Continental Resources’ CEO Harold Hamm is on the short list for Secretary of Energy, according to a document obtained by the Associated Press. Along with the energy billionaire, president-elect Donald Trump is also considering venture capitalist Robert Grady and Kevin Cramer, a Republican Congressman from North Dakota.
In the run-up to the presidential elections, Trump had been vocal in his support for the oil and gas industry, and for U.S. energy independence. In fact, the document cited by the AP also includes repealing the Clean Power Plan passed by the Obama administration. According to the AP, the Plan, currently in the lap of the Supreme Court, could be dismissed if the court doesn’t rule on it by the time Trump enters the Oval office.
The Clean Power Plan, which aims at reducing carbon emissions from power generation, envisaged the closure of up to 80 GW of coal-fired generating capacities in the U.S. With Trump at the helm, its repealment could buy some time for the troubled coal industry, which has come under the twin fire of environmentalists and low prices.
For the oil and gas industry, the next presidency would also more than likely be beneficial, as during his campaign the Republican candidate pledged to tackle new regulations that, according to the energy business, has stifled expansion.
However, nothing is certain, as S&P Global Ratings managing director Thomas Watters said as quoted by the USA Today. According to Watters, Trump’s statements regarding the fossil fuel industry were “lacking in detail.”
Appointing Harold Hamm, head of one of the most successful shale oil and gas players in the country, as the head of the Energy Department could certainly be seen as putting ideas into reality. Hamm, whose Continental Resources is a top player in the Bakken, last week criticized drilling regulations that had harmed the oil and gas industry in no small way.
“There's so many of these overreaching regulations that's gone on. My goodness. We called it death by a thousand cuts, and that's exactly what it was intended to do,” he said as quoted by CNBC.
Continental Resources has done much better than many of its peers thanks to its long-standing presence in the shale patch and the constantly improving efficiencies that the upstream industry is hailing as the only thing that’s kept the business going during the price slump.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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