• Oil and gas companies prosper under Biden with regulation tightening supply, while oil prices predicted to reach $100/barrel again in a few years

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

An opinion piece in the Financial Times has highlighted how oil and gas companies in the USA have prospered under the Biden administration thus far. Since January this year, the S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Index has risen around 35%, with companies such as Chesapeake, Range Resources, EQT and Williams all experiencing large rises in their share value. The writer expresses the opinion that part of the reason for the improvement of fortunes has been regulation – by stopping new leases for oil and gas production on federal land (most effective in western states), and by restricting the building of new pipelines (particularly in eastern states), the threat of oversupply in the industry has been curtailed, leading to higher prices for oil and gas. (However, a ruling by a Louisiana court last week overturned President Biden’s executive order on the suspension of new leases on federal land.) A similar phenomenon occurred under President Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s with new regulation in the industry. Another contributing factor must be the rising global oil price, with industry analysts last week suggesting that the price for Brent crude is likely to reach US$100/barrel in the next few years (for the first time since 2014), as underinvestment in new production over the last year (at least) transforms into supply constraints as demand remains strong. Oil prices have risen from around US$55/barrel at the start of the year to US$73/barrel last week.