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Jan 5, 2017

2017: Energy in the Spotlight

Sponsored Content provided by David McGowan, III - Executive Director , N.C. Petroleum Council; American Petroleum Institute-NC

As we shift our focus from the holiday season to planning for 2017, energy is likely to remain a central topic.
 
In Washington, we will see significant changes related to energy policy. The incoming Trump administration has already signaled it will stimulate domestic production of energy and streamline permitting for vital infrastructure. The effects of that are sure to trickle down to the state and local level, as well, including to eastern North Carolina.
 
Even as we ended 2016, energy was still making headlines. Just within the last two weeks - as one of President Obama’s last moves in office - future consideration of energy exploration in Arctic waters and off the northeastern Atlantic coast south to Virginia was banned.
 
In contrast, days before Obama’s decision, President-elect Donald Trump tapped ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as the planned nominee for Secretary of State.  
 
In the coming years, the president-elect and members of Congress will play a critical role in shaping America’s 21st century energy renaissance, determining whether our nation will cement its position as a global energy leader.
 
The energy policy conversation in 2017 should focus on an all-of-the-above approach grounded in market-based principles. Continued private sector investment in renewable technologies backed by clean-burning natural gas should be a priority. Emphasis should also be placed on new technological advancements in traditional energy sources like carbon capture for coal and economically sustainable nuclear. Finally, it is important to acknowledge the vital role energy infrastructure projects, like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, play in our daily lives and economy.
 
This conversation going forward is about American competitiveness, international influence, national security, energy security and long-term economic strength and prosperity here at home.
 
What we do know is the need for energy will continue to grow in 2017 and beyond. Due to population growth and emerging economies, energy demand is anticipated to grow 25 percent between 2015 and 2040. Furthermore, oil and natural gas will continue to play a large role in meeting that growing demand.
 
Based on a recent study conducted to forecast energy’s outlook:

  • Natural gas is anticipated to expand significantly and will account for approximately 40 percent of the projected growth in energy demand.
  •  Oil is likely to provide roughly one-third of the world’s energy by 2040 and will remain the primary source of fuel, with growth driven by commercial transportation and chemicals demand.
  • North America is likely to become a significant net oil exporter for the first time in the next 10 years.
In North Carolina, our goal should be to remain an active part of these discussions that will drive the future of our country. As we continue to have opportunities for growth and expansion of the energy industry, we should thoughtfully consider the responsibility we have to safely research and develop our natural resources to secure our place in this growing economy.
 
Doing so is not mutually exclusive with protecting our environment and preserving our quality of life. While there is certainly plenty of controversy surrounding all forms of energy development in the state - whether it be oil and gas or wind and solar - healthy dialogue and discussion from all sides based on facts, data and science, rather than fear and emotion, will serve us all well going forward.
 
As we begin to think about a new year, I encourage you to think about how you and your business are affected by energy and, particularly, how much you use and rely on oil and natural gas.
 
What energy needs do you have to power your business, manufacture products, transport goods, and provide services? What changes would you like to see?
 
As the discussion moves forward in 2017 and beyond, let’s work together constructively to grow the energy economy of North Carolina.

David McGowan III is executive director of the North Carolina Petroleum Council. The North Carolina Petroleum Council is a division of American Petroleum Institute, which represents all segments of America's technology-driven oil and natural gas industry. Its 500-plus members provide most of the nation's energy. For more information, go to http://www.api.org or contact McGowan at [email protected].

 

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