by Tom Price
OKLAHOMA CITY — No one who has observed the continuing supply increases in both wet and dry gas and the drastic decline in price associated with both can dispute the fact that producers – several headquartered right here in Oklahoma City — have done an astonishing job on the supply side.
Energy independence no longer has to be a dream. In fact, the abundance of natural gas and natural gas liquids that the industry is producing has increased to a level that America is now in a position that both can realistically be exported without adversely impacting domestic price competiveness and supply.
What an important impact our industry and domestic oil and gas producers can have on our nation at a time when job creation, global manufacturing competitiveness, and the utilization of a clean and affordable fuel is more important than ever.
The question of federalism and energy policy ultimately boils down to one thing:
Will we have a federal government that imposes an imperial ideology including heavy-handed environmental restrictions that prevent the U.S. domestic energy industry from becoming the game changer in both domestic and foreign policy?
Or, will regulators and legislators recognize that the oil and gas industry in our country has been well served by state regulatory oversight for decades. In fact, even EPA administrator Lisa Jackson herself has stated the respective states are better positioned to preside over the drilling activity that takes place within their borders.
The American people deserve to know the truth about the extraordinary technologies we are using in the oil and gas industry today as well as the measures that are being taken to protect the environment.
Just as there are differences among the various geological formations in each respective state there are also differences in the appropriate regulatory framework for each state.
While it is true that all of the 50 U.S. states are benefitting from the new found energy abundance it is not true that all, even those where there is no drilling activity, have the right to tell states who have been producing oil and gas for more 100 years, like Oklahoma, how they should be regulated and by whom.
While it only takes wild imagination, the desire for attention, and the willingness to fantasize about a zero footprint energy source to be an anti-industry zealot, it takes courage, leadership, scientific expertise and innovation to be an industry leader like Chesapeake Energy, Devon Energy and others.
But we also need informed regulators and legislators and, let’s not forget the media and policy makers like the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs and similar free market partner organizations to ensure an accurate picture is provided to educate all stakeholders regarding future energy policy and the appropriate regulations to control our industry.
I am proud to be with those who seek the truth and to ensure an energy future that reduces foreign oil dependence, reduces toxic emissions, and provides a brighter future for all consumers.
Chesapeake is at the forefront working to advance our nation’s most abundant, affordable and environmentally sound energy source – natural gas. Yet, while we still unabashedly champion American natural gas to power more of America’s economy, we also are expanding our efforts to find more oil and natural gas liquids as well. Indeed, we need all three if we are going to provide the fuel to energize the American economy.
I want to take a moment to commend Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin for her extraordinary leadership on the national scene to create greater demand for natural gas as a transportation fuel for state fleets. As I mentioned a moment ago, we and other producers have done an exceptionally fine job creating supply.
In fact, sub-$3 natural gas we receive today in the market reflects that we’ve done a better job than anyone could have dreamed of just a few short years ago.
It’s the demand side of the equation that needs enhancement. And that’s just what Chesapeake, in collaboration with both Republican and Democratic Governors across the country has been doing. All it takes is courage and leadership.
Gov. Fallin exemplifies the kind of courageous and foresighted leadership we need in this country to revive our country’s economic engine – which we believe can efficiently and more cost effectively run on natural gas, of course.
NOTE: Price is senior vice president at Chesapeake Energy. This is adapted from his remarks at last week’s National Summit on Energy Policy and Federalism, sponsored by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs and the State Policy Network, and several energy industry firms.