U.S. energy renaissance is here to stay, says ConocoPhillips CEO

Billings-Gazette-Logo-300x78Billings Gazette | April 1, 2016 | Tom Howard

The same kind of innovative spirit that helped the United States regain the title of the world’s leader in oil and gas production will also help the industry weather current market downturns, says the chairman and chief executive officer of ConocoPhillips.

Over the past decade, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have unleashed a flood of new oil and gas production in the United States. Despite a year-long decline in prices, “The U.S. energy renaissance is here to stay,” said Ryan M. Lance, a Montana native.

Lance said Thursday that he has witnessed six downturns in the oil and gas industry since graduating from Montana Tech in 1984. “I’m waiting for the sixth upturn, and I guarantee you it will come,” he said, delivering a keynote address during the third day of Montana Energy 2016.

Lance did not gloss over the trying times that are plaguing his industry. Low prices for oil and gas have cut energy companies’ revenues by 70 percent. ConocoPhillips and other producers have drastically curbed their investments in the wake of an oversupply of oil and gas.

“It’s pretty easy to operate when oil is $100 a barrel, and it’s a lot harder when it’s $30,” Lance said.

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