ENB #202 Managing the Energy Frontiers: Gifford Briggs with American Petroleum Institute

In our society today, energy is life, and knowledge is power. When trying to understand what is happening with the oil and gas markets, you must find trusted sources for information. The API is a great resource and has fantastic resources. When the US Biden Administration declares war on energy, oil, and gas and practices “Legislation Through Regulations,” a resource you can look to for leadership is critical.

I enjoyed talking with Gifford Briggs, API’s Gulf Coast Region Director, today. We discussed some critical points, such as the pause on LNG export permits and climate change.

One thing was clear: I need more time with Gifford on future discussions. I am looking forward to our next visit. – Thank you, Gifford, for your time and expertise in the energy sector! – Stu

Please connect and follow Gifford Briggs on his LinkedIn HERE: https://www.linkedin.com/in/giffordbriggs/

Check out everything for the API – American Petroleum Institute HERE: https://www.api.org/

 

Highlights of the Podcast

 

02:04 – Discussion on API’s role in setting standards and representing the industry.

03:58 – Praise for the environmental impact of American oil and gas companies.

06:07 – Emphasis on Louisiana’s importance in energy infrastructure.

07:19 – Pause on LNG export permits by Biden administration discussed.

10:26 – Consequences of permit pause explained by Briggs.

11:33 – Reflections on unintended consequences of anti-fossil fuel activism.

15:15 – The role of oil and gas in addressing global energy poverty is highlighted.

17:22 – Mention of upcoming elections’ potential impact on energy policies.

21:23 – Discussion on the cyclical nature of energy policies and their economic impact.

25:55 – Connection between political administrations and oil prices explored.

28:07 – Briggs shares contact information and mentions API’s sustainability campaign.

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The following is an automated transcript and we disavow any errors unless they make us funnier or better looking.

Stuart Turley [00:00:07] Welcome to the Energy News Beat podcast. My name’s StuTurley, president CEO of the Sandstone Group. We’ve got some crazy things going on in the world today. And when we sit back and we take a look at an LNG ban, you take a look at postpone its postponement, but you take a look at the world as it needs low cost energy. And what does the U.S. need? It needs energy security. We need to be able to export our LNG to our other allies around the world. But yet today we have an expert in the global, export. He is the Gulf Coast regional director at API. And I mean, Gifford Briggs. Welcome to the podcast this morning.

Gifford Briggs [00:00:52] I appreciate it. Thank you very much. Thanks for having.

Stuart Turley [00:00:55] Me. Hey, I’ll tell you what, we’re sitting here chit chatting right before the show and you’ve got some wolves in a drawing back behind you. Those are some pretty cool briefings.

Gifford Briggs [00:01:05] I appreciate it very much. Yeah. Something that, was a gift from my father, and, it’s a nice remembrance of him every time I come into the office.

Stuart Turley [00:01:14] Oh, isn’t that great? I’ll tell you, I am a big fan of art history. Art history. And, it’s a good thing that we don’t have any activists trying to, throw things at those. Right? If they’re a gift from your father, having a, activist in your office would not be very fun with it.

Gifford Briggs [00:01:34] No. Fortunately not. Nor would having live wolves be very fun in the way. So we’ll, we’ll just be glad that we get to keep him up on the wall for the time being.

Stuart Turley [00:01:43] We just solve the world’s problems right now. Feed all the activists to the wolves. I think we just solve this problem. Okay? Film at 11. I’ll tell you what they’ll give you. Tell me what you have going on at the API. You’ve been there for a few years, and you really. I really want to know what you guys do.

