Washington policies are stifling energy growth in US, banker says

The greatest threat to expected energy growth in the U.S. is the people running the government in Washington, an investment banker who specializes in industry issues told a University of Houston gathering Tuesday.

“Sue and settle – this is a famous technique of this administration,” said John T. McNabb II, vice chairman of investment banking for financial advisory firm Duff & Phelps. “This is what is going on with the EPA all over the U.S. right now.”

McNabb made the comments during a speech that addressed the global energy outlook to 2040. Industry officials have stepped up the rhetoric as government regulators and oil and gas interests have been at odds over how to address the world’s appetite for energy.

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He cited Exxon Mobil projections that suggest global energy demand will be about 30 percent higher in 2040 compared to 2010 as economic output more than doubles and prosperity expands across the world’s population, forecast to grow from 7 billion people 9 billion people.

McNabb said the U.S. can either sit on the sidelines or realize expectations that it will surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia to lead the world in oil production in the coming years.

He noted competition from other counties.

“Washington wants cleaner air, but the Chinese and Indians simply want to build their economies,” McNabb said.

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McNabb urged the U.S. government to get out of the way and let the energy industry continue to grow.

“America could be as low cost a manufacturer as any place,” he said.

McNabb is a director at several firms that do business in the energy industry. He also works with several independent oil and gas firms.

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