Any oil and gas companies that can increase supply should do so quickly due to the growing energy crisis following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said on Wednesday.
“In this moment of crisis we need more supply,” Granholm told attendees at the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston. “Right now we need oil and gas production to rise to meet current demand.”
Granholm said President Joe Biden’s administration wants to act as a partner with the energy industry, which has complained about the White House’s push to hasten the transition to a lower-carbon economy.
On Tuesday, Biden banned Russian oil imports, a move that received some praise from several shale executives at CERAWeek in Houston. The White House had already imposed a series of sanctions on Russia that were affecting its vast oil-and-gas industry since it invaded Ukraine.
Granholm acknowledged that it was hard to balance the need for more oil and gas with the importance of transitioning to renewable energy to fight global warming.
“We have to still reckon with the impact of climate change,” said Granholm, who previously was governor of Michigan. “We can walk and chew gum at the same time.”
In recent days, Granholm and other U.S. officials have been more vocal about addressing the supply concerns as the administration has come under fire for rising fuel prices.
“We have to responsibly increase short-term supply where we can now to stabilize the market,” Granholm said.
Granholm said she expects the clean energy economy will be worth $23 trillion by the end of the decade and that 70% of voting Americans support the transition to renewable energy.
The secretary mentioned geothermal lithium brine projects in California as one method that could help the United States produce enough of the white metal for EV batteries.
Like oil and gas companies, though, miners have also complained about permitting delays. Granholm vowed to streamline permitting, eliciting a large applause from the audience.
“We need to do a whole of government approach to collapse the bureaucracy associated with getting new kinds of” projects approved, Granholm said.