Gifford Briggs [00:02:05] Yeah, sure. So, you know, that’s a loaded question because we do a lot, but, API is a, as an organization that’s been in place for over 100 years. We actually started out as a standards organization. We maintain a catalog right now of, of over 708 hundred, different standards that are used across, across the globe. And, and so, you know, for instance, if you go to get oil change, when you buy the oil, you’ll look at it and you’ll see that it is an API certified oil, meaning that it has been manufactured to API standards. We do standards for, you know, obviously for things like that, we do them for, you know, pipeline specifications, how to test pipelines. We do a lot for blowout preventers and then stuff you would see in, in the refinery. So again, a large catalog of standards. So that’s part of what we do. Teach the standard certify, you know, industry equipment and whatnot. And then the other part of what we do, is more of the traditional trade association work that people are familiar with and that we, represent, natural gas and oil industry across the country. Our headquarters in East. So we do a lot, in, in Washington, DC, in the federal government. But we also have a regional state governmental affairs program, which is what I’m a part of, with eight offices across the country. And so from my office in the Gulf Coast region, we cover the best states, of course. And Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. And, I’m from Louisiana, but we’re headquartered in, Tallahassee in the great state of Florida. So nice. I love what I get to do. Obviously, I got, great states to, to represent and to work with, as we advance, you know, good smart energy policy across the Gulf Coast.

Stuart Turley [00:03:58] But, you know, it’s way cool. Giffard, is the fact that the API’s impact on the environment is huge. And when you take a look at, Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, and then American producers, we actually do a pretty darn good with it, taking care of the environment, thanks to folks like you that are making sure the rules actually mean something.

Gifford Briggs [00:04:25] Well, look, our our industry has been, advancing technologies to produce, American natural gas and oil in, the most environmentally responsive and safe way possible, both for the environment and for employees, the communities that we that we work with. And that’s something we’re very proud of. And we certainly over time been able to export that technology, around the globe. Obviously, a lot of API’s members are international and global companies. And, you know, they take the, the, the what they’ve learned here in the. United States. And when they go produce in other countries, they don’t leave that at the states border. They take that technology and they become the cleanest producers wherever, wherever they go. And something obviously, as an industry, we’re very proud of. There are others that want to knock us, you know, any chance they get. But I’m very proud of the industry that I get to be a part of. And the fact that I’ve been able to represent them now and in various capacities for, nearly 16, 17 years is is is a is a blessing.

Stuart Turley [00:05:29] You know, and as you sit back and you take a look at, what we’ve got going on. I’m looking at a map from the Global Energy Monitor, and we’ve got, you look at you’ve got the the region right there, New Orleans, Houston, San Antonio, and you’ve got all of these pipelines going out into the Gulf. And I mean, we’ve got just on this ballpark, 361, LNG export and LNG terminal import for 41 and 2862 pipelines in the US.

Gifford Briggs [00:06:09] Well, you know, when I, when I was with the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association before, we love showing a map. We were giving presentations of the pipeline infrastructure. And, it always looks like a heart, right, with the aorta coming right through Louisiana. You know, 50% of the of the fuel, it’s refined. And power as our nation’s, you know, vehicle and transportation infrastructure comes right through Louisiana. And, you know, Louisiana doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves, but it is quintessential, to the, you know, not only the the nation’s energy maker, but really the global energy make up and, plays such an important role.

Stuart Turley [00:06:49] Oh, and when you take a look at Port Arthur, and then you take a look at the other one right next to it in there. Holy smokes, Batman. I mean, that we would be dead meat without Louisiana. Without Texas. It just would not be the same life.

Gifford Briggs [00:07:06] That is true. We promote, quite a bit of, economic security, and freedom comes right through those, couple hundred miles of coastline in Louisiana and Texas. Absolutely.

Stuart Turley [00:07:19] Now, we just had this Biden, pause, if you would could you lead us through what happened and what the API’s opinion is on that? Because I got my opinions, but my opinions. Yeah, sure.

