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Oil Majors Attack The Democrat's Fracking Ban

Tsvetana Paraskova

Exxon and Chevron believe that a ban on fracking will only shift economic benefits out of the U.S. and possibly raise the price of oil, the two largest U.S. oil companies said in their first comments on the idea of Democratic presidential hopefuls to ban fracking and new leases for oil and gas development.

Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, two of the front-runners in the Democratic Party’s race for nomination in recent polls, have promised to ban fracking, on a collision course with the oil industry and even with some Democratic governors in some western oil states.

“On my first day as president, I will sign an executive order that puts a total moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases for drilling offshore and on public lands. And I will ban fracking—everywhere,” Warren tweeted in early September, while Sanders said less than a week later that “To avert the climate crisis, we must ban fracking.”

Last week, announcing their Q3 profits, the two biggest oil firms in America shared their views on those ideas.

Fracking has “really unlocked an economic -- huge economic benefit for the country, as well as for the companies involved,” James Johnson, Executive Vice President, Upstream at Chevron said on the company’s conference call.

“We would not like to see any kind of restrictions on hydraulic fracturing it's -- that's the context for our company,” Johnson said.

Exxon stressed on the global picture if fracking were banned.

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“I think any efforts to ban fracking or restrict supply will not remove demand for the resource. If anything, it will shift the economic benefit away from the US to another country and potentially impact the price of that commodity here and globally,” Neil Hansen, Vice President, Investor Relations & Secretary at Exxon, said on the Q3 call.

Earlier this year, both Exxon and Chevron announced increased targets for their Permian oil production. Chevron now sees its Permian unconventional net oil-equivalent production rising to 600,000 bpd by the end of 2020, and to 900,000 bpd by the end of 2023. Exxon revised up its Permian growth plans to produce more than 1 million oil-equivalent barrels per day by as early as 2024, which would be an increase of almost 80 percent.   

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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