The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Industry to Government: Work With Us

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 7, 2013

America is rich in the oil and natural gas that run our economy and make modern living possible. Industry ingenuity and innovation launched the shale revolution and rewrote the U.S. energy narrative – turning one of scarcity and limited opportunity into one of abundance. Needed are leadership and policies to develop the resources we have, generating transformative job creation and economic growth in the process.

ConocoPhillips Chairman and CEO Ryan Lance talked about these points in a speech at the IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston, focusing on the relationship between the oil and natural gas industry and government – probably the most pivotal relationship in terms of U.S. energy development. Highlights:

  • Smart regulation. “Government regulations should be smart – and based on science and not supposition,” Lance said. “New rules should be tested on their environmental effectiveness – and their cost verses benefits.”
  • Tax policy. Industry already supplies about $86 million a day to the federal government in rents, royalties, bonus payments and taxes. “Tax us fairly,” Lance said. “Development lives or dies on fiscal terms. … Government should keep the long term in mind. Set competitive tax rates that allow ongoing investment, job creation and prosperity.”
  • Investment climate. Government shouldn’t be in the business of selecting energy sources or solutions, he said. “The Obama Administration itself says the U.S. needs an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy policy. It should live up to those words. Let the market choose the best ways to supply affordable energy and meet environmental standards.”
  • Trade. Government should let the market work by allowing the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and, in time, even oil. “They would improve the U.S. balance of trade, and create jobs and income – both here and in the importing countries.”
  • Access. Government should open more public lands and waters to energy development and foster more infrastructure, he said, noting continuing delay of the Keystone XL pipeline project.

Lance:

“Give credit where due to oil and natural gas. We refer to gas as Nature’s Gift, and shale liquids are a second gift. But producing them and getting them to market takes ingenuity, technology and investment. So recognize our industry for what we contribute – 9.6 million jobs supported here in the U.S., and economic stimulation at a time when it’s badly needed.”

API President and CEO Jack Gerard echoed the access them in a conference call with reporters earlier this week. Gerard:

“We need energy policy leaders who will pursue sensible energy policies and will let science guide their decisions, not political ideology. And this becomes a problem when looking at the stark difference between the rate of new energy development on private and state lands versus federal land. So far, most of the shale energy revolution has occurred on private and state-controlled, not federal land where almost 90 percent is off limits.”

Gerard noted Interior Department data shows that shows from 2008 to 2011 the number of drilling permits and the number of wells drilled on federal lands and waters dropped more than 35 percent. Gerard:

“At a time of slow economic growth, high unemployment, ever-increasing deficits, and the daunting challenge of funding growing entitlements, oil and natural gas development is a can’t-miss opportunity that could help grow our economy and provide thousands of good-paying jobs. What’s more, we need leaders in Washington that understand that. And, in the president’s State of the Union address, he made the commitment to do more to speed up permitting on federal lands. … Ultimately, in my view, it would be unforgivable if, based on flawed science or outdated assumptions, this country were to abdicate its responsibility to future generations by missing this opportunity to lead on energy and to put control of our energy future back into our own hands.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.