President Donald Trump is reportedly preparing to sign an executive order that would mandate the analysis of fracking and its effects on the economy in one final campaign push to defend the technology that made the U.S. the world’s largest oil and gas producer last year.
Quoting government officials, The Wall Street Journal reports that the executive order will aim to tip the scales in favor of Trump in swing states such as Pennsylvania. The analysis will also include the consequences of a ban on fracking: Trump has claimed his rival Joe Biden wants to ban fracking, although Biden has rejected the claim. Still, he has publicly voiced his support for a phase-out of fossil fuels over the long term. He has also said he is against fracking on federal lands.
During the last presidential debate, Biden said he would “transition from the oil industry” in response to a question from Trump on whether he would “close the oil industry”.
To that, Trump said, “That’s a big statement.”
“It is a big statement, because…the oil industry pollutes, significantly,” Biden responded. “It has to be replaced by renewable energy over time.” In addition, the Democratic candidate suggested an end to federal subsidies for the oil industry. In response, Trump said Biden was going to destroy the oil industry.
The energy aspect of the two candidates’ platforms is a delicate one. Although polls suggest the majority of Americans are concerned about climate change, there are Democratic states that rely on oil and gas production for their livelihood. These states include, for example, Ohio and Pennsylvania, with their steel mills that produce pipes for oil and gas pipelines, and Wisconsin, which mines frac sand.
Some argue that if Biden becomes the next president, he will not even need to ban fracking. He could phase out fossil fuels law by law, which appears to be how the Democratic candidate sees the transition taking place: gradually.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:
- Hedge Funds Boost Bullish Oil Bets
- The Shift Away From Fossil Fuels Is Inevitable Regardless Of Who Is Elected
- Gulf Of Mexico Drillers Shut In Production As Tropical Storm Zeta Nears
The first is that it is an $8 trillion industry employing 2% of the American work force and therefore it is important for the US economy.
The second reason is that this could lead to US crude oil imports rising from 9 million barrels a day (mbd) in 2019 to 12-13 mbd in coming years.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London
Meanwhile, I expect that the "wisdom of the market place" will clarify the real production cost of fracking. If the hype over fracking goes away, there may not be much fugitive methane left in the system.
Fracking is facing a double whammy of high production cost and low market demand.