The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Let’s Advance a True All-of-the-Above Energy Strategy

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted November 21, 2016

Here’s how API President and CEO Jack Gerard framed the Real Clear Politics “Energy In Transition” event last week:

“President Trump will take office at a time of unprecedented energy production, largely as a result of innovations in the decades-old technique of hydraulic fracturing and refining capacity thanks to our nation’s world-class refineries and their state-of-the-art refining techniques. The fundamental question, in the energy space, his administration will be called to answer is whether to pursue an all-of-the-above energy strategy by promoting all sources of energy, from oil and natural gas, to coal, to solar to wind to nuclear.”

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Great predicate to the interesting discussion that followed, during which there was consensus – from members of the oil, natural gas, coal, solar, wind and nuclear sectors – that, yes, the country will be best served if the new Trump administration adopts a true, all-of-the-above approach to the nation’s energy policy.

It’s an approach that embraces reality – reality in the United States’ present and future energy needs, reality in the benefits of allowing the marketplace to function properly and effectively and reality in what voting Americans think about their country’s energy future.

America’s energy renaissance has propelled the United States to world leadership in oil and natural gas production. It’s historic and timely, given the fact oil and gas supplied 65 percent of the energy the U.S. used in 2015 and are projected to supply 67 percent of the energy we use in 2040 by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Put another way: Oil and natural gas are and will continue to be America’s foundational fuels – because of their abundance, portability and high energy content – yet all other energy sources are and will play important roles as well. All of the above.  Event panelist Kevin Avery of ConocoPhillips:

“The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States presents us with an opportunity to enact comprehensive energy strategies that support the top priorities for any president: growing the economy, strengthening national security, protecting the environment and build a prosperous future for our children and the generations to come. Domestic crude oil and petroleum products will play an integral role in that strategy.”

U.S. energy policy going forward must effectively execute that strategy – by sustaining and growing the energy renaissance through increased access to domestic oil and natural gas reserves, sound regulatory oversight and fair and efficient leasing and permitting policies. Gerard:

“We need policies that promote or at least do not hinder our nation’s ability to develop its energy resources, from all sources. Our message to the new administration and Congress is simple:  Markets not government mandates are the best way to achieve our nation’s energy, economic and environmental goals. The good news is that choosing the best way forward isn’t a matter of guess work. We know how to lead the world in oil and natural gas production and refining and emissions reduction at a time of economic growth. It’s called today’s reality.”

osullivan_rcpCertainly, working Americans, whose votes were critically important in the recent election, see a comprehensive energy portfolio as smart and necessary. Terry O’Sullivan (left), general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, affirmed this in an interview with RCP’s Carl Cannon, connecting a broad, robust energy strategy with security, jobs and prosperity:

“When we talk about jobs, the energy sector is a huge piece of that. We’re a union that’s all-of-the-above. … We love natural gas, we love coal, we love nuclear, we like wind and solar and renewables, as well. … When my members hear about an energy policy that doesn’t include all-of-the-above, it doesn’t resonate with them.”

So let’s talk energy policy. In terms of an all-of-the-above energy strategy, the Obama administration’s recent decision to remove any new lease sales in the Arctic waters north of Alaska from the next five-year federal offshore leasing program is a big step in the wrong direction.

Just last month 6 billion barrels of oil were discovered in Alaska’s Smith Bay, a find that underscores estimates that the Beaufort and Chukchi seas just to the north could hold 23.6 billion barrels of oil and 104.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Industry has the technology and the experience to safely develop these valuable oil and gas reserves. Unfortunately, as the U.S. and the world look to a future of increasing energy demand, the administration’s decision needlessly puts that energy off limits, penalizing all Americans but particularly Alaskans. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska:

“We have shown that Arctic development is one of the best ways to create jobs, generate revenues, and refill the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Why the president is willing to send all of those benefits overseas is beyond explanation. And it is even more stunning that just one day after urging the new administration to stand up to Russia, he continues to cede leadership on Arctic energy production to them. I will do all that I can to counteract this shortsighted decision.”

Gerard called the decision “short-sighted,” one that “ignores America’s long-term energy needs” and a blow to U.S. energy competitiveness. Gerard:

“[M]ilitary experts warned earlier this year that removing the Arctic from the leasing plan would ‘signal retreat, needlessly reducing U.S. flexibility for promoting our national interests and our ability to ensure international cooperation.’ And it would forego research and exploration of the world’s largest remaining conventional, undiscovered oil and natural gas resources at a time when it remains important to implement a long-term vision for America’s strategic energy future. … We need government to embrace the energy renaissance instead of continuing to drag its feet on developing our domestic resources.  A forward-looking energy policy can further help American consumers and business, boost the economy and strengthen our national security.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joins API after spending 16 years as national editorial writer in the Washington Bureau of The Oklahoman newspaper. In all, he has been a reporter and editor for more than 30 years, including six years as sports editor at The Washington Times. He lives in Occoquan, Virginia, with his wife Pamela. Mark graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in journalism and earned a masters in journalism and public affairs at American University. He's currently working on a masters in history at George Mason University, where he also teaches as an adjunct professor in the Communication Department.