President Barack Obama touched on the oil and gas industry in his State of the Union. Some of these initiatives may benefit Louisiana’s economy.
First, the President suggested loosening regulation. “My administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits,” Obama said. “That’s got to be a part of an all-of-the-above plan.”
Don Briggs, who leads Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, lauded this decision. “Time is money to the industry. Waiting months and months and taking a year and half to two years to get a permit, it doesn’t work,” Briggs said. “The federal government needs to shorten that permit time, hire more people, make it more efficient.”With a shorter permit time, Briggs says, more rigs would come – more rigs means more jobs for locals.
That may not be the only job creator in Louisiana to come out of the speech last night. The President suggested setting up a research fund from oil and gas company tax revenues. But Briggs is worried about the president’s track record of investing in green energy. He pointed to companies like Solyndra, Inc., which received over half a million dollars in federal funds, but filed for bankruptcy in 2012. Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu noted in a statement about the speech, oil and gas companies only get about 13% of the federal government’s energy subsidies every year. Oil and gas giants are also producing research. In Louisiana, ExxonMobil is working with a startup to produce biofuel out of Rapides Parish.