API chief calls oil leasing ‘a lifeline to local economies’ at USEA Forum

1/28/2021
API President Mike Sommers
API President Mike Sommers

WASHINGTON – American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Mike Sommers gave remarks during the 17th Annual State Of The Energy Industry Forum, hosted by the U.S. Energy Association. Sommers outlined areas of common ground with President Biden while raising concerns that the new administration is on the “wrong side” of several consequential issues that will shape America’s energy future.

“We are rooting for President Biden to lead America out of crisis,” API President and CEO Mike Sommers said. “As he works toward that important goal, he faces clear choices. Energy abundance or foreign dependence. American jobs or overseas jobs. Economic revival or small-town decline. Progress or retreat. Thus far, President Biden is on the wrong side of a number of these consequential choices.”

“Moments after he took the Oath of Office, we pledged to work with his administration when we can and oppose when we must,” Sommers said. “Only eight days into his term, it is disappointing to report that we find ourselves in a posture of strong opposition. But we have no choice. … From afar, in the halls of power, it’s easy to call for bans on leasing. But up close, you see it’s a lifeline to local economies, governments and schools. …The surest way to bring recovery to a stop is to remove affordable, homegrown energy from the picture – with more regulations, more taxes, more restrictions on access.”

For example, in the state of New Mexico, a federal leasing and development ban could mean 62,000 people out of work. Additionally, more than $1 billion per year from New Mexico’s budget to support schools, roads and hospitals could be at risk.

Sommers went on to stress that, regardless of differences, API is committed to working with the White House on a path forward because natural gas and oil will play an important role in the world’s energy mix for decades to come. According to the IEA, in 2040, natural gas and oil will be roughly half of the global energy mix.

Sommers noted key areas of potential common ground with the administration: supporting the direct regulation of methane sources, promoting technological innovation, ensuring trade policies support exports of American environmental progress, and working toward the end of the pandemic.

“API members have made great progress in reducing methane over the past four years and believe smart regulation can accelerate this progress,” Sommers said. “We are willing partners in shaping a regulatory environment that is sensible, workable and promotes further technological advances and innovation. Our industry can continue lowering emissions while supplying the energy our nation needs.”

Sommers continued, “By exporting liquefied natural gas, America has the capacity to share a low-cost, lower-carbon resource with our trading partners in Europe, Asia and around the world. Natural gas is a big reason why the U.S. is the world leader in reducing carbon dioxide emissions – and to meet Paris and other lower carbon targets, access to natural gas is essential. … Our focus remains on partnering with the administration, Congress and the many industries today with whom I share the dais to shape a better future – a future driven by the affordable, reliable, cleaner energy, provided in large part by natural gas and oil.”

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