Officials Offer Downstream Predictions for 2017

Officials Offer Downstream Predictions for 2017
Well-placed officials on both sides of the Atlantic share their expectations for the downstream in 2017.

The calendar has officially flipped from December 2016 to January 2017, and the occasion marks an opportune time to envision the possibilities for the new year. In regard to the 2017 downstream oil and gas landscape, the changing political winds in Washington, D.C., could have far-reaching effects on both sides of the Atlantic, some well-placed industry officials in North America and Europe told DownstreamToday. Moreover, the new year offers an opportunity to redouble efforts to enhance downstream workforce development and plan for industry growth in the context of infrastructure and protection against natural disasters, a U.S. Gulf Coast official said.

For more details, read on for some downstream industry predictions for 2017 from said officials.

We continue to seek repeal or significant reform of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The RFS is a broken mandate that is outdated and does not reflect the energy realities of today or our energy outlook for the future. Furthermore, the RFS adds potential costs and seeks to force even higher ethanol blends that possibly threaten the integrity of the fuel systems and engines of many of the cars on the road today. In the interest our nation’s energy security and economic growth we need to protect the American consumer and repeal or significantly reform the RFS.

Frank Macchiarola, Group Director of Downstream and Industry Operations, American Petroleum Institute (API), Washington, D.C.

The expanding needs of the petrochemical industry will strengthen the call for effective workforce development – the industry will need up to 12,000 craft workers in place by January 2019. Industry leaders and associations will be partnering with local educational institutions to ensure these skilled workers have the tools they need to succeed in this critical industry, continuing to develop the appropriate technical training and readily available resources. As the industry grows, so will the need for high-quality infrastructure to accommodate the expansion. The industry will join partners in calling for enhancements to roads, bridges and more to accommodate this growth. Finally, with industry and infrastructure growth comes the need for proactive protection for the industry and community, which is why progression of the storm barrier protection plan should be at the forefront of conversation in 2017. 

Craig Beskid, Executive Director, East Harris County Manufacturers Association (EHCMA), Pasadena, Texas

At this point in time we do not see revolutionary changes in overall business environment from 2016 to 2017. A lot will depend on how the oil price is evolving and how the new U.S. President, Mr. Trump, will shape the regulatory environment in the United States.

Dorothee Arns, Executive Director, Petrochemicals Europe, European Council of the Chemical Industry (Cefic), Brussels, Belgium

The regulatory and legislative outlook for the downstream industry includes lots to be excited about and some apprehension. The 2016 election greatly increased the possibility of sensible relief from the absurd 2015 ozone standard as well as preemptive relief from what would have been a debilitating greenhouse gas standard. Conversely, the prospect of border adjustments could yield profound impacts on the downstream AND upstream sectors. RFS reform chances are higher than ever, but still about as easy as alchemy.

Christopher Guith, Senior Vice President of Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy, Washington, D.C.