The Texas energy sector is making it clear where they stand in this year's election. According to a new survey by the University of Houston of Texas Oil and Gas Association members, more than three in four (76%) believe a Biden presidency would threaten their economic well-being. "We asked what are the threats to growth next year," says Pablo Pinto, political science professor at the UH Hobby School of Public Affairs. "And they expressed that it would probably be Joe Biden winning."
The results are not necessarily surprising, since Biden is on record vowing to ban new fracking for oil if elected. Pinto believes the oil and gas industry is sending a message. "(Companies) are also trying to mark the field for the candidates to take positions that will be more favorable to them, as (the candidates) jockey for getting votes in the upcoming election," he says.
The survey also revealed how hard the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the energy industry. "All these companies that we surveyed have implemented programs to reduce costs," says Pinto. "That includes hiring freezes, cutting executive pay, cutting overtime, laying off contractors, reducing salaries, and so on."
While the industry sent a strong message about what it wants in Washington D.C., the survey also revealed what it wants from state government. "The main request (energy companies) have for the state of Texas is property tax relief," says Pinto. "That's a big demand, with 87 percent of respondents saying that."
The survey also revealed some optimism, with 70 percent saying the global economy will improve over the next 12 months, and a strong majority predicting crude oil prices will rebound by next year.