Energy executives react to Trump's deregulation efforts

Fuel Fix:
Royal Dutch Shell isn’t the only organization calling quasi-secret meetings to talk about a low-carbon future in the oil and gas industry.

Last month, even as President Donald Trump was announcing plans to dismantle the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, multinational oil giant Royal Dutch Shell convened a meeting with other energy companies, including Houston’s Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Apache Corp., to talk about a “cleaner energy” future.

Turns out the University of Houston had done the same.

Attendees at the UH workshop, hosted by the Bauer College of Business, talked about the value of the Paris climate accords, about pipeline permitting obstacles, and about working with environmentalists rather than against them.

“The decision to dismantle environmental regulations tends to stir up grassroots activism without significant benefit in terms of returns for the oil and gas industry,” wrote Professor Chris Ross and interim Vice Chancellor Ramanan Krishnamoorti as part of a summary of the day’s discussion.

The companies have already factored regulations into their budgets and projects, they explained at the meeting. The results of environmental activism, on the other hand, are less certain.
If energy companies want to continue to spend money on regulations that are no longer in place, they are certainly free to do so, although shareholders may question their efforts.   While normally secret meetings to discuss business operations be large companies are found on by the antitrust division of the Justice Department, I suppose an agreement to make less money would not be frowned upon.  But if it is a meeting to artificially drive up prices, there could be consequences.


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