One of America’s foremost oil pioneers has signed on to guide Republican presidential candidate Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s energy policy.
Former CEO of Devon Energy Corp., Larry Nichols, donated $50,000 in December to a pro-Rubio super PAC. Nichols, in an attempt to bolster Rubio’s image among the country’s oilmen, also intends on hosting a Feb. 26 fundraiser for Rubio in Oklahoma.
Rubio’s decision to bring on Nichols as his energy adviser coincides with Oklahoma’s March 1 primary.
Nichols, along with fellow oil executive George Mitchell, helped develop the combination of hydraulic fracking and horizontal drilling that unleashed vast amounts of previously unobtainable oil and natural gas. He told reporters he is intrigued by Rubio’s reliance on innovation rather than regulation to push energy markets forward.
“Innovation is what is driving this country; it is revolutionizing our society and what we can do and accomplish, in ways that are unthinkable,” Nichols told reporters. “Excessive regulation squashes all that.”
Rubio has attempted to make inroads in Oklahoma in the past, especially among the state’s main energy groups.
“It is private innovators, not government officials, who are best suited to discover cleaner, cheaper, and more efficient ways to access our resources,” Rubio told the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association in Oklahoma City last September.
He added: “Finding ways to empower our energy producers to capture our energy potential should be a priority for every presidential candidate.”
Nichols will likely have a long road to haul attempting to entice other oilmen to gravitate toward Rubio.
Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, Rubio’s opponent in the presidential race, has soaked up a treasure trove of donations from mega frackers Toby Neugebauer and billionaire brothers Dan and Farris Wilks.
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