Gifford Briggs [00:07:35] So, I mean, you know, essentially, the administration announced the decision to pause, any new, LNG export permits. The so the construction of new LNG facilities to export, natural gas, LNG, to non-free trade agreement countries. So essentially, you know, Europe and all of our allies and everywhere else, and, you know, there’s different companies that are in different stages. It doesn’t it doesn’t pause the existing facilities, but that but but even the existing facilities that were looking to expand, which were quite a lot had permits to add additional export capacity to their existing facilities. All of that has been stopped or paused or, and I think, how how permanent or indefinite it is. There’s probably, you know, a lot to be said later on this year with some of the elections of, of, what may or may not look like, while they, you know, while we’re, we’re in silly season right as election season. Right. So it’s always silly season. And, you know, it’s unfortunate because, as we talked about earlier, I mean, American natural gas is the cleaners, you know, produced natural gas in the world. Our allies, particularly those in Europe, are in a situation where Russia has shut them down and they’ve literally just turned off the valves to provide all the fuel to our allies. And in the wake of that, the president, which is kind of ironic, committed that we would supply all of the fuel and energy, that they need. And while we are doing that to the best of our ability right now, the demand for energy continues to grow. And if we don’t take American expertise in clean burning natural gas and provide that to countries, around the world, they’re not just going to not have power, they are going to do seek other options. And the most likely other option immediately is either get the same natural gas from somewhere else, where it won’t be produced nearly as cleanly or environmentally friendly as we do here in the United States. Right. Or a switch to coal, which I think we all know by now that coal is not nearly as clean of a producer of energy as natural gas is. So while saying while the president is saying that he wants to, that he’s pausing LNG permits to to to make sure that’s the right thing for the environment. It is very clear and easy to see that it is the right thing for the environment, because the other option that countries have besides American natural gas, all all are more impactful in a negative way to the environment than than what we could provide here in the United States. Sorry, that was a lot.

Stuart Turley [00:10:27] Oh, no, I think it’s fair. Because when we sit back and take a look at. The political negative connotation of what’s going on with this halt is because the great U.S. companies are going to, be set back because the I’ve never seen these long term contracts, 25, 30 year contracts. Qatar is just going nuts. How do you pronounce it? Cutter. Katara. Katara. I’m from Oklahoma. Texas. I’m half breed, so it’s kind of like.

Gifford Briggs [00:11:05] I think you’re doing great. I’m not even going to say that they. I think you’re doing great.

Stuart Turley [00:11:09] But, you know, we we sit back and go, the Biden administration does not realize what they’re doing by placating to the extremists and placating to his base. He’s hampering long term investment. He’s hampering long term commitments to our allies. I almost wouldn’t want to be an ally of the U.S. now.

Gifford Briggs [00:11:34] Yeah, I mean, that’s that’s certainly falls outside of the, of the API’s.

Stuart Turley [00:11:40] It does, but work there.

Gifford Briggs [00:11:42] So I don’t want to speak to too difficult there. But, you know, certainly we made a commitment and, you know, pausing the construction of additional LNG facilities, doesn’t look like and again, are we’re shipping the LNG that they need now. But that doesn’t mean that that we’re going to be able to rise to meet their demands in the future. And so we’ve seen it where they’ve had to look, you know, start looking towards coal. And yes, you can’t get LNG in the future from us. That they’re going to want to get it from somewhere else. And does that mean that they turn back to Russia? Does that mean that they turn to China? And that’s not exactly positioning ourselves our own national security? Not even looking at the environmental situation. It doesn’t put us where we where we could be, and and being able to supply the world’s energy.

Stuart Turley [00:12:29] You know, Gifford, you just kind of nailed a big point. And I had an epiphany while you were talking on this. And that is the activist. The global. Or the, excuse me, the, anti fossil fuel activist that Biden was listening to. And it turned out that it was Bloomberg had put in there that it was there was articles that were out there saying Bloomberg and all these others influenced Biden to put the pause on there. That pause is actually doing more harm to the environment than actually letting the LNG go forward. And it’s actually kind of stupid that they’re doing more harm to the environment by putting these pauses in.

