API President Optimistic about Obama’s Second-Term Industry Relations: Platts Energy Week

Also Sunday: Washington Weighs in on Energy Appointments; Venezuela’s Oil Outlook

Washington - March 11, 2013

The president of the American Petroleum Institute (API) is optimistic that oil and natural gas industry relations with the Obama administration will be more positive in a second term, and that the Keystone XL pipeline will be approved.

In an interview on Platts Energy Week, the all-energy news and talk show program, Jack Gerard pointed to President Obama's State of the Union address of a few weeks ago, when Gerard said the president "talked about the need for expanded oil and gas development, and in fact called on expediting the permits needed to develop oil and natural gas."

"So I believe the president has come closer to a broader worldview about what's necessary to fuel our domestic economy, to create jobs right here in the United States, to put our people to work and supply the energy we're going to need to fuel our economy moving ahead and put us back on track," Gerard told Platts Energy Week host Bill Loveless.

Gerard contrasted the 2013 State of the Union with that of 2011, when oil and natural gas were referred to by the President as "yesterday's energy."

One of the more significant processes now ongoing in the federal government is under the auspices of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), an arm of the U.S. Department of the Interior, which is reviewing a federal role in regulating hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The Department of the Interior, of which BLM is a part, said in late January that it would delay implementation of new federal fracking rules and is seeking new comments. Those rules already had been delayed previously.

Gerard said API is working with BLM on the rules, but did not give any indication what he thought might be their specific rules or impacts.

As to Keystone XL, the Canada-to-U.S. crude oil pipeline needs State Department approval to cross the international border, and it has been targeted by environmental opponents because it would carry mostly oil from Canada's oil sands.

Gerard pointed to the most recent State Department’s environmental impact statement, which was mostly positive in laying out the pipeline's impact: "That's the fourth one, it's the most studied pipeline ever, and they've all concluded the same: there is no significant impact," he said.

Other Program Highlights

In a separate interview on Platts Energy Week, two former government officials from different sides of the political divide, Jeff Holmstead, now of the law firm of Bracewell Giuliani, and Elgie Holstein, currently with the Environmental Defense Fund, both praised Gina McCarthy, whom President Obama nominated this past week as the new head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Holmstead said McCarthy will spend most of the term implementing policies first decided upon by her predecessor, Lisa Jackson. "Gina is much more engaged on the issues," Holmstead said. "She wants to understand the concerns that the industry has, and that's not something we always have seen with Lisa Jackson."

Holstein described McCarthy as having an "open door and open mind, and unusual for Washington, she's got a great sense of humor."

Sunday’s edition of Platts Energy Week also covered how the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has raised many questions about the South American nation’s futures. Alex Choinski, of the law firm McDermott Will & Emery and a specialist in Latin American energy investment, discussed the outlook for Venezuela’s oil and natural gas industries.

During Sunday’s “Market Spotlight” segment, Platts Associate Editor Michael McCafferty addressed how production of natural gas liquids (NGLs) is at a record high due to shale gas production and what that means for one of those NGLs, propane.

Platts Energy Week airs at 7:30 a.m. U.S. Eastern time Sunday mornings on W*USA TV 9 in greater Washington, D.C. and in Houston at 4:00 p.m. U.S. Central time on Sunday on KUHT HoustonPBS (Channel 8). The program is also available for viewing in North Carolina on Sundays at 5:30 p.m. on PBS (digital channel UNC-MX) and repeats on Tuesdays at 6:00 p.m. on same channel. The program is also available on the web at www.plattsenergyweektv.com.

The program follows an interview format featuring guests from the energy industry Obama administration, Congress, government agencies, think tanks, and the investment community. Host Bill Loveless is the long-time editor of Platts’ Inside Energy and brings nearly three decades of energy journalism experience to the anchor chair.

Platts Energy Week is produced by Platts, the world’s leading source of information and intelligence on energy and related commodities and a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies [NYSE: MHP], and W*USA-TV, the Washington, D.C., CBS affiliate and flagship television station of Gannett Company. [NYSE: GCI]. While the program is US focused and produced in Washington, it reflects the global vantage point of Platts, whose correspondents are stationed in such major capitals as London, Dubai, Singapore, Tokyo and Moscow.

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