WASHINGTON Jan 8 The sometimes chilly relations
between the top oil and gas lobbying group and the Obama
administration have warmed considerably over recent months, the
head of the American Petroleum Institute said on Tuesday.
The group's president predicted that the industry and
federal government would be able find areas of agreement at a
time when the United States is expected to continue its drive
toward energy independence.
Since Obama was re-elected in November, the API has been
meeting with administration officials on at least a weekly
basis, said API president Jack Gerard.
"The dialogue has produced some changes in some of their
regulatory approach," Gerard said, without offering specifics.
"Some of that is a better realistic understanding of who the
industry is and what it takes to produce the energy."
Gerard was one of the most outspoken critics of energy
policy during President Barack Obama's first term.
Oil and gas drillers had complained the White House was too
focused on renewable energy, to the detriment of fossil fuels.
They pointed to the choice of renewables advocate Steven Chu as
The API took special exception to the administration's
restrictions on offshore drilling and its decision to opt for a
more lengthy review of the Keystone XL pipeline.
"I believe moving forward that we will be able to find some
common ground," Gerard told reporters after giving the group's
annual address on the state of American energy.
In the run-up to November's presidential election, the White
House stressed its support for the America's booming shale oil
and gas development.
Obama's "full throated" endorsement of oil and gas
production on the campaign trail was an acknowledgement of how
the rapid expansion of shale development has changed the U.S.
energy outlook, Gerard said.
The administration made some concessions to oil and gas
industry concerns in 2012, giving drillers more time to comply
with clean air rules from the Environmental Protection Agency
and proposing rules that would not require drillers on federal
lands to disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing until
after they complete the drilling process.