The “American plan for employment”, in fact, presents several key differences with what Biden and Harris promised during the US electoral campaign
“Build Back Better” was the slogan that accompanied the Biden administration’s initiative for economic recovery after the pandemic. The actual plan that the administration released was titled “American Employment Plan” and, according to some observers, could threaten the long-term survival chances of the US natural gas industry.
THE FALSE STEPS IN THE ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN
During the election campaign, Biden – perhaps inadvertently – said he would ban fracking. Words that turned into a misstep that forced the then White House candidate to repeated reassurances about fracking. After all, Pennsylvania was in the balance, home to the Marcellus shale field, one of the largest gas-producing regions in the United States.
BIDEN’S ATTENTION TO THE ENERGY TRANSITION
Now that Biden is in the Oval Office, as Natural Gas Intelligence reports, the focus is on the energy transition from fossil fuels, which has received a mixed reaction from the oil and gas industry. Such a reaction is understandable: transition plans require rapid decarbonisation, and although the industry has signaled that it agrees, it may have a problem with its pace, implementation and cost.
Mixed Reaction from Natural Gas, Oil Industry as $2T Biden Infrastructure Plan Targets Decarbonization, Taxes
BIDEN’S PLAN DIFFERENT FROM THAT PROMISED IN THE ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN
According to analysis by infrastructure consultancy ARBO, the plan effectively leaves the natural gas industry out of transition. The “American Plan for Employment”, in fact, presents several key differences with what Biden and Harris promised during the election campaign. For example, the company said, prior to the election Biden pledged some substantial investment in repairs and replacements in the U.S. gas distribution system, as well as prioritizing carbon capture and sequestration. He also promised investments in green hydrogen, which would ensure the relevance of this pipeline network even after natural gas disappears. The final plan, however, is quite different.
EXAMPLES OF CARBON CAPTURE
In a fact sheet released by the White House, carbon capture is only mentioned three times, one of which is in the context of the decarbonisation of large polluters such as the steel and cement industries and the manufacturing of chemicals. The other mention refers to a tax credit aimed at facilitating decarbonisation, including through the retrofitting of power plants with carbon capture and storage facilities. The third and final mention is in the context of an allocation of $ 15 billion for a wide variety of technologies deemed essential for the energy future of the United States.
CLOSE THE ABANDONED WELLS AND RECOVER THE MINES WHEN EXHAUSTED THE ONLY MENTIONS OF THE BIDEN PLAN
In short, “there is no mention of the repairs and replacements to the gas distribution system promised during the campaign which, according to Biden, should have created thousands of jobs. Now, the only jobs that the “American Employment Plan” seems to have found for the oil and gas industry is to ‘plug’ abandoned oil and gas wells and recover depleted mines. While this is certainly a necessary activity, the connection and recovery of mines are certainly not activities with long-term prospects. These works will require $ 16 billion from a total amount of $ 2,288 trillion to be dedicated to the plan, ”Oilprice points out.
“Any federal infrastructure package that envisions a clean energy future must be explicit about the critical role that natural gas infrastructure will continue to play in enabling emissions reductions while ensuring reliable and affordable energy for all Americans,” said one. spokesperson for the American Interstate Natural Gas Association -. Natural gas infrastructure is built without using taxpayer dollars and the Biden administration and Congress should recognize the importance of promoting continued investment in the modernization and expansion of this infrastructure. ”
THE LACK OF GAS STRATEGY IS WORRY
Yet this is not what the Biden administration would like to do. “It appears to be focused on getting as much renewable energy generation capacity on track as quickly as possible and reducing the share of gas in the energy mix just as quickly. This is not only of concern for the natural gas industry; anyone who uses electricity should worry. Perhaps the Biden administration should take a moment to ask why Warren Buffett recently proposed building 10 GW of new gas-powered generation capacity and not the same amount of wind or solar power, ”Oilprice said.