Jeremy Alford, publisher of LaPolitics Weekly, a newsletter on Louisiana politics, sat down with Tommy Faucheux, president of Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association, to discuss his organization’s plans for the future:
LaPolitics: Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association’s founding. Is your team planning anything special? Also, most people may not realize that LMOGA is one of the oldest associations in the state. Does that history add something special to the job?
Faucheux: We are very excited about 2023 and being able to celebrate such a huge milestone as LMOGA’s 100th anniversary. The oil and natural gas industry has been such an important part of Louisiana’s history and economy that you cannot help but stop and reflect on the families, careers and communities that have been built on the state’s embrace of this industry. That being said, as we host our centennial celebrations throughout next year, we are going to spend a lot of time talking about what comes next for our industry. That is without a doubt a conversation about the continued need for oil and natural gas to meet energy demands, and the need to reduce emissions. Our 100th anniversary will be a great opportunity to show Louisiana and the nation that we can do both, produce energy and protect our environment.
LaPolitics: As we look toward the 2023 election cycle, particularly among state legislative candidates, what are your members looking to hear from them? What issues will define the next term for LMOGA?
Faucheux: It’s all about the future. Our industry is poised to successfully navigate the energy transition. Energy production in Louisiana will likely look different than it has in the past, but with this transition comes the potential for economic growth for the state. We want to talk to candidates about what a lower carbon future looks like, while we continue drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and Haynesville Shale, exporting LNG, investing in pipeline infrastructure and refining crude up and down the Mississippi River. Louisiana is in a great position to build on its successes in oil and natural gas and become a leader in new energy technologies. Those wanting to lead our state must be ready to create policy that will make Louisiana a leader when it comes to the future energy economy.
LaPolitics: On the federal level, we finally saw a proposed program for offshore drilling. The plan is also behind schedule. What are the immediate consequences to the Gulf Coast and Louisiana, and are you confident the plan will actually open the door to more offshore oil and gas drilling?
Faucheux: I am proud of the unified effort Louisiana has made to push Washington to produce a proposed plan for offshore leasing. From Gov. John Bel Edwards to the state Legislature, to local community leaders, everyone has worked together to stand up for Gulf of Mexico energy production. This industry is needed not only to meet U.S. energy needs and to bolster energy security, but to also keep Louisianans employed, revenue coming into local parishes and funding in place for much-needed coastal restoration projects. I am not satisfied with what the administration has put forth. Yes, it is a small step forward, but given the fact that existing lease sales have been canceled this year, there is a “trust but verify” saying that comes to mind from my favorite president.