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As Output Rises, Infrastructure Spending Could Reach $1 Trillion in Next Decade

If shale gas production continues to increase at forecasted levels, IHS Global Inc. says investment in oil and gas midstream and downstream infrastructure could balloon to $1.15 Trillion over the next 12 years, according to a study commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute (API) released on Tuesday.

API’s study also showed a dramatic 60% increase in infrastructure spending between 2010 and 2013, when spending went from $56.3 billion to $89.6 billion.

The study was conducted by IHS Global to demonstrate the rapid growth in pipelines and processing facilities that unfolded after the Great Recession as a result of increased unconventional oil and gas activity. API released the study in conjunction with its annual State of American Energy Report and also launched a new advertising campaign ahead of midterm elections in November.

The IHS study estimates that $85-$90 billion of direct capital will be invested in oil and gas infrastructure across the country in 2014 alone. In the long-run, if production remains conservative over the next 12 years, spending on pipelines and processing is estimated be $890 billion, according to the study.

Infrastructure remains a key concern for the industry. In a survey released this month by BDO USA LLP, three-quarters of the 100 CFOs polled said they expect domestic oil and gas output to increase this year on higher demand and improved prices (see Daily GPI, Jan. 6; Jan. 7).  Financial analysts at Raymond James & Associates Inc. have predicted that exploration and production spending will increase 5-10% this year, as well (see Daily GPI, Dec. 24, 2013).

Meanwhile, API's State of American Energy Report -- issued to offer its more than 550 members guidance and perspective about policies and issues that will influence the energy landscape in the future -- made a case against some of the broader public debates and political stalemates that continue to discourage the industry.

The organization said in its report that the oil and gas industry continues to be a major investor in the public and private sectors, supporting $1.2 trillion in U.S. gross domestic product and referencing an analysis from the auditing and consulting firm PwC US showing that oil and gas supports roughly 8% of the entire U.S. economy.

With an ability to revitalize American manufacturing and "decouple U.S. foreign policy decisions from its energy needs," API emphasized the necessity of easing the political and regulatory burdens of the industry moving forward (see Daily GPI, Nov. 12, 2013; Dec. 16, 2013).. API said federal lands and waters should be opened to energy production and efforts at imposing higher state and federal taxes should be curtailed because the industry already pays the highest effective tax rate.

The notion of a one-size-fits-all regulatory scheme for horizontal drillers should be forgotten and onerous renewable fuel standards that continue to hurt refiners should receive a closer examination from lawmakers and be reversed, API said in its report.

API also touched on the balancing act between safe pipelines and the right kind of regulatory environment for shipping crude by rail in the wake of several accidents in the U.S. and Canada (see Shale Daily, Aug. 22, 2013) The organization also continued its push to expedite the permitting process for LNG exports and major infrastructure such as the Keystone XL Pipeline.

In presenting the report and touching on the new ad campaign, API CEO Jack Gerard said as the country ushers in a new age of energy development, it faces a choice between energy security and economic uncertainty.

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