Gifford Briggs [00:13:15] Well, and and you’re 100% right. And we’ve seen this, you know, in some different, varying degrees throughout this administration when we look at their energy policy, you know, they’re shutting down the leases in the Gulf of Mexico with 2024 will be the first time in since the beginning of the offshore leasing program that we won’t have any oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico in the five year plan that they put out there. We only have, I think, three lease sale schedule when we’re used to having, you know, an average at least two a year. And, and throughout this four year period of three year, period of time, this administration, whenever we were, whenever we looked to see, have high energy prices, instead of turning to American energy and saying, what do we need to do to produce more energy here locally, they begin looking and saying, okay, can OPEC, can you increase production? Right, because shutting down American production doesn’t change energy demands globally. In fact, if you look at the EIA, you’re only seeing we’re adding more people. The global energy demand is going up. And on top of that, the demand for natural gas and the demand for oil, no matter how much effort is being put into bringing on renewables, which look, we’re for renewables, we’re for all of the above energy. You mean how much we’re seeing that grow? The demand for natural gas and oil continues to increase into the future. And so we know we do it the best here. We know we do it in the most environmentally responsible and safe manner, in the Gulf of Mexico or in the Haynesville Shale in Shreveport, Louisiana, all the way up into North Dakota, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas. We do it the best. We do it better than than any other countries do. We do it safer. We do it more environmentally responsible. Why not harness all of that great energy that’s produced to put Americans to work, generate revenue and wealth for for our country, and then export that success abroad?

Stuart Turley [00:15:16] You know, I, I find it funny, and, I just signed the, thing, in December, the, oil and gas executives for nuclear. And I have never met anybody in the oil and gas base that doesn’t. Like they say, we don’t care. We’re here to deliver low cost energy. If it’s wind, solar, nuclear, we don’t care. But if you’re on the other side, it’s like all of a sudden you’re hated because you are delivering natural gas. And I think it’s great that in 20 I think it gives. You have to correct me if I’m wrong, but it was, 2022. The EIA said the biggest reason that we lowered our emissions was because of natural gas.

Gifford Briggs [00:16:05] The 100% the conversion to natural gas or from coal power plants has led to the greatest reduction of of emissions anywhere. And we’re, you know, and we’re continuing to see that trend today where emissions continue to get lower. And now industry is investing, you know, billions of dollars into, capturing carbon emissions from, you know, refineries and everywhere else and, and injecting that safely, storing it safely underground, away from water, away from it, I think could impact the environment, which a few years ago, was something that the, the, the many, many of the, we’re saying calling on the industry to do and saying that it’s just the industry doesn’t want to spend their money, doing this. Now we’re doing it and they’re are attacking carbon capture and storage. Like it was, you know, like it was producing oil and natural gas. And it’s just every we continue to look for ways to do things better. We continue to do it better. Right. Revive the energy that the world needs. And we’re going to continue to do it. We’re going to continue to rise to that challenge. It’s great that we see a growth in wind. It’s great to see a growth. And so we’ve got companies that are investing in Arkansas and lithium extraction technology isn’t.

Stuart Turley [00:17:22] That great to.

Gifford Briggs [00:17:23] Be able to, to help provide the resources that we need to build out our electric grid. And so our our industry is investing in all of these spaces to make sure that we can meet the energy demands of the world, not just today, but in the future. And we’re going to continue to do that. And we know that the world needs us. We know that the world needs energy. And it’s only going to need more because so much of the world right now doesn’t have access to energy, period. They don’t have access to reliable electricity. Period. And so, you know, they would love the idea just to be able to have, you know, reliable power at their home and electricity at their home. And so we’re going to continue to work so that as those people have the lights turned on, we have the energy that they need to do it.

Stuart Turley [00:18:08] Isn’t that great? I just did a, podcast with Doom Burg and Chris Wright from, Liberty. And, I love I love those guys. And we talked about energy poverty and it just. Absolutely. And it’s one of my hot buttons.

Gifford Briggs [00:18:22] Why take it for granted? We we take it for granted in this country. Because every when you go home and you go flip that light switch on, you know there’s going to be power. Now, some people might think that the power comes because they trapped it in the drywall, but it doesn’t matter. Regardless where you go when you go to flip on that lights, where.

Stuart Turley [00:18:41] You can.

Gifford Briggs [00:18:42] Flip on that light switch, you know there’s going to be power. And that is just not true for a large percentage of the world. And so, you know, there, as we meet their demands, as we, as we get to the point where we can provide them power and electricity and build out their grids and do that, and and there are people all over the world that are trying to make that happen for communities, you know, all, everywhere. They’re going to need more energy. They’re going to need to go through their industrial revolution, and they’re going to want to have vehicles and they’re going to want to have cars. And and so there’s going to be a tremendous demand for energy. You know, and if we, we if we stop making investments today, that’s not going to stop. Their demand for energy in the future is just going to change where they get it from. And again, the world is much better off them. They’re getting that energy from the US than if they’re getting that energy from China and from Russia and other places, especially those that are hostile to the US.

