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Friday, December 15, 2017

Big Oil Revels in Trump Triumph

November 9, 2016

The U.S. energy industry on Wednesday reveled in Republican Donald Trump's presidential victory, expecting him to be a strong advocate for more oil and gas output and to cut red tape that has held back billions of dollars of investment in new projects.

The world's largest energy market saw a boom in oil and gas output under Democratic President Barack Obama's administration, as improved technology led to the development of shale energy reserves that had previously been too expensive to produce.

Even during the good times, the energy industry bemoaned environmental regulations that hindered further development. Now, they expect Trump to roll much of that back.

While Trump has given little detail on energy policy, he has surrounded himself with shale industry supporters and voiced support for infrastructure projects, including pipelines.

"We are looking forward to President Trump doing what he promised, which is to undo many of the onerous regulations that have plagued our industry throughout an Obama presidency," Harold Hamm, chief executive of oil producer Continental Resources Inc, said in a statement.

Trump has considered Hamm as a possible energy secretary, in what would be the first time the role has been filled from the oil and gas industry since the position was created in 1977.

Trump's promise to create new jobs and boost manufacturing could bode well for delayed energy projects across the United States, including the Dakota Access Pipeline, analysts said.

Exxon Mobil Corp, the world's largest publicly traded oil producer, said it hoped Trump's administration would use "sound science" on future regulations. Exxon has come under withering attack from environmentalists in the past year over its climate change disclosures, and Trump has previously called climate change a hoax.

"We intend to work constructively with the president-elect and his administration," said Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers.

ConocoPhillips, the largest U.S. independent oil producer, said it would work with Trump to protect the environment but also produce oil and gas needed to grow the economy.

"The American people have spoken and elected Mr. Trump as president and ConocoPhillips respects that choice," spokesman Daren Beaudo said.

Marathon Petroleum Corp, a major U.S. refiner, said it looks forward to working with the Trump administration.

SHARE MOVEMENT
Shares of most U.S. oil companies rose Wednesday as crude prices also gained more than 1 percent. Exxon's shares were up slightly, as were shares of Chevron Corp.

Shares of companies focused primarily on U.S. shale patches, including Oasis Petroleum and Whiting Petroleum, spiked about 5 percent, a sign of optimism that the federal government would not continue a push during Obama's eight years to oversee parts of the fracking process, instead leaving such regulations up to states.

Shares of TransCanada Corp, which wants to build the Keystone XL pipeline, rose more than 1 percent. In the election campaign, Trump said he would approve the pipeline if elected.

Trump also had promised to rescind the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Water Rule, which had been seen by the oil industry as an attempt to regulate fracking.

A Trump administration is not expected to oppose drilling on public lands and may be interested in advancing coal leases on public lands, relying heavily throughout on companies themselves, said Scott Segal, co-head of the federal government relations practice at Bracewell LLP.

"I believe this administration will rely heavily on corporate America to understand the issues," Segal said.

In North Dakota, the second-largest oil producing state, Trump's victory was seen as a boon for energy companies.

"Trump is bullish on the economy. He's bullish on energy. He's got the wherewithal to make it all happen," said Ron Ness, head of the North Dakota Petroleum Council trade group.

"This is a day of tremendous optimism for the energy industry."


Reporting by Ernest Scheyder

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