Murkowski: Energy Industry Has Faced Significant Impacts, Is Critical to Economic Recovery

U.S. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today chaired a hearing to examine the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S. energy industry. Murkowski also emphasized that the industry can play a key role in the nation’s economic recovery.

“The decline in demand can be found just about everywhere. Less flying means less jet fuel. Less driving means less gasoline and diesel. Less commercial activity means less electricity. Less consumption means less production. Less investment today means less development tomorrow,” Murkowski said. “For a producing state like Alaska, ‘less production’ and ‘less investment’ and ‘less development’ are ominous signs on the horizon. That is why I hope, truly, that demand has been paused rather than destroyed.”

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. oil production has declined from more than 13 million barrels per day toward 11 million barrels per day near the start of June. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) spot prices have collapsed, creating challenges for domestic LNG exports. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that domestic electricity consumption will decline by 5.7 percent in 2020, largely due to the closure of businesses and “shelter in place” orders. The renewable and efficiency sectors have faced substantial supply chain interruptions and the loss of more than 600,000 clean energy jobs. Overall, the energy industry has lost an estimated 1.3 million jobs since early March.

Stephen Nalley of the EIA, David Turk of the International Energy Agency, Frank Macchiarola of the American Petroleum Institute, Lisa Jacobson of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE), and Jackie Roberts of the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates all testified at the hearing.

Speaking in support of the American Energy Innovation Act offered by Murkowski and Ranking Member Joe Manchin earlier this year, Jacobson testified that “BCSE members urge action on the American Energy Innovation Act this year as a foundational set of policies with strong bipartisan support that will spur investment and create jobs.”

Murkowski is Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. An archived video of today’s hearing can be found on the committee’s website. Click here and here to view Murkowski’s questions for the witnesses.

Related Issues: Energy