Stuart Turley [00:19:40] Gifford, you’re saying in my song over here I was visiting with NJ, I knew it from, the African Energy Chamber, with Cyrus Brooks, with our, ABC. And, it was a great conversation about that very same thing is that Africa needs to, use their own natural resources. Let’s import the U.S. technology that you described. Let’s let them do that and not force them to go to the high priced renewables, because that technology cannot support. And let’s get them jobs. Let’s get them, low cost energy. Let’s take the APIs. Really good. Knowledge base. And export that to Africa.

Gifford Briggs [00:20:35] 100%. And, you know, imagine, you know, you can if you can go to Africa and imagine all of a sudden they’ve got power, homes and and just, you know what that would how that would transform, you know, a city or a country and really the whole continent. I mean, it’s, you know, that is only a good thing for the United States, right? And it’s a good thing for humanity.

Stuart Turley [00:20:56] Absolutely. And and I’ll tell you, what do you see, coming around the corner for the API? Because I always get tickled when I see, somebody, some, talking head on the news or something, and they go, hey, something in oil. Quick. Let’s get somebody, you know, quick. What’s the number to 911 or give me the number, the API, the API says this or that. What do you think is coming around the corner right now?

Gifford Briggs [00:21:23] Well, I mean, I don’t know that we have to look too far to see what’s around the corner. I mean, I guess the big question is going to be is, you know, this year’s elections, energy is on the ballot. And, you know, I think people, you know, once again going to have a choice. I mean, I, you know, there’s a lot of people that are really surprised by some of the action that President Biden in this administration have taken. I haven’t, you know, really been that surprised because, you know, the actions he’s taken were very consistent with what he said on the campaign trail. And I think again this year, you’re going to see a very, you know, you’re going to have a choice between two approaches to energy, one, that wants to harness American, ingenuity and to, provide economic and, national security, through energy dominance, and producing and harnessing the, the technology and an industry here in the United States, you know, and one that wants to, you know, very aggressively force the transition away from natural gas and oil, into other technologies at a pace that’s that’s really not sustainable. And, you know, you can see it in the policies, whether it’s the LNG pause or the leasing approach, you know, or through some of the other policies, you know, where they’re mandating the purchase of electric vehicles. And, you know, I think, you know, over 20% by 2027. And, and, you know, these are numbers that are that are just really not realistic because our electricity grid, our grid cannot sustain it without significant investments. And so, and again, I’m not opposed to electric vehicles. We have a lot of companies that are bringing forth basic technologies and trying to build out, you know, charging networks, which is great because for people that want to have electric vehicles, you know, we want to make sure that they have the ability to charge anywhere. But forcing it upon people where you’re want to take away their choice, where they’ve got, you know, bans on the gasoline powered in, you know, up and down the, the, the northeast by certain years. I mean, I think, I think those policies are harmful. To, to, you know, America from a, from an energy standpoint and a policy standpoint. So I c want to say what’s around the corner. It’s hard to see past November because we’re going to be two very different futures for for America and for the, you know, specifically for the energy industry, and what that looks like. And so, I think once we, you know, once we get past November, then we’ll have a better idea of, of, you know, to some degree at least what the next four years will hold. Maybe we can maybe we going we’ll get the future in four year cycles at this point. So.

Stuart Turley [00:24:05] You know, and that’s the sad part is when you take a look at Saudi Aramco and, you take a look at the other state owned, oil companies that are out there. Saudi Aramco yesterday said that they, they I believe their profit for was $112 billion. And it was 25% down because of, the price of oil. And you take a look at gasoline prices to the consumers are always lower under a Republican. So the oil and gas companies make less money under a Republican, but the consumers are better off. So you would sit here and go, which one is really showing? You know that you’re a true patriot when you’re sitting here going, I’ll vote for energy security and have all these great high paying jobs like in Texas and everything else. Or will I pay for higher prices at the pump? That’s what it’s going to come down to.

