Private Energy Companies Are Poised With A Flood Of Investment If Trump Reduces Regs

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter
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Energy companies are looking to invest $1.1 trillion in infrastructure in the next 12 years, The American Petroleum Institute (API) said Tuesday.

API President and CEO Jack Gerard used President Donald Trump’s recent focus on infrastructure spending to highlight infrastructure spending in the oil and gas sector. In a press conference after delivering his State of American Energy address, Gerard said private companies were prepared to finance $1.1 trillion in new energy infrastructure.

However, Gerard warned that the United States may receive only part of the investment if strict regulations or unnecessary delays hamper construction.

“We’re not looking for a government program. We’re not looking for funding in that way. We’re merely looking for certainty and predictability in things like permitting processes and the ability to get the requisite permit necessary to build infrastructure,” Gerard told reporters during the press conference.

“Those dollars will be spent someplace around the world. Our view is let’s spend them right here at home. Let’s help advance the opportunity here and create well-paying American jobs,” Gerard added.

The key to effective regulations from local and federal sources is certainty, Gerard said. Often, approved projects are delayed indefinitely by actors unwilling to accept the decision of regulators.

A practice referred to as “sue and settle” was curbed in 2017 by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt. The strategy was a favorite of environmental groups that wanted to delay or force the agency’s rulemaking process, creating an unstable regulatory framework for companies seeking to develop.

Although the EPA has taken steps against the practice, politicians in states like New York are ideologically against oil and gas development, restricting the construction of infrastructure and inflating energy prices for that state’s consumers.

“If the systems are being used, if you will, to obstruct the development of much needed infrastructure, then we will push, as we know others will, for certainty and predictability in the process,” Gerard said.

Gerard used the recent winter storms as an example where the United States lacked “much needed” energy infrastructure. The Northeast U.S. was on the verge of an energy crisis last week when pipeline infrastructure in the area could not supply enough fuel to keep pace with what the residents were burning.

“It’s a great irony that one of the largest natural gas fields in the Marcellus shale region … is right next door to many in New England that pay significantly higher for electricity,” Gerard said. “We could bring affordable, reliable energy to everybody, but when you artificially constrain the supply by failing to build the requisite infrastructure to move the product, you’re having adverse impacts on consumers.”


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