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Oil companies downplay impact of regulations

Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 01:49

Despite being vocal supporters of Trump's administration slashing regulations, the top U.S. oil and gas producers have been telling their shareholders that environmental regulations have little impact on their business. Fred Katayama reports.

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President Donald Trump's administration is readying a new executive order dubbed the "Energy Independence." It's premise is to slash environmental regulations to trigger a new energy boom and help the U.S. reduce its dependence on foreign oil. But a Reuters review of securities filings from the 15 top U.S. oil and gas producers shows compliance with current environmental regulations doesn't impact their business all that much. Fourteen of them declined to comment. A spokesman for ConocoPhillips acknowledged that regulation has not affected the company's liquidity or financial position. Despite that, the oil industry has been very vocal in its support for the Trump administration's plans to slash energy rules. Stephen Wood is chief market strategist at Russell Investments. (SOUNDBITE) STEPHEN WOOD, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, RUSSELL INVESTMENT GROUP, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The impact of the deregulatory measures by the Trump administration are gonna be important, but not as important as a lot global supply and demand characteristics in oil, so globalized commodities, such as oil, which is hovering in the $45 to $55, that is going to be extremely important. Marginal regulatory means will be added, but they will not be as impactfull as going from that, say $45 - $48 per barrel or the reverse. So, important, but not as important as maybe recent equity price movements might have suggested." The American Petroleum Institute also declined to comment, but its president Jack Gerard said last month in Congress that the oil and gas industry has surged forward despite onerous regulations under the Obama administration. And that was mainly because of high oil prices and better drilling technology. But increased production and a global oversupply have sent oil prices plunging from over $100 a barrel in early 2014 to $25 by 2016. Current prices hover near $50 a barrel.

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Oil companies downplay impact of regulations

Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 01:49