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article imageTrump's energy plan and its impact on the fossil fuel industry

By Karen Graham     Mar 4, 2017 in Business
According to independent economists, oil production and exports under the Trump administration are forecast to hit fresh records. It helps that a rollback on environmental regulations has been put in place, including a halt to methane emissions reviews.
In February, oil exports were over one million barrels a day, recording a huge boost that signals the possibility that North America will be exporting more energy than it imports within the next decade, creating a fundamental shift in the U.S. role in global energy markets, according to Seeker.
Robert Godby, an associate professor at the University of Wyoming and director of the Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy told Seeker if Trump were to open up all federal lands to oil exploration, "we could see a significant increase in oil." But Godby also cautions, "But only if international prices don't suddenly collapse again. And that's a big if because that's out of our control."
Crude oil prices have slumped from above $100 a barrel in mid-2014 to between $40-$45 currently
Crude oil prices have slumped from above $100 a barrel in mid-2014 to between $40-$45 currently
Doing away with Obama-era initiatives in favor of oil
Donald Trump has kept to his campaign promises in rolling back Obama-era regulations that the energy industry said were stifling and put an unnecessary burden on the industry. Analysts at ESAI Energy LLC, said in a research note: "Trump will encourage oil development, permit pipelines, reduce corporate profit taxes, and generally make US oil more competitive."
And the moves made by Trump to revive the industry have been paying off. Two years ago, when oil companies were struggling with the worst price slash in years, almost 100 small-scale drillers took bankruptcy. But the ones that held on have reshaped themselves, becoming leaner and more streamlined.
“The shale business is rejuvenated because of the difficulties it has been through,” Ben van Beurden, the chief executive officer of Royal Dutch Shell, said in comments last month, reports the Denver Post.
Fracking the Bakken Formation in North Dakota.
Fracking the Bakken Formation in North Dakota.
Joshua Doubek
In just the past nine months, the number of drilling rigs has grown 91 percent, to just over 602. Shale oil production has increased more than 550,000 barrels a say since last summer and is now coming close to nine million barrels a day for the first time since last April.
Scott Pruitt hands fossil fuel-friendly states a gift
EPA chief Scott Pruitt on Thursday handed the oil and gas industry a gift, canceling an Obama-era request for information regarding methane gas emissions from fossil fuel facilities, according to Common Dreams.
Perhaps it's no surprise that the cancellation came after Pruitt received a letter on Wednesday signed by 11 attorneys general from pro-oil states, demanding that the EPA chief revoke a request they considered "burdensome" and "onerous." Pruitt, being one of the "good old boys" with ties to the fossil fuel industry was happy to acquiesce to the letter's demand.
However, Mark Brownstein, vice president of climate and energy for the Environmental Defense Fund says that basically, Pruitt is allowing oil and gas companies the leeway to keep information on methane pollution from the public. And this could lead to another Porter Ranch disaster. The methane leak created outrage and the American public demanded action. Now, the EPA's attempt to address the problem has been trashed.
Aerial footage filmed Dec. 17  2015  shows potent  climate-damaging methane gases escaping from a ma...
Aerial footage filmed Dec. 17, 2015, shows potent, climate-damaging methane gases escaping from a massive natural gas leak at a storage facility in California’s Aliso Canyon, with the San Fernando valley pictured in the background. The giant methane plumes were made visible by a specialized infrared camera operated by an Earthworks ITC-certified thermographer.
Environmental Defense Fund
Trump's energy plan for the U.S. only addresses fossil fuels
The central theme of Trump's energy plan for the country centers on the claim that there are "$50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own."
According to Trump, rolling back Obama's climate and energy policies could boost U.S. wages over $30 billion over seven years. However, the plan makes no mention of the number of jobs being filled in the renewable energy industry. But Trump is more focused on bringing back the coal industry and "putting coal miners back to work."
But it is sort of strange that Trump is supporting both coal and gas. The two are at odds with each other because they compete as a fuel source for generating electricity, and, of the two, natural gas is the cleaner fuel by a mile. Actually, natural gas is a bigger threat to coal than all the Obama regulations.
Pouring money into new coal-fired power plants  a sector US President-elect Donald Trump has vowed t...
Pouring money into new coal-fired power plants, a sector US President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to revitalise, no long makes economic sense according to experts
"The president has committed to embracing shale gas," Adele Morris, senior fellow and policy director at the Brookings Institution, told a recent forum on Trump's energy policies in Washington DC. "That's going to do nothing but reinforce the low price of gas and its effect on coal as its primary competitor in the power market."
Regardless of President Trump's plans for the American energy industry, oil and coal production increases, along with reversing regulations to protect the environment will only put this country and the world in far greater jeopardy than anyone could imagine. The big question might be - Is it worth it?
More about american oil companies, oil exports, rollback of EPA regulations, Trump administration, Opec
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