Pub. 3 2021-2022 Issue 1


President’s Message Rikki Hrenko-Browning

I am emboldened by the goals of ensuring reliable and affordable energy for all while also being good stewards. And I am optimistic that our industry will rise to deliver on the challenges ahead.

The development and production of energy have always been politicized, I suppose. I’m a believer that energy is and always has been the essential foundation to our evolution, its role as critical as that of food and shelter. However, the hows, whys and wheres of energy development are worthwhile points of discussion, and the nuances of those conversations matter, especially to those most directly impacted by the decisions made.

The current debate about energy development is also about that. Sort of. But instead of a scalpel, the tool of choice feels more like a sledgehammer. Conversations about energy policy at the federal level seem to focus on a wholesale, fundamental shift in how we generate energy on a societal scale, yet look only within our borders. We can disagree about where we’re going and the best path that will ultimately lead us there, but any belief that asserts we can transform our energy mix overnight or that we can silo ourselves off from free markets and globalization is foolhardy. And frustratingly, there’s something conspicuous by its notable absence in this debate: the real, actual impacts on everyday citizens.

No matter your political ideology, we should acknowledge that we all need reliable energy, and we need it at a reasonable price. We also need to be good stewards of the environment we are borrowing from our children. Neither statement feels like a radical thing to assert, yet in the current climate, such assertions feel divorced from the posture we frequently hear because the realities of our current way of life are either overlooked or outright ignored. These two statements are also not mutually exclusive; we can and do achieve both. The world demands electricity, and a large portion of the populace insists that an increasing amount of the world’s energy needs be electrified. Virtually everything we do requires electricity, from the rote task of charging our smartphones to the fundamental need to heat our homes to the modern medical services and devices we take for granted and where the developing world is leaping. Where do we obtain the sources that generate the needed electricity? What are the very real impacts of those choices on everyday citizens?

Before you venture an answer to that, a look at what’s happening in Europe proves illuminating. A recent article in Bloomberg ( articulates the problem facing a hasty energy transition with the following ominous sentences:

“The shortages jolting natural gas and electricity markets from the U.K. to China are unfolding just as demand roars back from the pandemic. But the planet has faced volatile energy markets and supply squeezes for decades. What’s different now is that the richest economies are also undergoing one of the most ambitious overhauls of their power systems since the dawn of the electric age – with no easy way to store the energy generated from renewable sources.”

“The transition to cleaner energy is designed to make those systems more resilient, not less. But the actual switch will take decades, during which the world will still rely on fossil fuels even as major producers are now drastically shifting their output strategies.”

As the realities of an ambitious energy transition settle upon elected officials, I choose to be optimistic. Our actions must focus upon that which we can control. And in Utah, our industry is energized, pardon the pun. Looking forward, you’ll see an industry ready to meet the demand of a public emerging from a pandemic, environmental and efficiency innovations from our membership, and increased production across the board.

Utah’s natural gas and oil industry is one of problem solvers, of those who take action and of those who work tirelessly to ensure every Utahn has the power they need to heat their homes, cook their food, drive their vehicles, and live the lives they want to live. We are blessed with abundant natural resources, supportive elected officials, and some of the brightest and most innovative minds, constantly advancing how to safely, reliably, and affordably develop the energy we need.

I am proud of the work our members do. I am emboldened by the goals of ensuring reliable and affordable energy for all while also being good stewards. And I am optimistic that our industry will rise to deliver on the challenges ahead. Thank you for being a part of it. Enjoy the issue.