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Jerry Simmons: Heitkamp and Hoeven: A winning combo for North Dakota

TULSA, Okla.--Thanks to advancements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, U.S. crude and natural gas producers--in collaboration with the estimated 12 million royalty owners they work with nationwide--have initiated a new age of energ...

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Jerry Simmons

TULSA, Okla.-Thanks to advancements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, U.S. crude and natural gas producers-in collaboration with the estimated 12 million royalty owners they work with nationwide-have initiated a new age of energy abundance that has significantly lowered fuel and utility costs, strengthened the national economy and mass-produced jobs.

But while the U.S. continues to lead the world in the export of refined petroleum products, its record-breaking production of crude has triggered a severe logjam of light-tight oil at U.S. refineries designed to process heavier foreign crudes.

These domestic supply and demand dislocations, along with the nation's one-time, 40-year-old ban on crude exports, threatened to stifle domestic drilling and decelerate America's energy revolution and goal of energy independence.

Not any more.

That's why the Royalty Owners and Producers Educational Coalition (ROPE) commends North Dakota Sens. Heidi Heitkamp and John Hoeven for their leadership in helping to support the omnibus package signed into law-legislation that included language to lift the outdated 1970s-era exports ban.

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As Heitkamp said, it's a "huge win" for North Dakota.

Lifting the ban will not only allow Bakken producers to compete on a global scale, but also generate more opportunities for us to create jobs, grow our economy, keep the price of gas low at the pumps and bolster national security through energy security.

Economists at IHS, an energy economics and information services firm, previously reported that repealing the ban would, in due time, prompt enough additional drilling in North Dakota to increase daily oil production by up to 3 million barrels per day and lower gasoline pump prices between 8 and 12 cents per gallon.

In fact, IHS says that higher US oil production resulting from a lifting of the ban will create, at its peak, 1 million jobs, increase GDP by $135 billion and boost income per household by $391. Furthermore, the nation's oil import bill would be reduced by $67 billion per year.

Now that's the kind of news private mineral owners who depend on their payments to feed and provide for their families, support local businesses, improve farming and forestry practices, build new farming facilities and provide more to their communities via personal income taxes need to hear.

Giving these owners the regulatory tools they need to continue developing their resources helps make not only their lives but also their neighbors' lives better and stronger.

And now, after a decades-long wait, we finally have a major component of that all-important regulatory toolkit-with much of the credit going to Heitkamp and Hoeven.

Simmons is executive vice president of the Royalty Owners and Producers Educational Coalition (ROPE).

Related Topics: HEIDI HEITKAMP
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