A Change at the Helm of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee? What That Could Mean for the Oil and Gas Industry

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Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is likely to become the chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (the “Committee”) in early 2014, replacing current panel chairman Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).  Many consider Landrieu’s assent to chair as a positive outcome for the oil and gas industry.  For example, Landrieu supports the development of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports in Louisiana, which will result in higher gains for gas producers if more gas is exported. She also supports expanded sales of LNG overseas, whereas Wyden has advocated for the limitation of exports to keep consumer prices down. 

Landrieu also put pressure on the Obama Administration to end the moratorium on oil and gas drilling in the gulf more quickly after a BP PLC oil rig explosion in the gulf in August 2010.

However, Landrieu’s seat is considered vulnerable for re-election in 2014 to her likely Republican opponent, U.S. Representative Bill Cassidy (R-LA).  Analysts have suggested that her assent to chair of the Committee could help her in re-election efforts - so far, the industry has donated $393,500 to Landrieu’s campaign, compared to only $144,250 for her Republican opponent.