News from IPAA 2012 annual meeting: IPAA membership remains positive post-election
BY KURT ABRAHAM, Executive Editor
NEW ORLEANS -- In the wake of Tuesday’s election results, Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) Chairman Virginia (Gigi) Lazenby and President Barry Russell briefed members at that group’s annual meeting in New Orleans. While it is understandable that the overwhelmingly conservative/Republican membership is disappointed at the election results, Lazenby and Russell told the audience that there is much going on in the industry to feel positive and upbeat about.
They cited the sizeable increase in U.S. oil production from about 5.6 million bpd in 2011 to beyond 6.2 million bpd this year, achieved through exploitation of shale plays, much of it due to the efforts of IPAA members. They also pointed to the potential opportunities for exporting U.S. gas as LNG to other continents, once gas prices improve incrementally from current levels between $3.60 and $4.00/Mcf.
That having been said, Lazenby and Russell cautioned members that there will continue to be problems emanating from a second Obama administration term, just as there were in the President’s first four years. They look for Obama to continue to try to work around Congress and attack the oil and gas industry through Executive Orders, in place of proper legislation. They also expect the EPA to increase its efforts to make life difficult for producers through additional rulemaking that addresses production emissions, water quality in the field and oil spill prevention, among many subjects.
Russell said that he is concerned that the EPA’s aggressive stance is emboldening environmental and anti-industry activists. “The thing that I worry about, is when (T.V. talk host) David Letterman or (actor) Matt Damon comes on the television, and says, ‘what you’re doing in Pennsylvania is poisoning the environment.’ It’s a grossly unfair and untrue characterization of what is going on with fracing.”
A guest speaker, Politico’s co-founder and editor-in-chief, John Harris, said that Washington politicians’ dysfunctional behavior is hurting the U.S. economy, “but I don’t think that (Republican presidential candidate Mitt) Romney had a crisp economic argument. He had a good rhetorical line, but somehow people still blame (former President George W.) Bush for the economy.” However, added Harris, “After four years, that argument’s getting tired. There has to be accountability (on Obama’s part), and this (the election) is the last time that this argument can be used.”