Gifford Briggs [00:25:15] Yeah, it’s, it’s I, I’ve had that very conversation with, with people throughout the industry that, and it’s just not a perfect chart, but it’s pretty close to, to follow the presidential policies and where. Prices go. And, you know, it’s it’s, it’s an interesting situation.

Stuart Turley [00:25:37] I had an MP operator, God bless him. He said I make more money under Democrats, and I’m like, that one that’s kind of given I’m over here going, wait a minute. And it’s true. Higher oil prices followed Democrats. Correct.

Gifford Briggs [00:25:55] And what’s interesting, and I heard a presentation on this one time, is that, you know, when you have low energy prices, when you when you’re paying $2 a gallon for fuel and your natural gas is $1.50. Yep. And all of, all of the prices of all the goods are down, that provides more economic freedom for the individual. And when when individuals have more economic freedom, it allows them the time and the energy in the space to be able to really focus on their environmental concerns and what’s going on. More of the altruistic issues as opposed to putting food on the table. Right now, we’re a situation where people are only really worried about putting food on the table, because inflation is so high and so they’re not thinking about those things. But then, you know, if we if we get policies in place that drive the cost down, then everyone’s focus changes from putting food onto the table of how can we make the world a better place. And so that’s, that is that is part of the cycle. And I think what, how how that happens again, that’s, that’s these are my personal views on, on on that particular. But but but it was it was a really interesting presentation presentation that got me thinking about, you know, how that actually happens and the impact it has, you know, on, on the United States, you know, somewhat cyclical political system.

Stuart Turley [00:27:15] Well, you know what, Gifford, this has been an absolute wonderful talk, but I want to have a, open invitation to you anytime that you have a announcement or anything that you feel, very, important. Please, we’ll cut an immediate, episode for you and, get the word out for you, and I appreciate it.

Gifford Briggs [00:27:39] And that goes that goes both ways. So, you know, if there’s something that pops up and you just looking to get, you know, someone’s perspective on or, you know, if you decide that you want to do a deep dive on, hydrogen policy, then, you know, maybe I’m not the right person, but there is somebody at API that will always be the right person. And so that we’ve got experts that cover everything. So, you know, if you need to do a deep dive into a policy segment or if you just want some high level conversation like this, I’m happy to join anytime.

Stuart Turley [00:28:07] Oh that’s fabulous. And how do people get Ahold of you, Gifford?

Gifford Briggs [00:28:11] Sure. Well, the easiest way to get Ahold of me is by email. And it’s Briggs ji at AP, dawg. But, you know, you can just go to the API website and learn more about our amazing organization, which is pretty easy. Api.org. And right now, great. If you’re watching on TV right now, you can see our campaign that’s going on right now where we’re talking about lights on energy. We’ve got a website for that as well where you can. We’re just talking about how we keep the lights on.

Stuart Turley [00:28:36] Isn’t that great? Well, thank you for stopping by the podcast today. Man, I appreciate.

Gifford Briggs [00:28:40] You, happy to do it. You have a great rest of your day.

Stuart Turley [00:28:43] Thanks.

About Stu Turley 3278 Articles
Stuart Turley is President and CEO of Sandstone Group, a top energy data, and finance consultancy working with companies all throughout the energy value chain. Sandstone helps both small and large-cap energy companies to develop customized applications and manage data workflows/integration throughout the entire business. With experience implementing enterprise networks, supercomputers, and cellular tower solutions, Sandstone has become a trusted source and advisor.   He is also the Executive Publisher of www.energynewsbeat.com, the best source for 24/7 energy news coverage, and is the Co-Host of the energy news video and Podcast Energy News Beat. Energy should be used to elevate humanity out of poverty. Let's use all forms of energy with the least impact on the environment while being sustainable without printing money. Stu is also a co-host on the 3 Podcasters Walk into A Bar podcast with David Blackmon, and Rey Trevino. Stuart is guided by over 30 years of business management experience, having successfully built and help sell multiple small and medium businesses while consulting for numerous Fortune 500 companies. He holds a B.A in Business Administration from Oklahoma State and an MBA from Oklahoma City University.