Politics of energy industry assessed

PBPA, Landgraf, TIPRO, TXOGA say next president must be more sophisticated

An array of pumpjacks operate Thursday, July 7, 2022, in Odessa. (Odessa American File Photo)

The 2024 presidential election is important to Texas’ energy industry, but the global need for oil and natural gas and the industry’s high dollar innovations to protect the environment will be more telling in the long run.

That’s according to the Permian Basin Petroleum Association, State Rep. Brooks Landgraf and the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners and Texas Oil & Gas associations, who say the next president will need more sophistication about the issue.

“Elections have consequences and this year is no exception,” PBPA President Ben Shepperd said Tuesday. “The president controls who runs the government agencies that regulate us on a daily basis and this administration has been more hostile to the oil and gas industry than any in history.

“While that might sound like hyperbole, what other president ever made a public declaration to end fossil fuels?”

Shepperd said there have been dozens of federal administrative actions since Biden took office three years ago that were aimed at increasing regulatory burdens and costs with the ultimate goal of completely removing hydrocarbons or fossil fuels from the energy mix.

“While we all know it is impossible to get rid of oil and gas, that doesn’t stop some folks from trying,” he said. “The next president needs to have a realistic understanding of the global energy market and the human benefits that are achieved through hydrocarbon utilization.

“The people of the United States deserve a president who will fight for reasonable policies to improve the lives of all Americans.”

Shepperd said the Permian Basin is producing record amounts of oil, gas, jobs and tax revenues in spite of the punitive actions the Biden administration has been taking.

“You might say that this industry is filled with the most dedicated and innovative people in the world,” he said. “We’re able to increase production while reducing emissions.

“We do many positive things for the betterment of humanity and we need to continue sharing that message.”

Landgraf, chairman of the Texas House Environmental Regulation Committee in Austin, said people who grew up in the Basin like him “have a deeply ingrained understanding of the pivotal role that oil and natural gas play in shaping America’s past, present and future.

“The significance of these age-old, globally impactful commodities in maintaining America’s superpower status is self-evident to us,” the Odessa Republican said Tuesday. “And while the market has faced challenging shifts, Texas oil and gas have proved resilient time and time again.”

He said the collective impact of state legislatures and Congress in energy-rich states is equally if not more crucial than the presidency. “I have firsthand experience with the Texas Legislature’s crucial role in ensuring the industry’s prosperity,” Landgraf said.

“The transformative influence of state-level decisions and congressional representation, especially in regions like the Permian Basin, has been instrumental. Anchored by the Basin, the Texas oil and gas industry continues to innovate, adapt, ensure our economic vitality and contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable future.”

The representative cited an initiative by the ExxonMobil Corp. to recycle plastics as an example of the industry’s sensitivity to the environment.

“Despite persistent misconceptions fueled by Hollywood and coastal elites, the industry is actively working to reshape public perception,” he said. “Real solutions are emerging, driven by market forces rather than government mandates, and examples like ExxonMobil’s advanced recycling process that converts plastic waste to its molecular roots showcase the industry’s innovative response to both market and environmental needs.”

Landgraf said oil and gas companies in the Basin are ready to lead in the burgeoning hydrogen market.

“This adaptability underscores the sector’s importance not just to Texas’ economy but also to global energy advancements,” he said. “From powering our phones to manufacturing tires for electric cars, the energy industry is integral to our daily lives and essential in lifting millions out of poverty, particularly in emerging nations.

“This will continue to be the case regardless of who resides in the White House.”

TIPRO President Ed Longanecker said from Austin Tuesday that energy “will undoubtedly be at the forefront of discussions during the 2024 elections, but American oil and gas producers are proving they can meet the rise in energy demand while not only meeting emission reduction goals, but also taking proactive measures to ensure responsible stewardship of the resources and surrounding environment.

“In 2022 the Permian, one of the largest producing basins in the country, reached its lowest methane intensity during a record production year,” Longanecker said. “Candidates should recognize the important role oil and gas are playing in not only meeting energy demand, but also from an economic and national security perspective.

“Policy that continues to support the development of these critical energy resources, while ensuring reliability and affordability to consumers, will be necessary for the continued success of our country.”

TXOGA President Todd Staples said from Austin Wednesday that energy-related government policy is important at any level.

“Record breaking production and export numbers are the result of the industry’s continued commitment towards energy leadership and innovation and a testament to the irreplaceable role of oil and natural gas in meeting growing energy demand,” Staples said. “However, the success that we’ve seen is not guaranteed.

“Policy can either promote prosperity or hinder it. To that end, industry as well as energy advocates must do our part to elect pro-energy candidates who are focused on lessening America’s dependence on foreign-produced resources and who encourage increased domestic investment and production to create jobs here at home, grow our economy and keep the United States the world’s energy leader.”