The people of our nation have spoken and have decisively re-elected President Barack Obama as the next president. This r-election has many implications for our country ranging from economics to social issues and foreign policy. However, four more long years of President Obama and his administration will mean a tough road ahead for the oil and gas industry. The good news is that we know what to expect with four more years of President Obama. He has promised to slash the oil and gas industry’s tax incentives, increase regulations through the EPA, and continue making red tape and bureaucracy the norm.
President Obama has made it perfectly clear in each of the presidential debates that he intends on slashing, what he calls subsidies, the tax incentives of the oil and gas industry. His comments are straightforward — the oil and gas industry makes too much money and he intends on stopping this success through cutting incentives.
As each major industry in the U.S. receives some sort of investment incentive to stimulate that particular industry, his campaign to cull down the very industry that powers our country is absurd. Again though, the industry has an open view into the next four years as he has already made a $90 billion investment into green energy — green companies that have already proven to be failures. Why would his disdain for capitalistic growth in the oil and gas industry end now?
The Obama administration has also empowered the Environmental Protection Agency during the first term to slowly but surely intrude upon oil and gas through regulations surrounding hydraulic fracturing. While the federal government claims that it is uninterested in regulating fracking, it is steadily sending out regulation notices that are nothing but an encroachment on state sovereignty on the issue. Just last month, the EPA sent out additional regulation that requires more reporting of chemical disclosure. As chemical disclosure is already a practice of the industry, especially in Louisiana, this is only another avenue to the EPA taking control of the process. As a side note, the EPA has yet to clarify the exact details of this latest regulation requirement, but now that the election is behind us, surprisingly the details will be revealed.
Lastly, the long wait will hopefully be over for the completion of the Keystone Pipeline. As the Obama administration has continually stalled the progress of completing the pipeline from Canada, now that the election is secured, the industry will be looking for his campaign promises to be fulfilled. The pipeline will not only bring about 20,000 U.S. jobs, but it will help establish America’s energy security for years to come. Importing energy from Canada rather than an OPEC empowered regime can only increase the strength of our country from an economic, national security and free trade standpoint.
While President Obama did not seem like the best option for the oil and gas industry particularly, the industry will remain resilient. For over a century, the men and women of this great nation have poured their time and efforts into exploring and developing the vast natural resources of this country. The current shale revolution has not been brought about by the policies of President Obama and will not be swayed by any new actions of this administration. The oil and gas industry has a job to do: develop our natural resources, create thousands of jobs for our economy and most importantly, move this nation forward to achieving energy security that will impact future generations.
Don Briggs is president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association and contributing columnist to ABiz.