source that is already reducing our emissions while providing benefits to consumers.”

Luthi and Gerard each noted that in the next few months, Obama’s administration will take the next step in developing the 2017-22 Outer Continental Shelf leasing program, which includes a proposal to reopen portions of the Atlantic seaboard that were last explored in the 1980s.

“Federal policies currently keep more than 85% of the OCS [closed] to exploration and development, including the entire Atlantic Coast, Pacific Coast, and the eastern Gulf of Mexico,” Luthi said. “The president could use tonight’s address to show his commitment to all forms of US energy and indicate his support for a true all-of-the-above energy strategy that strengthens America’s economy, creates thousands of new jobs, and enhances our energy and national security.”

Gerard said, “It’s very important to keep in mind that industry looks at opportunities with a very long-term view. While there might not be much infrastructure [on the Mid-Atlantic coast] today, similar things were said a decade ago about infrastructure for onshore shale. We look at projects at an up to 30-year basis. We have to think in the long term. We hope the administration at least preserves the one lease sale offshore Virginia.”

Contact Nick Snow at

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