Washington – American Petroleum Institute (API) President and CEO Mike Sommers today addressed The Economic Club of Florida and discussed the critical importance of American energy leadership at a time of geopolitical volatility and rising energy costs around the world. Sommers urged policymakers to advance U.S. natural gas and oil production to support stability in global energy markets and ensure access to affordable, reliable energy for American consumers and our allies overseas.
“Most everyone knows that the world needs oil and natural gas in a big way and will for decades or more to come; the only question is where that oil and gas is going to come from. As much as ever, we need to think hard about that economic truth and our energy future,” API President and CEO Mike Sommers said. “That means recognizing energy from natural gas and oil as the critical strategic asset it is to America.”
“We can’t treat oil and natural gas as a kind of switch that is turned on or off to suit the moment,” Sommers said. “Production and delivery don’t work that way. Yet the overriding policy lately has been to cancel pipelines, block permits and deny leases -- all things that discourage investment. As more Americans face the consequences of bad policy, the elements of good policy become that much more apparent and desired. We have an opportunity together to re-center the energy discussion with basic realities and good common sense as our starting point.”
Sommers called on the administration and Congress to develop a new five-year offshore leasing program; hold onshore leases on federal lands in accordance with the Mineral Leasing Act; approve LNG export applications and allow the approval of exports to non-free-trade-agreement nations; and craft transparent, consistent permitting regulations to enable the development of vital energy infrastructure.
The U.S. has pledged to increase LNG exports to Europe by 65 percent over the next six years. Sommers explained how the pledge will require effective policies to enable expanded LNG exports.
“To get supplies on this scale to export terminals and over to Europe, we’ll need access to energy on federal lands and the ability to build new infrastructure,” Sommers said. “That means laying many miles of pipelines and getting the federal and state permits to do so. When you mention details like these, it gets politically complicated. But that’s just the reality. If Europe’s going to get the energy, then America will need the infrastructure to get it there.”
“If America doesn’t control its energy, our fate will be in the hands of others. That alone is a powerful argument for more investment, more exploration, more innovation, to keep us in a commanding position, no matter what the future might bring,” Sommers said. “Energy policy does not have to be an endless series of crisis-management decisions. Our aim should be to avoid crises – by shaping events instead of reacting to them.”
“When national security, environmental progress, and our economic fortunes ride in part on American energy leadership, after a while the case makes itself,” Sommers concluded. “We’re talking about a powerful engine of prosperity. And I’d rather keep that engine running in America than anywhere else.”
API represents all segments of America’s natural gas and oil industry, which supports more than 11 million U.S. jobs and is backed by a growing grassroots movement of millions of Americans. Our nearly 600 members produce, process and distribute the majority of the nation’s energy, and participate in API Energy Excellence®, which is accelerating environmental and safety progress by fostering new technologies and transparent reporting. API was formed in 1919 as a standards-setting organization and has developed more than 700 standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency and sustainability.