Biden Presidency: Bad For Oil And Gas?

The view and opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance.

Let me start by saying that I have voted Republican in every Presidential election since I have been able to vote, including this last one. First of all, the invisible hand of the marketplace has far more to do with the price of oil than any President. But in considering the presidencies since the 1960s, I’d conclude that the oil and gas industry did fine under Democrat Administrations.

President Johnson, a new deal Democrat, helped us maintain a 27 1/2% depletion allowance both as a senator and as president.

President Nixon, a Republican, successfully imposed wage and price controls, which lowered the price of oil. He also created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

President Carter, a Democrat, imposed the disastrous windfall profits tax. Of course, he did that because oil prices were so high. Even with the hated windfall profits tax, the industry did well.

President Reagan, a Republican, made a secret deal with the Saudi‘s to flood the market with oil to bankrupt the former Soviet Union. While great for America, it was devastating to our industry.

The EPA, under President George H. W. Bush, a Republican, tried to classify oilfield waste, such as saltwater and drilling mud as hazardous; an action that had it been successful would’ve wiped out 90% of American oil and gas production.

President Clinton, a Democrat, tried to impose a $3.50 per barrel BTU tax at the wellhead. Thanks in large part to Democrats like Senator David Boren on the Senate finance committee, that legislation died. 

President George W. Bush, a Republican, was a friend and did nothing to harm our industry. However, oil production declined every year of his presidency.

We all, myself included, were extremely concerned when a far-left, anti-fossil fuel, Democrat, Barack Obama was elected. However, he got very little of his agenda accomplished, and the industry prospered under his eight years.

President Trump, a Republican, for the first three years of his presidency did all he could to keep the price of oil low. Now when the industry was devastated last spring, he also did all he could to reverse that trend. On Regulatory issues, we’ve not had a more positive President. 

Assuming Republicans hold the majority in the Senate, which is a big assumption, a Joe Biden presidency would likely have no more effect, at least on the small business oil and gas producer,  than did the Obama presidency.

The larger companies who drill on federal lands and offshore would likely face more serious challenges. However, as Mark Twain said so eloquently, “I have known many troubles in my life, but most of them never happened.”

Mike Cantrell

OEPA Board Member