On June 16 the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy held a remote hearing entitled “Reviving our Economy: COVID-19’s Impact on the Energy Sector” examining widespread effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downtown on the energy sector throughout the U.S.
PESA Employment Research
PESA submitted comments to the subcommittee highlighting pandemic effects on the OFS workforce for the record. PESA research has found that employment in the oilfield services and equipment (OFS) sector has fallen by nearly 85,000 jobs due to pandemic-related demand destruction. Additionally, OFS employment is down more than 105,000 jobs from May 2019 and now stands at its lowest point since 2016.
With no realistic expectation of a quick recovery in global demand, PESA believes that job losses and bankruptcies in the OFS sector will continue to mount throughout the summer and into the fall. This holds significant negative economic and environmental consequences, as the OFS sector is where much lower-carbon energy innovation begins.
Tuesday’s committee hearing also included testimony by Ernest J. Moniz, President and Chief Executive Officer, Energy Futures Initiative; Gregory Wetstone, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Council on Renewable Energy; and Rich Powell, Executive Director, ClearPath.
Democratic and Republican committee members questioned witnesses about policies to include in future stimulus bills to boost the industry and stabilize demand. Testimony made clear that energy demand fell across the industry although renewables are expected to be the only energy source to grow in 2020. Previous efforts by Democrats for renewable tax credits, and Republicans to fund filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve failed.
Former Energy Secretary Moniz emphasized the need for “major investments now in the clean energy transition” as a path for the energy sector to create jobs. These new jobs are necessary to “climb out of the COVID-19-induced economic hole” and to fuel the economic growth needed to fund the additional, extraordinary actions likely needed by the federal government.
PESA worked with Rep. Pete Olson’s (TX-22) office to provide background for the hearing as Rep. Olson represents the headquarters of multiple member companies and has long been an advocate for the OFS sector. Responding to a question from Olson, Moniz said the “brain drain” from the U.S. energy industry was a threat to national security because it would hinder the sector’s ability to rebound.
“Building up CCS (carbon capture and storage) can create attractive jobs and national security will be served by building that domestic industry,” Moniz said.
PESA continues to elevate issues critical to the OFS industry via remote Government Affairs Townhalls, including an event this Friday, June 19, with Rep. Michael Burgess M.D. (TX-26), register at pesa.org/events.