API: US energy policy choices may be crucial this year

Policy choices during 2014 could determine whether the US realizes its full oil and gas production potential and becomes a world energy superpower, or simply continues to play a supporting role in global markets, American Petroleum Institute Pres. Jack N. Gerard said.

“We can erase what for decades has been America’s greatest economic vulnerability—our dependence on energy sources from other continents, particularly from less-stable and friendly nations—and fundamentally alter the geopolitical landscape for decades to come, all while providing a much needed boost to our economy,” he maintained.

“But only if we get our energy policy right,” Gerard added in his annual State of American Energy address at the Newseum in Washington, DC.

He said the US potentially could shed the foreign energy dependence yoke thanks to the American oil and gas industry’s innovative and entrepreneurial spirit that developed new technologies to recover supplies from previously inaccessible deposits.

“Implementing smart, pro-growth energy policies will help to ensure that future Americans only know their country as an energy leader,” Gerard said. “In other words, elections matter. In exactly 10 months, we will choose who will lead us in Washington, DC, and in many state and local governments. These choices will have a lasting and profound impact on the direction of our nation’s energy policy.”

A basic question

API’s 2014 message and advocacy theme—America’s Energy, America’s Choice—distills the issue into a basic question of whether the US energy future will be one of energy abundance, self-sufficiency, and global leadership, or of energy scarcity, dependence, and economic uncertainty, he said.

“If we are to continue our nation’s current positive energy production trends, we must implement energy policies based on current reality and our potential as an energy leader, not on the outdated political ideology of the professional environmental fringe or political dilettantes,” Gerard declared.

Meeting with reporters following his address, API’s president said that Obama administration approval of the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline and significant reforms to the federal Renewable Fuels Standard, which clearly has problems, will need to be among the top priorities in 2014.

“The US oil and gas industry is a leader in pursuing zero or low-carbon emitting technologies,” Gerard said. “More broadly, I hope we can look at what’s really taking place—especially the fact that US carbon dioxide emissions have fallen to a 20-year low largely due to more natural gas production. This is a chance to explore new realities, and how they can contribute to carbon reduction.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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