Jack Gerard answers your questions – Part Two

In this week’s readers’ Q&A session, Jack Gerard, head of the API, the voice of the US oil industry, answers your questions.

In this second of two posts, he discusses peak oil, the potential of natural gas, and what the API’s lobbying achieves.

Earlier, he answered questions on the importance of energy efficiency, why drilling curbs should be eased and where the world will find new sources of oil.

Next in the hotseat is Magued Eldaief, the head of GE’s UK energy business. He ill be answering your questions next Friday, January 21st. Send in your questions for consideration by the end of Sunday, January 16th to energysource@ft.com.

But for now, over to Jack:

Peak oil

In its 2010 Joint Operating Environment, the US Joint Forces Command warned: “By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day”.

Do you agree with this? What is the position of the API on peak oil?
Lionel Badal

We take warnings about “peak oil” and “running out of oil” with a pinch of salt.  Nevertheless, the world does need to be making significant investments in new oil development to ensure that supplies keep pace with demand. Governments’ energy development policies should be aligned with this reality.

The world does need to be making significant investments in new oil development to ensure that supplies keep pace with demand

Natural gas

Do you agree with Boone Pickens that we should make better use of the vast amounts of domestic natural gas which is available for commercial recovery from shale deposits by using it as a transportation fuel?  If not, why not?
Jon Hand

Natural gas is an enormously versatile form of energy, and it has potential for increased use in transportation. But it is also a great way to heat homes and generate electricity, and it’s a critical feedstock for chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and many of the products that make our lives better, safer, and healthier.

Natural gas also produces very low greenhouse gas emissions.
Markets should decide which uses make most sense. The important thing is to make sure we develop large supplies of natural gas so that it can better satisfy demand for all uses.  

Funding for regulation

What is the API doing to help ensure interior department gets the funding for increased inspections and training for overseeing offshore oil development? Are you lobbying for or against the president’s budget request?
Marilyn Heiman, Pew Environment Group

We agree the interior department needs more funding for its oversight work in offshore oil development and have said so.  It’s important they have the resources to do their work professionally and expeditiously so we can get on with our work of safely producing the energy we know our nation will need.

Spending on lobbying

How much did API spend on direct and indirect lobbying costs over the past two years at both the federal and state levels?  Do you feel like you got your money’s worth?  How much did the oil industry receive in federal subsidies in return?
Bob Shultis

The API’s mission is to represent the oil and natural gas industry before policymakers and the public. Thousands of other organisations representing a wide range of interests do the same work.  We periodically report to the government how much we spend on our lobbying activities, and that information is made publicly available.

Oil and natural gas companies receive little or nothing in the way of direct subsidies from the federal government, as the government’s own records clearly show.  They are entitled to take business tax deductions similar to what other businesses take.

Our industry pays income taxes at an effective rate nearly 70 per cent higher than the other S&P Industrials

The fact is our industry pays income taxes at an effective rate nearly 70 per cent higher than the other S&P Industrials.  US oil and natural gas companies paid $300bn in income taxes between 2004 and 2008.

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