(Bloomberg) -- US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm praised oil executives for boosting output and lauded the industry’s “creative visionaries” in an attempt to ease tensions between the Biden administration and fossil-fuel producers.
“The US has become, in this year, an indispensable energy partner to our allies and a global energy powerhouse,” Granholm said, drawing applause from a packed ballroom at the CERAWeek by S&P Global conference in Houston on Wednesday.
The effusive praise was all the more remarkable when compared with Granholm’s reception at the same gathering last year, when industry executives blamed Biden administration officials for stifling development. Months later, President Joe Biden was excoriating the industry for failing to invest aggressively in new production and enjoying a “windfall from war.”
And while Biden acknowledged the world will still “need oil and gas for a while” during his State of the Union address last month, Granholm was less equivocal in Houston.
“We know that oil and gas is going to remain a part of our energy mix for years to come,” she said. “Even the boldest projections for clean energy deployment suggest that in the middle of the century we are going to be using abated fossil fuels.”
Still, the oil industry can enlist its expertise in drilling, hydraulic fracturing and natural gas transportation to nurture new offshore wind, geothermal and hydrogen technologies, Granholm said. When it comes to the story of energy innovation, she mused, “what courageous visionaries in this room will be shaping this chapter?”
Granholm’s address — like the CERAWeek gathering itself — was buoyed by the enactment of the infrastructure law and Inflation Reduction Act, which together will provide hundreds of billions of dollars to clean energy and climate projects. That’s driving a wave of oil and gas industry enthusiasm for new hydrogen, carbon capture and renewable energy ventures.
“If you put it all together, you’ll see the Biden-Harris administration has made the United States the most attractive investment landscape for new energy and decarbonization technology,” Granholm said. In many cases, she said, “it makes the United States irresistible.”
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