Welcome back to another Episode of Oil and Gas This Week. This week we go over Mark’s Oil & Gas Predictions for 2017. Now this has traditionally been known as Mark’s Business Drivers for the year. It’s a new year, a new title , but the same great ole predictions you’re used to.
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Mark’s Oil & Gas Predictions for 2017.
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I enjoyed this episode with one large quibble toward the end. In fact, after a year of listening I have to say I had my first pull-off-to-the-side-of-the-road-smack-myself-in-the-forehead-WTF moment at the end of this episode.
Mark – we can politely disagree on the fact that I draw my line in a different place than you draw yours on the reach of the EPA or state vs federal rights…it’s an argument that reasonable people can have: maybe the fed meddles too much in oil and gas, maybe the EPA has overreached its mandate, maybe not.
But it seems VERY strange to me that you first cheer the de-fanging of the EPA & advocate states’ rights over federal government intervention, then in virtually the same breath, BRAG about the efficiency of automobiles and the disappearance of acid rain!!
How do you think those outcomes came about? The polluters did not decide for the sake of humanity to put hydrogen sulfide scrubbers on their smoke stacks, just as the automotive industry did not unilaterally decide to make cars more fuel efficient. That’s your EPA and federal government at work! They ARE the motive force behind both advances.
Yes, these were absolutely joint ventures – it was the ingenuity of industry that made these changes possible, and it’s a credit to all the engineers and scientists who really made it happen…but the train was only set in motion by (federal) government funded research, target setting, monitoring, and enforcement.
Anyway – keep up the good work. I really enjoy the show.
Mark LaCour says
I appreciate your comments FactDagger, and for being loyal listener of the show! And I bet our difference on the EPA are not as big as you might think, especially since its my fault for not adding a bit more details to my comment.
The first real push to clean up our air and water was the Clean Air Act of 1963. But that act really did not get “teeth” until the 1970’s amendments which also created the EPA. At that point the EPA’s mission was to reduce the rampant water and air pollution that every year, got worse and worse. But the agency by design was a modest one that answered directly to congress. So the checks and balances were in place to help our population and our planet. And all was good.
Our biggest problem at that time was the raw burning of coal for electrical generation and manufacturing. Which was horrible for the environment and caused things like acid rain and smog pollution. Our electrical generation industry basically had two choices. Clean burn coal technology (expensive) or Nuclear (villainnized by Green Peace). So they had no place to turn.
At that point the Oil and Gas industry leaders stepped in and were able to show that they could provide natural gas in the quantities needed, for a low price and a very long period of time. This allowed the these companies to meet the new pollution standards (and the future ones) without passing on large price increases to the population.
Fast forward to now and the EPA is developing and enforcing regulations without Congress’s approval. And they have overstepped their bounds by linking climate-related regulations with the clean air act. Once again without the checks and balances needed to insure fairness and the common good.
So I am a big supporter of the old EPA, who has done so much good for our people. But the new EPA has turned into a monster. Its just like the DEA (also formed in the 1970’s) who in the beginning did some really great work under congresses guidance. But now is spending millions of dollars of our taxpayer money to investigate and arrest some 20 year old for having 2 ounces of weed.
Hopefully I did a better job of explaining myself this time 🙂
So just to be clear I was making a broader point about the cognitive dissonance in decrying federal government followed immediately by praising results of actions taken by the federal government – it reminded me a bit of ‘Keep the government out of my Medicare!’ protest signs. But I now see where you were going w/r/t the EPA.
In terms of the narrow point of acid rain I would add the most important event was actually the clean air act signed by George HW Bush – forcing manufacturers and coal fired electric plants to stop releasing so much crap out of their stacks. Yes, the advent of nuclear in the late 60s and 70’s was a huge windfall to the environment, as is the growth of natural gas today (inasmuch as if acts as a replacement for coal and not nuclear!). But we still burn lots of coal in the US and it’s much cleaner because of the federal government (effects on land, water, and air don’t respect state lines, so states are not always the appropriate place to regulate)
The EPA has been remarkably successful in its 46 year history, and the nation has prospered in that time. But I disagree with your characterization that its main work is somehow close to ‘done’. There are dozens of laws – duly passed by congress over the last 50-60 years concerning the environment – that must be enforced. If the president-elect hollows out the enforcement arm of the agency, I fear the results.
I am pro-prosperity, and therefore pro-energy. But I worry people forget…it’s no free-market accident that cars and refrigerators are many times more efficient today, it’s no accident that our highways are clean (Do you remember how much litter was on freeways when we were kids?), the free market didn’t make airliner engines quieter. It’s no accident that smog is a distant memory in LA, that the ozone hold disappeared, and no accident that the bad smell in Houston is limited to Pasadena unlike when I was a kid and the WHOLE city smelled bad.
My point is, the free market doesn’t often clean up after itself unless it has to. Where the oil & gas business is clean and environmentally conscious it’s because they’ve largely been compelled to by government, And to be clear – that’s the way it’s supposed to be! I actually don’t say that as a knock in any way! It’s just a reality of economics.