U.S. Energy Secretary cuts to the chase and urges oil & gas companies to produce more

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm has decided to cut to the chase and urge the oil and gas companies to increase their production to stabilise the market following the global energy crisis exacerbated by Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

U.S. Energy Secretary, Jennifer Granholm
U.S. Energy Secretary, Jennifer Granholm

The update came following an announcement by U.S. President Joe Biden earlier this week, banning Russian oil imports as a response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine. In addition to crude oil, the U.S. has also banned petroleum; petroleum fuels, oils, and products of their distillation; liquefied natural gas; coal; and coal products.

Speaking at CERAWeek, the annual energy conference in Houston, on Wednesday, Granholm was “in a mood to cut to the chase here and tell you what I really think about where we are at as a country and as a part of the energy sector.”

The Energy Secretary Granholm praised oil majors BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, and others in the private sector who are withdrawing from Russian operations. “But there’s more to do. There are more battles,” she said.

As one of the measures the country could take, Granholm stated increasing short-term supply right now to stabilise the market and to minimize harm to American families.

“That means releases from strategic reserves across the world, like we’ve done. And that means you producing more right now, where and if you can.”

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Addressing the issue of climate change and energy transition and the internal battles between companies and investors demanding climate action, she said: “I get it—this is beyond hard. You’ve got businesses to run and employees who are nervous about the change. So we have to do this right – with the right timing, the right technologies, the right partnerships. And we CAN. But we can’t do it if we are fighting internal battles.”

Therefore, Granholm called all parties to work together to confront this moment of crisis, adding that the Department of Energy, and the entire Biden administration, are ready to work together with companies to seize the opportunity of clean energy.

“That means we have to deploy clean technologies as fast as possible—but we’re under no illusion that every American will get an EV or a heat pump tomorrow or next month or next year. It is a transition…and we’re pragmatic about what it means. We know it won’t happen overnight.

“And we’re serious about decarbonising while providing reliable energy that doesn’t depend on foreign adversaries. That means we’ll walk and chew gum at the same time. So yes, right now, we need oil and gas production to rise to meet current demand.”

She underlined that the government is here to work with anyone and everyone who’s serious about taking a leap toward the future by diversifying energy portfolio to add clean fuels and technologies, whether it is clean hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, offshore wind, geothermal, lithium from geothermal brines, sustainable aviation fuels, or EV charging.

“It’s often hard to see history in the making. But we’re on the cusp of the most important transition human society has ever seen. I hope we’ll look back at 2022 as the year the world took giant steps to improve energy security and tackle climate change. And to do that—to be on the right side of history—we need to work together. Let’s start now,” Granholm concluded.

It is also worth mentioning that the UK, which also revealed the decision this week to phase out Russian oil imports by the end of the year, is planning to step up its production of oil and gas, according to a report by Reuters, quoting transport minister, Grant Shapps.