White House to Set Up Panel to Review Industry
Clinton administration officials met with major and independent
producers at the White House yesterday and assured them that a
high-level group would be established to examine the conditions
that are contributing to the depressed state of the oil and gas
The panel will be headed by Gene Sperling, director of the
National Economic Council, and will include officials from
"relevant departments or agencies," such as Energy, Treasury,
Commerce and Interior, said Gil Thurm, president of the Independent
Petroleum Association of America (IPAA).
"The meeting was designed to raise the awareness level of the
administration" with respect to the oil and gas industry. "We think
that was accomplished. The administration officials proved to be
good listeners," he noted.
During a more than one-hour meeting, the IPAA and other industry
groups called on Clinton officials to "start paying [more]
attention" to the domestic industry and its strategic importance
and economic value to the nation, said IPAA Chairman George Yates.
They further asked the administration to state "very clearly" that
it was not going "to preside over the collapse of the industry," he
Attending the session were White House Chief of Staff John
Podesta, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, Energy Secretary Bill
Richardson and representatives from four major petroleum industry
associations - the IPAA, the American Petroleum Institute, the
Domestic Petroleum Council and U.S. Oil and Gas.
The discussion centered on the "shrinkage" of the industry,
which lost more than 40,000 jobs last year; the potential for a
marginal well tax credit, the alternative minimum tax and other
E&P reforms, according to Yates. "But we did not have a chance
to go into any details" on the issues, Thurm said, adding this
would be left to the panel that the administration plans to set up.
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