Industry seeks chance to do more economically, API official says

The oil and gas industry hopes US President Barack Obama will acknowledge economic contributions it has, an American Petroleum Institute official said hours before the president was scheduled to deliver his 2013 State of the Union address.

“We can do much more,” API Executive Vice President Marty Durbin told reporters in a Feb. 12 teleconference. “We can be a major driver of an all-of-the-above energy future that will drive the nation economically forward.”

He said that API would like the Obama administration to increase access to federal land and waters as well as streamline permitting, avoid singling out the industry for new taxes when it already pays more than its fair share, and approve the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline project’s cross-border permit.

Acknowledging reports that Obama will emphasize putting more Americans back to work, Durbin said that the US oil and gas industry was one of the few which create jobs each month through the 2008-11 economic downturn.

“We’ve seen growth in unconventional oil and gas development in particular, where we employ over 1.7 million workers, and could employ over 2 million by 2020,” he said. “We also have the world’s largest refining capacity, particularly along the Gulf Coast, which supports thousands of jobs.”

Durbin said that it’s also important to recognize the industry has significantly helped to improve the environment.

“What has happened in greenhouse gas reductions, particularly in using natural gas instead of coal to generate electricity, but also in other parts of the economy puts our country ahead of others in addressing climate change,” he indicated.

 

Pursuing alternatives

“We know oil and gas will continue to play a critical US economic role, but believe that other forms of energy need to be developed as well,” Durbin continued. “For example, $1 out of every $5 invested in non-hydrocarbon renewables comes from our industry.”

Oil and gas is an innovative, high-technology industry that supports 9.2 million jobs and could do more, he maintained. “We believe our future is bright,” Durbin said.

Charles T. Drevna, president of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, also said that he hopes Obama uses his State of the Union address to take steps which will address jobs, the economy, energy independence and national security.

“In his address, the president has the unique opportunity to begin to write his legacy based upon a free and open market philosophy by embracing the significant role that North American oil and gas can play in the economic revitalization and catalyst for the energy and national security that seven of his predecessors have sought,” he observed.

“We hope he does not squander such an opportunity by latching onto unrealistic and costly mandates aimed at picking winners and losers in the marketplace, to the disadvantage of consumers and our nation's economic growth,” Drevna said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

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