HOUSTON–Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Wednesday the Biden administration is committed to working with the oil-and-gas industry to ease a brewing energy crisis, although she stopped short of promising specific policy changes.
Speaking to an energy industry conference, Ms. Granholm said the administration wants to work with the industry to ease surging prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and thanked oil producers for “120 years” of powering the country.
“We are eternally grateful for that,” Ms. Granholm said to a full conference room at CERAWeek by S&P Global.
“I am here to extend a hand for partnership,” she said, “because we’re only going to be able to meet these challenges–the challenges of oil and gas supply and the challenges of climate change–by working together.”
Friction between the Biden administration and the industry has clouded the prospects for doing that as gasoline prices have shot to a new nominal, though not inflation-adjusted, high this week.
The industry’s trade group leaders in Washington complain that President Biden hasn’t called for a White House meeting they say would help convince investors to pump money again into new drilling.
Ms. Granholm and several other administration officials at the conference are attempting to help relations through meetings with oil-and-gas companies. Ms. Granholm said in an interview she is meeting with executives from BP PLC, Shell PLC and Chevron Corp. among other companies.
The administration has amped up such outreach since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rocked markets. In recent days officials have focused on specific ideas to boost short-term U.S. oil-and-gas output, according to U.S. and industry officials who have been in the meetings.
But U.S. officials have also refused to back down from climate policies that have rankled some in the industry and the administration’s political opponents.
Ms. Granholm told the crowd the industry must work on two priorities at once, boosting short-term oil-and-gas supply while continuing to change their business models in order to eliminate their planet-warming gases.
“Yes, right now we need oil and gas production to rise to meet current demand,” she said. “And we are here, as well, to work with anyone and everyone who is serious about taking a leap … to add clean fuels and technologies.”