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US Presidential Candidates' Stances on the Oil and Gas Industry

presidential election

Oil and gas industry remains the most influential sector in the global economy. Discussions around the industry tend to carry significant weight on the major exporters of the commodity. Since 2010 to 2014, the oil and gas industry has had a fair share of the global economic slump with the major suppliers sharing the spoils of the unstable area. In 2015, the industry faced a significant fall in prices where the price per barrel went below $50 hurting economies that solely rely on oil and gas for their revenue.

Like other oil marketers, the US crude oil is yet to hit $50 with the most recent prices stagnating at around $38. With the US oil production doubling over the last few years, oil imports from other countries ought to find other markets. While the increased production means well for the local economy, the local investors are struggling to make significant profits out of their ventures. In fact, the sector continues to pile pressure on other industries such as the securities markets and the lending sectors.

With presidential election happening in August 2016, the US citizens are keen on oil and gas sector, security, international affairs and employment. Since last year, several candidates coming from both political divides has touched on the energy sector showing varying commitments to restore the fading fortunes. Some candidates have relinquished their quests, and the race is likely to see more crash at party primaries that will leave two contestants to the top seat. Players in the energy sector are keen on what each candidate might do for the sinking industry.

Donald Trump 

While the contender is not short of controversies, all indications suggest a possibility of Trump taking the Republican Nominations. Despite facing several defeats on some states have not denied him the lead in the national polls. While the billionaire lacks sufficient experience on government trends, his opinion on energy issues seems vague. Nevertheless, his favor on drilling more oil and permitting nuclear power policy reforms defines his stance on the troubled sector.

The controversy appeared when he stated that he is in support of natural gas development, and admitted potential issues emanating from nuclear energy. He has on occasions promised to revive the coal industry to full functionality, with a call for expansions of domestic oil and gas drilling characterizing his arguments. Nevertheless, he has downplayed the need for environmental conservation measures citing it as a small issue that human do less to influence.

On renewable energy, he is of the opinion of removing the EPA Clean Power Plan while he maintains that solar energy is unverified technology. To him, wind farms fail to exhibit the aesthetic feel and poses health risks to the residents. A win for him would benefit entrepreneurs of the oil and gas companies only if the Republicans preserve Congress dominance.

Hilary Clinton

For many people, Hilary Clinton appears a strong opponent of the federal government policies because she comes from the ruling party. In fact, American Citizens are likely not expected much change from the current Energy policies. On several occasions she has opposed the approval of the Keystone pipeline, oil drilling in the Arctic and offshore drilling activities, similar to the current position of Obama’s administration.

Unlike Trump, Clinton is known for her staunch support of environmental initiatives believed to have been the motivating factor, towards supporting the Paris climate Accord of 2015. As a president, she is likely to lean towards implementing the new climate regulations that would cause significant harm to the conventional oil and gas companies, vehicle manufacturers and utility firms. While Clinton remains mute on matters pertaining natural gas fracking, she has implied positive impacts of gas production boom.

Of all the contestants, she is the only one that has been open on policies geared towards reducing reliance on coal. According to her, abrupt shutdown of the nuclear power puts fiction before science as it would make it hard to fund and realize clean energy projects. She proposes a $30 billion program to help the communities relying on coal transition to clean energy, setting emissions targets and a clear roadmap on renewables.

Clinton has demonstrated support for extending solar and wind tax credits through voting, and advocates for a clear methane reduction standards for the gas drilling subsector. One of her potential administration’s goal is to install over 500 million solar panels in the US by the lapse of her first term. Additionally, she would impose restrictions on fossil fuels, tighten requirements for the industry and streamline clean energy approval processes.


Bernie Sanders


While he may have demonstrated diverse opinion on some issues, Bernie Sanders seems more liberal, and hence likely to advance similar policies as Obama and Clinton. Several year ago, he was said to have tried to revive the windfall profits tax, hence, the reason he proposes the carbon tax and revoking of the oil and gas regulations for exotic energy sources. Regarding the Paris climate accord of 2015, Sanders is of the opinion that the agreement remains far from the real issues.

With just four candidates remaining in the race, he is totally opposed to nuclear energy and believes of a possible and affordable, clean power, making him appealing to the environmentalists. In New York, he called for the closure of the Indian Point plan and favors banning oil and gas exports, gas fracking and offshore drilling and Arctic oil and gas exploration. Also, he is likely to halt further licensing and renewals to the nuclear power companies, if his opinion on the issue stands. 

Michael Snyder
Michael Snyder