Outreach to industry isn't election gimmick, White House aide says

The Obama administration is reaching out to the oil and gas industry more than it did initially to develop regulations, but it is not an election-year gimmick, a leading White House official said. It’s time to set aside past battles and show that the nation’s considerable natural gas resources can be produced efficiently and safely, Heather Zichal, the president’s deputy assistant for energy and climate change, told an American Petroleum Institute conference on hydraulic fracturing.

“When it comes to American manufacturing, which must play an essential part in our economic recovery from the recession, low and stable natural gas prices are essential,” Zichal said. “But environmental and public health organizations have raised legitimate questions. Our regulatory efforts must consider stakeholders’ concerns across the spectrum. We all realize this isn’t a zero-risk proposition if it isn’t done right.”

Zichal—who also chairs the interagency gas policy taskforce, which was formed by Obama after it became apparent that a dozen federal departments and agencies were considering proposals to regulate hydraulic fracturing—said environmental and public health organizations and industry must actively participate in the regulatory dialogue.

Asked if the White House’s outreach to the industry would continue into a second term if Obama is reelected, she responded, “The short answer is ‘yes.’ This industry produces oil and gas, which is important to our energy portfolio. We’ll be successful in finalizing regulations which make sense and are effective only if we engage in a real dialogue.”

Relations have improved since early in Obama’s term, when Zichal said agencies and departments were concentrating on finalizing several regulatory reforms, “but they are hardly warm and fuzzy.” She said, “It’s been very good lately, but not smooth sailing.”

‘They’re listening’

API Pres. Jack N. Gerard, who hosted what was API’s 14th such fracing forum for policymakers and citizen groups across the country, confirmed that an active dialogue has been taking place with the White House, but that it’s not cozy. “At least they’re listening,” he said. “But they’re not following every one of our recommendations. There are still some strong disagreements.”

One of the biggest is whether federal fracing regulations, such as the ones the US Department of the Interior and Bureau of Land Management proposed on May 4, are even necessary when many producing states already regulate operations aggressively, Gerard told reporters after the meeting. “The first thing the president’s interagency taskforce should have done, once it was formed, was to sit down and review all of the agency and departmental proposals to regulate fracing and toss out the ones which are unnecessary and irrelevant,” he suggested.

Zichal maintained that the administration recognizes that states are the most effective fracing regulators, and is trying only to produce federal regulations which complement what they’re already doing. “There’s a lot of terrific work happening at the state level, and we’re willing to provide technical support where it’s needed,” she said.

The federal government is ideally situated to play a research and development role, and the first thing the taskforce did, once it was formed, was to get the US Interior and Energy departments and the US Environmental Protection Agency to sign a memorandum of understanding to coordinate their R&D efforts, Zichal noted.

API has an ongoing dialogue with the taskforce and the agencies and departments that are involved, Gerard said. “The proof is in the policies. That’s how we judge,” he said. “If the states are doing a good job already, why is federal regulation even necessary?”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

BG’s 2015 budget ‘significantly lower than 2014’

02/03/2015 BG Group plans capital expenditures on a cash basis of $6-7 billion in 2015, a range it says is “significantly lower than 2014” due to “a lower oil...

BP trims capital budget by $4-6 billion

02/03/2015 BP PLC plans an organic capital expenditure of $20 billion in 2015, down from the previous guidance $24-26 billion. Total organic capital expenditu...

EPA suggests DOS reconsider Keystone XL climate impact conclusions

02/03/2015 The US Department of State might want to reconsider its conclusions regarding potential climate impacts from the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pip...

IHS sees second-half end of US output surge

02/03/2015

Expectations are moderating about growth of oil production in the US this year.

Anadarko reports 2014 loss, remains upbeat about Wattenberg

02/03/2015 Anadarko Petroleum Corp. announced a 2014 net loss of $1.75 billion, or $3.47/share diluted, including a net loss of $4.05 billion associated with ...

CNOOC cuts capital budget, starts production from Jinzhou 9-3

02/03/2015 CNOOC Ltd. is slashing its capital budget for 2015 by 26-35% to $11.25-12.86 billion compared with last year’s budget. Capital expenditures for exp...

Seven Group buys into Beach Energy

02/03/2015 Media group Seven Group Holdings, Perth, has bought 13.8% of Adelaide-based Beach Energy Ltd. through share purchases fuelling speculation of a pos...

Karve joins Cobalt for Cameia development

02/03/2015 Shashank V. Karve has joined Cobalt International Energy Inc. as executive vice-president in charge of development of deepwater Cameia oil field on...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil stays positive on lower rig count

02/03/2015 Oil prices on the New York and London markets closed higher Feb. 2 on positive momentum generated by a falling US rig count, suggesting cuts in pro...
White Papers

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...

Accurate Thermo-Fluid Simulation in Real Time Environments

The crux of any task undertaken in System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis is striking a balance between ti...

6 ways for Energy, Chemical and Oil and Gas Companies to Avert the Impending Workforce Crisis

As many as half of the skilled workers in energy, chemical and oil & gas industries are quickly he...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts


Prevention, Detection and Mitigation of pipeline leaks in the modern world

When Thu, Apr 30, 2015

Preventing, detecting and mitigating leaks or commodity releases from pipelines are a top priority for all pipeline companies. This presentation will look at various aspects related to preventing, detecting and mitigating pipeline commodity releases from a generic and conceptual point of view, while at the same time look at the variety of offerings available from Schneider Electric to meet some of the requirements associated with pipeline integrity management. 

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Global LNG: Adjusting to New Realities

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s March 20, 2015, webcast will look at how global LNG trade will be affected over the next 12-24 months by falling crude oil prices and changing patterns and pressures of demand. Will US LNG production play a role in balancing markets? Or will it add to a growing global oversupply of LNG for markets remote from easier natural gas supply? Will new buyers with marginal credit, smaller requirements, or great need for flexibility begin to look attractive to suppliers? How will high-cost, mega-projects in Australia respond to new construction cost trends?

register:WEBCAST


US Midstream at a Crossroads

Fri, Mar 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Mar. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on US midstream companies at an inflection point in their development in response to more than 6 years shale oil and gas production growth. Major infrastructure—gas plants, gathering systems, and takeaway pipelines—have been built. Major fractionation hubs have expanded. Given the radically changed pricing environment since mid-2014, where do processors go from here? What is the fate of large projects caught in mid-development? How to producers and processors cooperate to ensure a sustainable and profitable future? This event will serve to set the discussion table for the annual GPA Convention in San Antonio, Apr. 13-16, 2015.

This event is sponsored by Leidos Engineering.

register:WEBCAST


The Future of US Refining

Fri, Feb 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Feb. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on the future of US refining as various forces this year conspire to pull the industry in different directions. Lower oil prices generally reduce feedstock costs, but they have also lowered refiners’ returns, as 2015 begins with refined products priced at lows not seen in years. If lower per-barrel crude prices dampen production of lighter crudes among shale plays, what will happen to refiners’ plans to export more barrels of lighter crudes? And as always, refiners will be affected by government regulations, particularly those that suppress demand, increase costs, or limit access to markets or supply.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected