We Might Have a New President, So What? I Still Like to Guzzle a Little Gas
There was a presidential election recently, although, you might not have noticed. I’ve always enjoyed election day. For a news junkie like me it’s better than the Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby, and Monte Carlo Grand Prix all rolled into one. I turn my home office into a Command Center. BBC World News, CNN, Fox News, and ‘The Peoples’ MSNBC all running on different screens and TV’s feeding me obscene amounts of election coverage. Watching John King pontificate for hours on Pennsylvania counties which I never heard of and will certainly never visit, or the hand wringing at MSNBC when it looked like President Trump was going to win, or the crestfallen defeat at Fox News when the worm started to turn. It’s all the perfect storm, one that may have an affect on the oil and gas industry.
This election is a little unusual, like most things in 2020. After all, it appears we have a new president-elect. Of course, our current commander-in-chief has declared his intention to fight the results and weeks later there is still no indication of either side giving up. Assuming El Presidenté is successful then what changes in the Oil and Gas sector? Well, probably not much. COVID is still keeping prices low and the hydrogen car is a long ways off. Besides, I can’t be the only one that doesn’t want to be cruising around in my own mini-Hindenburg.
What of Joe Biden? Well, on the surface he looks like a much more worrisome prospect to our gentle industry, doesn’t he? Biden has been no friend of the oil and gas sphere from a legislative standpoint over the past several decades, and certainly his remarks during the campaign about ‘transitioning’ away from fossil fuels doesn’t give us much of a ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling. For some, it has been downright concerning. But…should it?
Yes, transitioning away from oil and gas would hurt my chosen industry, certainly, but how realistic is it? After all, I’ve been talking about ‘transitioning’ from a gas guzzling SUV to a gas guzzling sports car for years now, and that still hasn’t happened – and that’s something I actually want to do. But I’m busy.
At the end of the day, I assume, the President is busier than I am. I also believe he is less powerful than we give him credit for. Really though, how much can the president actually do to end the oil and gas industry? Does Joe Biden have the blueprints for a solar powered car that can be mass produced and has the same performance as a petrol-engine? I doubt it. Or maybe replace all the coal and gas plants with nuclear plants? Oh, whoops, not ‘nuclear’, no…I’m sorry, Joe – I know how we can’t be bothered with atomic power unless it’s in weaponized form.
So then, what else is there? Well, there is administrative & executive action. Alright, so he will make permits to drill a little harder to get? Actually, probably not since most of those are done at the state level anyway. Sure, there is Federal Land, but that’s always been a crap-shoot, and off-shore drilling which affects the Majors more than the independents – and they have the money and lobbyists to fight it. And let’s face it, presumed President-Elect Biden didn’t win by a Blue Landslide as predicted, so he really can’t afford to go making enemies of the Energy Sector over the next four years, now can he?
Aside from some incremental adjustments to the EPA and just ‘asking nicely’ I don’t reckon we will see much difference under a Biden Presidency or a Trump Presidency. Besides, oil prices have done better under the democrats historically anyway, (ironically, not unlike the firearms industry). If anything, I think the market is due for a period of growth propagated by fear of perceived meddling from some Elderly Gentleman (doesn’t matter who) in Washington, DC.
Even if the president had the power and will to make massive changes, it will take decades to enforce. Which is fine, because I’ll safely be retired by then and living off the fat of my oil-soaked 401k. So, there it is: the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Well, aside from who’s picture appears on the POTUS Twitter account.