The Obama administration has reached an all-time low when it comes to energy policy, the chairman of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) said last Wednesday.

“The Obama administration is probably the worst administration in terms of energy policy,” said independent oilman and IPAA Chairman Bruce Vincent in a telephone interview with NGI, which followed his address to the IPAA Oil & Gas Investment Symposium in San Francisco.

The Obama administration “is so anti-fossil fuels [oil, natural gas and coal], which supply 85% of the energy in this county.” He believes producers should approach national energy policy “like a war that will go on and on.”

Vincent, who is president of Houston-based Swift Energy Co., called Obama’s proposal to scale back $40 billion-plus in oil and gas tax breaks a “horrible policy.” However, he declined to speculate as to whether the president’s tax proposals would be adopted by Congress (see NGI, Sept. 19).

“It [the Obama administration] wants to try to demonize Big Oil. But the fact of the matter is that people who drill almost 95% of the wells in this country are independents, most of which are small businesses.

“Removal of the tax deductions, which are deductions for normal and ordinary business expenses that most of your businesses have, would be unfairly targeting a particular independent and would dramatically affect the investment of capital into that activity in this country, which not only would affect supply, but certainly would have dramatic impact on jobs,” Vincent said.

He said he wants to see policymakers pursue a balanced energy policy. “I would love to see our politicians do what’s best for the country, not do what’s best for a particular group of people.”

Swift Energy has been beset with its own problems in Texas and Louisiana in recent weeks. The company last Thursday lowered its estimate for third-quarter production due to the failure of a third-party operated gathering line in the Fasken field in Webb County, TX, and other incidents.

As a result of the gathering line failure, Swift Energy said it has had to halt dry natural gas sales from the Fasken field, which averaged approximately 40 MMcf/d prior to the failure. Swift Energy said it expects pipeline services to resume in the near future, but first the gathering operator has to complete a full review of the damages.

The producer estimates that its third-quarter production will be slightly below the low end of its previous guidance of 2.56-2.76 million boe. In addition to the gathering line failure, the quarter also will be “negatively impacted by previously announced shut-ins along the Louisiana coast during Tropical Storm Lee, delays in commissioning of dedicated transportation and processing through a newly constructed third-party pipeline handling natural gas production in McMullen County, TX, and periodic transportation and processing curtailments under the company’s existing interruptible natural gas agreements, also in McMullen County,” it said.

And while Swift Energy has obtained an additional planned rig for its South Texas area to drill Olmos and Eagle Ford horizontal wells, another rig currently under contract has experienced a major mechanical problem and is expected to be out of service for much of the remainder of the year, the company said.

“This will impact the company’s drilling schedule until planned activity can be resumed or the rig is replaced. The impact on fourth-quarter production of this rig’s absence combined with the pipeline service outage in Webb County cannot be fully determined at this time,” Swift Energy said, noting it expects to have further information on the third-party related constraints when its reports its next quarterly results on Nov. 3.

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