President Obama becomes newest fan of oil and gas industry

You know it’s an election year when President Obama does a 180 degree turn of opinion regarding the oil and gas industry in less than 18 months. Two weeks ago three federal agencies announced their partnership to work on the development of unconventional domestic natural gas thanks to an Executive Order from President Obama.

The new interagency, comprised of the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Interior, is called the Interagency Working Group to Support Safe and Responsible Development of Unconventional Domestic Natural Gas Resources. Phew, what a mouthful. Essentially it means these three government departments will be forced to work together to coordinate current and future research and scientific studies to ensure there is a continued expansion of natural gas and oil production safely and responsibly here in America.

According to a press release from the Department of Energy, “As the President has made clear, domestic natural gas and oil resources will continue to play a key role in America’s energy future. Already, technological advancements like hydraulic fracturing – innovation supported by public research – have allowed development of previously uneconomical natural gas and oil deposits.”

The release further goes on to point out that U.S. oil and natural gas production has increased each year since 2008 (note, since President Obama took office) to reach its highest level in 8 years in 2011. I think if you asked those in the industry, they would say that the United States has had high domestic oil and gas production since 2008 in spite of President Obama’s attempts to sabotage the industry.

Department of the Interior Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes is quoted as saying, “… We are positioning the Obama administration to best meet the critical need of increasing public understanding and public confidence of these critical technologies so that we can continue safe and responsible exploration and production for many decades to come.”

If I had told you in 2011 that President Obama would have created an Interagency with this much support for hydraulic fracturing and domestic production of oil and natural gas, no one would have believed me.

Let’s stroll down memory lane to the post I wrote regarding his lackluster State of the Union address in January 2011 to see how he felt about domestic oil and natural gas production then.

“We need to reinvent our energy policy. I offer a challenge to America’s scientists and engineers. If you can assemble teams with the best minds in your fields and focus on the hardest problems of clean energy, we’ll fund the Apollo projects of our time,” President Obama said towards the beginning of his address.

“With enough research and incentives we can break our dependence on oil with bio-fuels.”

President Obama went on to end his little bit about energy saying this:

“Instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s. Let’s set a new goal that by 2035, 80 percent of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources.

Perhaps President Obama forgot when he created this Interagency, but 2035 is only two decades away. I didn’t see anywhere in his State of the Union address about his love for the critical technology of hydraulic fracturing to leverage the hard-to-reach-and-make-economical shales that he’s desperate to pull on board for votes this November.

Ironic? I think not. Perhaps he’s banking on the oil and gas industry forgetting last year’s zeal, shoot the past three years’ zeal to punish the industry and his promise to fund his pet clean energy projects by “asking Congress to eliminate the billions of taxpayer’s dollars we are giving to the oil companies. In case you haven’t noticed, they are doing just fine without our help.”

Sorry, Mr. President. I don’t believe the industry has forgotten. It looks like you can do just fine without our help in November.


Source: SherWare Blog

Phil Sherwood

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