Gerard urges new Cabinet nominees to pursue sensible energy policies

Three of US President Barack Obama’s recent Cabinet nominees—Sally Jewell to be Interior secretary, Ernest J. Moniz to be Energy secretary, and Gina McCarthy to be Environmental Protection Agency administrator—potentially could have significant impacts on the country’s significantly improved oil and gas outlook, American Petroleum Institute Pres. Jack N. Gerard said.

“We need energy policy leaders who will pursue sensible energy policies and will let science guide their decisions, not political ideology,” he told reporters during a Mar 5 teleconference.

Obama nominated McCarthy, currently EPA’s assistant administrator for air and radiation, and Moniz, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Energy Initiatives, to their new positions on Mar 4. Jewell, chief executive of outdoor retailing cooperative Recreational Equipment Inc., was nominated on Feb. 6, and goes before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for a confirmation hearing on Mar. 6.

One day before his scheduled appearance at CERAWeek in Houston, Gerard said his remarks there will highlight how the combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling has unlocked oil and gas from tight shale formations which were inaccessible 10 years ago.

“To give you an idea of the scope of this newfound abundance, the National Petroleum Council, just a decade ago, estimated total remaining gas resources in the contiguous 48 states at just over 1,100 tcf, or about 45 years at current consumption rates,” he said. “Last year, the firm ICF International estimated total remaining natural gas resource at over 3,500 tcf, which equates to more than 140 years of our consumption.”

ICF’s 2012 study also projected that new technologies could increase production of domestic gas by 6 tcf/year and crude oil and other petroleum liquids by 630 million bbl/year by 2017, according to Gerard. “These gains in oil and gas production will create thousands of new jobs, and help spur economic growth for a generation,” he maintained.

He noted that at a time of slow economic growth, high unemployment, ever-increasing deficits, and the daunting challenge of funding growing entitlements, oil and gas development is a “can’t miss” opportunity that could help grow our economy and provide thousands of good-paying jobs.

“Ultimately, in my view, it would be unforgivable if, based on flawed science or outdated assumptions, this country were to abdicate its responsibility to future generations by missing this opportunity to lead on energy and to put control of our energy future back into our own hands,” Gerard said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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