The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

CERAWeek Update: Day 1

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 5, 2018

Highlights from the IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston that kicked off on Monday:

Issue of the Day Part 1: Infrastructure

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska and Greg Armstrong, Plains All American Pipeline president and CEO, said streamlining the federal permitting and environmental review processes is key to maximizing the benefits of the U.S. energy renaissance.

Sullivan said Washington is focused on reducing how long it takes for projects to get the green light from Washington: “It shouldn’t take nine to 10 years to permit a pipeline,” he said. Setting firm timelines for reviews, establishing a lead decision-making agency for project reviews and some degree of legal reform – to eliminate litigation near the end of federal review that’s designed to draw out the process – would benefit the country’s infrastructure needs.

Armstrong praised a new, perceptible embrace of domestic energy in the nation’s capital. Sullivan:

“I’m here to preach the gospel of optimism. Yes, there is a lot of chaos in D.C., but if you get behind the day-to-day headlines and the daily tweets, what is actually being accomplished in Washington is clear and … there has never been a more exciting time in the American energy sector.”

CERA Week Ballroom

Issue of the Day Part 2: Trade

Armstrong said the United States needs a modernized North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – adding that abandoning the agreement would be damaging to U.S. energy. Modernize NAFTA in ways that support North America’s emergence as an energy superpower, Sullivan said.

Quotable: Tariffs

“We buy pipe and valves that aren’t manufactured in the United States, so we don’t think that it would be appropriate to put a tariff on something that you can’t buy here in the United States.” – Armstrong, who said his company currently has $1.5 billion in pipeline projects in the works.

Plains Armstrong

Shale’s Impact

The International Energy Agency’s Fatih Birol said in a relatively short time period U.S. shale natural gas production has grown so much that it is now five times as large as the production of Norway, a key natural gas supplier to Europe. Birol said because of U.S. shale gas and natural gas production in Australia, Canada and West Africa, the natural gas marketplace is shifting from one that’s based on pipelines to one that’s based on the transport of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Peak Oil Demand?

Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC’s secretary general, said he doesn’t see global oil demand peaking – not with so many people around the world still living in a state of “energy poverty,” including more than  1 billion people without access to electricity and heating fuel and more than 2 billion without access to commercial energy for cooking. Barkindo:

“Based on all the projections of the IEA – we have the same projections from EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration) – oil and gas will continue to be the dominant feature in the energy mix for the foreseeable future.”    


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.