By Houston Business Journal

Oil and gas industry groups and companies have wasted little time in panning President Barack Obamaâ¿¿s Jan. 25 State of the Union Address, expressing particular disappointment with his language on energy and regulatory policy.

In a statement issued almost immediately after the close of Obama⿿s speech to a joint session of Congress, Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, called the speech ⿿a missed opportunity.⿝

⿿The American people spoke loud and clear in the last election and directed the president and new Congress to focus on one main issue ⿿ job creation,⿝ Gerard said. ⿿It⿿s unfortunate that the administration seems poised to stifle what remains of one of America⿿s strongest job creating industries.⿝

Gerard added that the oil and gas industry invests more money in low-carbon and zero-carbon technologies than the government, and that the industryâ¿¿s tax rates are â¿¿at effective rates far higher than most industries.

⿿We need policies that help the 9.2 million hardworking men and women in the industry, not hurt them,⿝ he said.

In a brief but candid analysis of the speech sent to its clients, Houston-based Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. LLC said it was ⿿not expecting any meaningful energy policy,⿝ but said natural gas and renewables came off well in the speech, whereas coal, gasoline demand and E&P profits were the potential losers.

The company said it liked Obama⿿s nod to lowering the corporate income tax, but called such talk ⿿a pipe dream.⿝

⿿Washington starting to differentiate between oil and natural gas,⿝ the note said. ⿿When Obama talked clean energy in State of Union, he (briefly) mentioned natural gas in that category. Several years ago, it was all dirty, ugly. Good news on margin for demand/support.⿝

In a statement released Wednesday by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, IPAA chairman Bruce Vincent, who is also the president of Houston-based Swift Energy Co. (NYSE: SFY), said there was a ⿿fundamental disconnect⿝ in Obama⿿s touting of natural gas at the expense of oil.

Vincent expressed sadness that Obama ⿿renewed his misguided call to levy massive amounts of job-crushing tax increases on the backs of independent energy producers, who are overwhelmingly small business owners.⿝

Still, there was positive reaction from the power sector, notably David Crane, NRG Energyâ¿¿s CEO.

⿿Last night, President Obama delivered an ambitious and pragmatic clean energy vision for a bipartisan plan to produce 80 percent of our electricity from clean energy sources by 2035,⿝ said Crane in a statement. ⿿Such a clean energy standard is absolutely essential to create a healthy environment for our children and spur a new generation of nuclear power plants, renewable energy and other clean energy resources. With a plan to support the construction of the most competitive renewable power and the re-powering of old coal plants with natural gas today, and then new nuclear and clean coal plants when they are ready to be built tomorrow, we can ensure the diversity of fuel supply that is the fundamental strength of our nation⿿s electricity system.⿝

Copyright 2011 American City Business Journals

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