As prepared for delivery
Press briefing teleconference on gasoline prices campaign
Jack Gerard, API president and CEO
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Good morning everyone. Thanks for calling in.
This morning I’d like to outline what the administration can do immediately to put downward pressure on global oil prices, create more new American jobs, enhance our energy security and increase government revenue.
I’m also announcing a campaign we’re launching today to bring these matters more directly before the American people … because we think some of the important facts about our domestic energy situation are being lost in the political rhetoric surrounding gasoline prices. The campaign will engage local and state leaders and include on-line advertising, grassroots work and a new website.
Despite what you may hear, we are an energy rich nation, the world’s third largest producer of oil. We have vast resources that we have not even begun to explore. And by safely developing our own resources of oil and natural gas, we can send a strong signal to the markets that America will control its energy future.
Most U.S. resources have been placed off-limits. The U.S. oil and natural gas industry is currently allowed to explore, develop and produce on less than 15 percent of the federal offshore areas. More than 85 percent of those areas are off limits, denying all Americans the benefit of producing those resources … benefits like greater supplies of crude oil and natural gas, job creation and significant returns to our treasury in taxes, rents, royalties and bonus bids.
America’s oil and natural gas industry has solutions to the serious energy problems facing this country and the top two concerns of most Americans: getting the economy moving and creating jobs.
By increasing oil and natural gas development, we will put private investment dollars to work in generating economic growth and expanding the number of jobs available.
The administration can help by expanding access to U.S. energy resources and by returning to a permitting and leasing program that provides more certainty and far more rapid approvals than we are now seeing.
It can also help by holding back on the blizzard of refinery related regulations that will hamper our fuel production industry, which is already under duress from high crude prices.
Finally, the administration must abandon efforts to punish the oil and natural gas industry through tax policy in ways that will have the exact opposite effect from what they say they want. No economist in the world will tell you gas prices can be reduced by increasing taxes, and the Congressional Research Service just released a study saying so.
And by demonstrating a commitment to greater development of U.S. resources, the administration will also help address rising gasoline prices. The administration apparently doesn’t think more development would work or is worth doing, claiming there is no “silver bullet” for reducing gasoline prices. We strongly disagree and so do most Americans, according to a new national poll we are releasing today. Eighty-one percent of Americans believe more development would lower energy costs, and that is true regardless of political party, gender, age, race, income level or ideology. And 90 percent believe it would create more jobs.
The American people see that supply matters on prices. Strong increases in natural gas production from the Marcellus Shale and other places outside the federal government’s jurisdiction have already helped halve natural gas prices in three years and cut family electric and natural gas bills substantially.
Sending a clear message to people who buy and sell crude oil that the United States is committed to reasserting itself as one of the world’s major oil producers would put downward pressure on gasoline and other fuel prices.
With a strong public commitment to more development, with the right pro-development policies, and with more rapid approvals for new oil and gas projects already in the works, we could create one million additional jobs in as few as seven years and help bring prices down. We have the resources, the human capital, the technology, and the willingness to invest to make this level of development happen.
The administration says it’s already doing a good enough job promoting oil and natural gas development.
Check the numbers, it says. We did, and they show oil and natural gas production on federal lands and waters has lagged behind development on private and state lands. In fact, production in federal areas has trended down between the administration’s first year in office, 2009, and last year, 2011.
Our industry would not be urging the administration to open the door to more development unless it was prepared to walk through that door – unless it envisioned investing its own capital in more projects that could produce more supply and jobs just like the development that is already occurring.
The administration needs a reality check. According to its own estimates, oil and natural gas are going to supply most of America’s energy for decades to come, and producing more of them at home is the best way to meet this demand. We are going to need them, and we can’t keep asking other nations to produce more to meet our demand.
We once again urge the administration to act to promote more domestic resources of oil and natural gas. Provide more access to ample U.S. supplies. Approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Temper the drive for layer upon layer of new regulations. And abandon proposals to impose on the industry billions of dollars in new taxes that would harm investment in the U.S. and the jobs that go with it.
If the administration will do these things, our companies will produce more American oil and gas. We will bolster our economy, create jobs, increase revenue, and help drive down prices.
This is what our country needs. It’s what the American people want us to do. And it’s what we will be talking to them about in the weeks and months ahead in our new campaign on gasoline prices and energy development.