Oil well and storage tanks in the Texas Panhandle.
(The Center Square) – Visiting Houston last week to meet with oil and gas producers, U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillete said the industry is charting a comeback from the downturn caused by the onset of COVID-19 pandemic and price wars.
While oil prices continue to hover around $40 a barrel, with $55 the typical threshold to make a profit, it’s still a demonstrated difference from the historic lows seen in the spring.
“The industry’s history of resilience and ingenuity has shown itself once again during these unprecedented times,” Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil & Gas Association (TXOGA), said in an email response to The Center Square.
“The energy, products and fuels made possible by the oil and natural gas industry form the foundation of the American economy,” Staples added.
Brouillete stressed that the Trump Administration is aligned with the industry’s goal for a strong comeback, and that the Department of Energy has programs in the works to help oil and gas companies gain a better competitive edge in the marketplace, Houston Public Media reported.
“There are even more things that we can do to make this industry more efficient, more productive,” Brouillete said. “We’re going to continue to do that. We’re also going to be looking at regulatory structures all throughout the industry to ensure that we can provide some regulatory certainty.”
A Rystad Energy report found almost half of this year’s 100,000 energy sector job losses occurred in Texas.
“Are we concerned about an extreme downturn? Of course,” Brouillette said. “Unemployment is never something that people should cheer here in America. But I’m very confident of the ability of this particular industry to be resilient to these types of ups and downs.”
Staples of the TXOGA expressed similar certainty.
“We are confident that continuing innovation, advances in technology and a commitment to science-based regulation will keep the industry and our nation on a path toward economic recovery,” Staples said.