By Catherine Reheis-Boyd, WSPA President and CEO
I love the beginning of each year for many reasons. The first is that it gives us all a renewed sense of purpose and motivation in our personal and professional lives – a chance to move on from frustrations of the past and look ahead with optimism. It also allows us to set goals and strategies at work and home, from getting back in shape to excelling at a big work project or achieving a specific professional goal.
As I look ahead to 2022, I am working with my team to set clear strategies that will continue to help the women and men of our industry work with confidence and security knowing they are providing the vital energy that keeps our nation running. While I am confident that we can collectively accomplish a lot this year, caution remains around uncertain future policy actions, which we hope to positively influence using science and energy expertise from our member companies.
As I think about the year in front of us, a few macro trends to watch come to mind, including:
- Rising energy needs for all: The need for energy of all kinds from fuels to power sources will continue to rise to meet the needs of communities in the Western United States and beyond. Affordable, reliable energy is more critical now than ever before to keep our lives and the economy moving successfully, especially as commuting back to the office picks up more and more.
- Confident but cautious economic recovery. As the economy continues to grow back strong from the pandemic, labor and resource availability will drive how prosperous our communities can be. The energy industry broadly must continue to support a strong labor market and supply society with affordable, reliable, sustainable energy.
- Selective sustainability commitments. We can all agree that we want our industry and our world to be as sustainable as possible. Government, business and consumers alike have proven to be selective when demanding environmental progress, and we can expect convenience, cost and energy availability to weigh on sustainability aspirations, often times causing tension between ambition and reality.
With those trends in mind, there’s absolutely a lot to be excited about this year. The labor market is strong, companies are continuing to advance sustainability goals and innovation is rapidly coming from all industries, specifically oil & gas. As my team and I think through the trends and issues that will help shape 2022, the following topics will be critical for our industry:
- Ongoing critical need for oil & gas: Even with significant advances in electrification and alternative fuel sources, Americans will continue to need reliable, safe, and affordable oil and gas fuels for decades to come. In California for example, oil & gas demand will increase significantly through the near and mid-term, with forecasts showing our population will be greater than 43 million by 2040.
- An all of the above energy mix: We believe that a sustainable energy future utilizes all available energy technologies. Instead of unilateral bans that ignore alternative technologies, we must explore all ways to produce safe, affordable and environmentally responsible energy, in-state.
- Continued focus on innovation: Nearly every academic and scientific organization in the world with experts in our work, including Stanford, UCLA and UC Berkeley—all say future progress will be stymied without the type of advancements we are leading on carbon capture, sequestration and storage. Without this work, it will be impossible to reach our state’s current goals, and our industry is leading this charge.
- Industry workforce support: The women and men in California who work in the oil and gas industry today want a cleaner, more sustainable energy future that is fair and equitable for all. That means finding real-world solutions that lead to a cleaner economy while keeping whole our workers, families, and communities. Right now, the oil and gas industry supports more than 365,000 high-quality jobs in California alone, and we need to support them.
- Fighting bans and mandates: WSPA and our industry will continue to fight against policies that enact outright bans and unilateral mandates. We know this strategy does not work and eliminates collaboration and expertise from the brightest minds in energy.
This year will be a success if our industry ensures a seat at the table for collaborative dialogue to meet our energy needs and create a sustainable energy future that works for everyone. I’m choosing confidence over caution, and optimism over concern for a healthy, safe and prosperous 2022 for us all.