Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette on the oil, gas industry: ‘I’m not at all concerned about the future’

(The Associated Press)

After meeting last month with independent energy company executives in Houston, Texas Inc. reports, Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette—a Louisiana native—had a hopeful message for an industry weathering economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and a glut of cheap crude.

“The ability of these people to extract resources is just remarkable,” Brouillette said during his recent visit to Houston. “It speaks to the innovation and entrepreneurship of this industry. That’s why I’m not at all concerned about the future. They will survive. They will be strong, and they will return with a vengeance.”

As Texas Inc. reports, Brouillette said he came away from the meeting organized by the Independent Petroleum Association of America feeling optimistic about the future of the industry, despite mass layoffs, bankruptcies and cutbacks in the oil and gas sector. His department’s Energy Information Administration forecasts oil and gas demand to recover toward the end of this year and in the first half of 2021.

In a subsequent sit-down interview with Texas Inc., Brouillette characterized the industry as “very strong.”

“I don’t want to be completely Pollyanna-ish here,” he told the publication. “There are going to be players in the industry that are going to go by the wayside, but that happens in a free market. If you borrowed too much money at too high an interest rate, you may have trouble paying off the debt at $40 a barrel. But by and large, this is a strong industry. You’ve got players in this industry who have very, very strong balance sheets and it’s because they’ve seen storms before. Maybe not as intense as this one, given the double whammy of the loss of demand and the pricing activity that was on the marketplace. But they understand storms very well and they prepare for them. That’s what gives me the optimism and others the sense that yes, this is going to be OK. We’re going to get beyond this pandemic and we’ll be just fine on the other end.”

Read the full Texas Inc. interview in The Houston Chronicle. A subscription may be required.