Commissioner Sitton: We need to stay the course

When you think of awards ceremonies, you probably envision movie stars, rock bands, live performances, and a heavy dose of pop culture references. But a lesser known awards ceremony took place recently, and its audience was the oil and gas industry.

The 2015 Gulf Coast Oil and Gas Awards came at a time when the black cloud of oil prices looms over the industry. But for the evening, company executives and industry leaders came together to celebrate successes, highlighting companies for their contributions to the oil and gas sector in the “key areas of environmental stewardship, health and safety, efficiency, innovation and corporate social responsibility,” according to the organization’s website

The third annual awards gala dinner featured a speech from special guest Ryan Sitton, who began his first term as a Texas Railroad Commissioner in January. In an interview with Shale Plays Media, Sitton commented on the trying position of the industry. “We’re seeing this downtown, but interestingly enough, I don’t think there’s been a time in modern history when the long-term fundamentals in the oil and gas market have been this good,” he said.

“In the last seven years, our demand for oil around the world has gone from 85 million barrels a day to 92 million barrels a day. During that same time period, the world’s leading oil producers—Saudi Arabia and Russia—grew very little. They grew by maybe a million barrels a day in production. In that same time period, the United States grew its production by six million barrels a day,” Sitton explained. The newest commissioner also believes that we’re about to see monumental changes in the way the industry operates. “When you go back to the oil downturn in the 1980s, in the 1990s and again in the early 2000s, it was all about oversupply. It was a supply-driven market. This is going to turn into a demand-driven market, and we’re the only ones who can fill that demand, so that’s a big shift.”

Sitton posits that as economies across the globe regain strength, the energy demand is going to rise. The massive growth in energy production in the United States puts the nation in a position to take advantage of rising demand quickly. Sitton pushed this message at the oil and gas awards, telling the audience of industry leaders that even though many companies are tightening their budget belts as the market remains flooded and commodity prices sit abysmally low, it is just as important as ever to maintain the progress that has been made.

“We need to stay the course,” he reiterated during our interview. “Do everything you can to continue your investment, because while it is painful today, and no one is pretending that it’s not, we are going to reap the rewards of this for potentially a generation. Watch the markets grow again, and we are in the driver’s seat globally in terms of energy prices.”

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