Cautious Optimism in the Oil and Gas Industry

Attendance at the 2017 Offshore Technology Conference was down from previous years. Deep-water drillers, who have not yet felt the budding onshore recovery, stayed away from the industry’s largest convention.  Only 65,000 people walked the exhibit halls at NRG Park in Texas compared to the 108,000 individuals who attended in 2014 when oil prices passed $100 a barrel.

After suffering through the worst downturn in more than three decades, the oil and gas industry is embarking on “a new cycle of expansion” as companies send dozens of new rigs into Texas oil fields, drill hundreds more wells, and hire thousands of workers.

Photo from Worldoil.com

Photo from Worldoil.com

Ryan Zinke, Secretary of Interior, was the keynote speaker for Offshore Energy Policies: Harnessing the Full Potential of America’s Offshore at OTC. During the conference, Zinke signed two secretarial orders aimed at unleashing America’s offshore energy potential and growing the U.S. economy.

The first order implements President Trump’s Executive Order signed April 28th and directs the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to develop a new five-year plan for oil and gas exploration in offshore waters and reconsider a number of regulations governing those activities.

The second order establishes a new position – Counselor to the Secretary for Energy Policy – to coordinate the Interior Department’s energy portfolio that spans nine of the Department’s ten bureaus.

“Today’s orders will help cement our Nation’s position as a global energy leader and foster energy independence and security for the benefit of the American people while ensuring that this development is safe and environmentally responsible,” Secretary Zinke told industry representatives. “We are committed to fuller cooperation with the offshore industry and coastal communities to expand responsible energy development while holding industry accountable to strict safety and environmental protections.”

The general attitude about the oil and gas economy thus far is cautious optimism. ”2017 is going to be a year of recovery and expansion in the Texas statewide oil and gas exploration and production economy,” says Karr Ingram, economist.