In the past year, oil & gas related businesses across the state experienced a number of hurdles that seriously challenged the viability of the industry as a whole. From the imposition of a federal drilling moratorium to declining energy prices, 2010 was most certainly a year we all watched cautiously. Looking positively towards the future, we know that one thing is certain: Louisiana will always be in the energy business.
Since it’s inception, the oil and gas business has remained an industry marked with severe ups and downs. At times, uncertainty is created from simple supply and demand economics. In other times, like we see today, government intrusion and overburdening regulations play a large factor in determining oil & gas market conditions. Regardless of the normal ebb and flow of our industry, it’s our job here at home to ensure that the lights stay on, the stoves keep burning, factories keep bustling, and cars keep moving. Louisianans have always embraced our vital role in energy production and will continue so into the distant future.
Here in Louisiana we take pride in our role to provide the necessary energy that keeps our nation moving forward. Our state is a leader in natural gas storage capacity and it’s estimated that nearly 50% of all the fuel, diesel and gasoline, that enters into this country runs through the intricate pipeline systems of Louisiana. We continue to remain the nation’s top crude oil producer and rank second in natural gas production in the entire country. Much of our success in recent years has come from developing our rich reserves in the Outer Continental Shelf in the Gulf of Mexico and the bright Haynesville Shale development.
As the sun sets on 2010, we can look towards many positive developments towards our energy future. Although many issues still exist with permitting in the Gulf of Mexico due to the tragic oil spill, the positives are that the well has been capped and companies are gearing up to get back to work. It also appears that federal initiatives such as cap-and-trade and attempts to end our industry’s vital tax exemptions have lost substantial steam in Washington. Although these developments are encouraging, we still must remain cautious as the EPA continues its pursuit to regulate carbon dioxide and the agency progresses towards potential regulation of the hydraulic fracturing process.
The American spirit is defined by competitiveness, ingenuity, and resiliency. Our state and the energy industry in Louisiana embody this spirit to the utmost certainty. This past year of bumps and hurdles will undoubtedly go down in the history books as a dark time in our industry. We have witnessed much uncertainty and anxiety within the oil and gas business in recent years, but it’s time we all move optimistically into the coming year and look towards 2011 with utmost confidence.
Don Briggs is the President of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association.