An Open Letter to Steve Toon, Editor-In-Chief of Oil And Gas Investor Magazine

Influential Oil & Gas Industry Voices Should Elevate Those Who Champion the Industry and Its Benefits

Dear Mr. Toon,

As a petroleum engineer for nearly 40 years, I’m no stranger to those who believe our industry should fundamentally change or go away entirely. We’re inundated with the supposed “horrors” of oil and gas production, fracking, our inherent and ugly greed, and our inevitable and single-handed destruction of the planet. It’s a difficult pill to swallow, especially while working to provide for ourselves and our families.

Assuredly, our industry isn’t perfect, but its benefits are clear and wide-ranging. Consider how it provides low-cost energy to people around the world, the role it’s played in the decline of poverty rates over the last four decades, the fact that our lifespans are longer than ever, and that climate-related deaths are lower than they’ve ever been in history. 

With that said, it was disheartening to read your latest column, “A New Energy Era,” in the December 2020 edition of Oil & Gas Investor Magazine. There you argue the election of Joe Biden makes America the new leader of the worldwide transition to no carbon fuels. You even called oil and gas “industria non grata.” 

There is no doubt many folks agree with you, and I am not opposed to your opinion that
“hydrocarbon-producing companies need to create strategies and drive a narrative on how the world can continue to use their resources without putting excessive carbon atoms into the atmosphere.” 

However, your magazine may not be the best place for this discussion. Instead, I would
encourage you to promote well-respected academics and thinkers who tout credible positions about the benefits of the oil and gas industry. Consider books “Apocalypse Never” by Michael Shellenberger, “The Moral Case For Fossil Fuels” by Alex Epstein, or “False Alarm” by Bjorn Lomborg.

You can also look to Mark P. Mills, an author, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and McCormick School of Engineering Faculty Fellow at Northwest University, for thoughtful ideas about the impact of fossil fuels and what it would mean to achieve net zero carbon emissions.

Mills said, “Transforming the energy economy is not like putting a few people on the moon a few times. It is like putting all of humanity on the moon – permanently.”

These thinkers reject the premise that eliminating the fossil fuels industry is a noble cause; instead, they tout our industry’s often-downplayed or even ignored benefits, benefits that promote a better quality of life for billions of people around the world. An influential voice such as yours can do the same.

Kurt Mire P.E.
Principal Engineer
Mire Petroleum Consultants

Photo by Yury Kim from Pexels

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