Sunday, February 25, 2024

Oil and gas industry donations heavily fueling Trump for president – Autoblog

Donald Trump is the oil and gas industry’s clear top pick for the Republican presidential nomination, as energy donors flood his candidacy with nearly 10 times what they gave to his challenger Nikki Haley.

And forget President Joe Biden. Despite record oil production and profits during his tenure in the White House, industry donors gave very little — just $635,000 — to his re-election bid, compared to $7.37 million they gave to Trump, according to an OpenSecrets analysis.

Oil and gas are now one of the major industries funding Trump’s 2024 campaign and a key source of cash for his White House bid, as other major donors – notably in finance, private equity and venture capital – have chosen to support its latest backer. Haley, GOP rival.

The unwavering support of oil and gas producers was not predetermined. Last summer and fall, as Trump faced a crowded field of challengers, oil industry donors poured money into his rivals, including Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and others. But as the year progressed and Trump’s nomination seemed more likely, donors lined up behind the former president.

Continental Resources Inc. co-founder Harold Hamm made several donations to Haley and DeSantis last spring and summer after saying he did not believe Trump could win the 2024 election. In August, he had a change of heart and wrote a check to Trump’s campaign, followed by an additional $200,000 in November for Make America Great Again Inc., the super political action committee supporting the Republican front-runner.

Trump and his allied political action committees also received contributions from other major industry donors in late 2023, including Geosouthern Energy Corp.’s George Bishop. and Tim Dunn, an oil tycoon who runs Crownquest Operating LLC. Dunn sent a $5 million check to Trump’s super PAC in December.

Other donors who contributed to Trump’s fourth-quarter re-election effort were Kelcy Warren, president of Energy Transfer LP; Karen Herbst, longtime Texas land and minerals manager; and Kent Hance, a former member of the Texas Railroad Commission, the agency that regulates oil and gas in the state.

Haley has seen some interest from oil and gas donors, including Bryan Sheffield, the founder of Parsley Energy Inc.; his father, shale titan Scott Sheffield; and oil industry veteran Tucker Bridwell. She raised $807,000 from the energy sector. By contrast, she shined on Wall Street, where major donors, including Citadel’s Ken Griffin, investor Stan Druckenmiller and Elliott Investment Management’s Paul Singer, united behind her candidacy over Trump.

Biden-era energy boom

Biden has done more than any other U.S. president to combat climate change and promote renewable energy, making him an unlikely commander in chief to preside over a domestic oil and gas boom. Biden’s support for emissions-free energy — and policies targeting oil and gas pollution — has discouraged donors.

Still, U.S. oil and gas production and exports have surged under Biden’s leadership, with the country producing a record 13.3 million barrels of crude per day in November, up from about 11 million barrels per day in 2020 before taking office.

Oil and gas exports have also increased, with the country shipping nearly twice as much natural gas abroad last year compared to 2020, before Biden took office.

Oil industry executives say the surge comes despite Biden’s policies, not because of them. They point to measures encouraging the sale of electric vehicles, taxes on methane emissions and a restrictive plan to sell new drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico. Biden’s pause on allowing increased exports of liquefied natural gas has also cast doubt on proposed projects along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

All of these initiatives would likely be rewritten under a Republican president. Trump pledged to “drill, baby, drill” on his first day in office.

Despite this, Trump has been an unpredictable ally to the oil industry during his first term. His administration rolled back Obama-era regulations targeting industrial pollution and encouraging zero-emission competitors to fossil fuels — moves applauded by oil and gas enthusiasts. But Trump also pushed the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to increase production and blocked new offshore oil leasing near southeastern U.S. states in a bid to woo voters ahead of the 2020 election.

Trump’s fickle policy approach has sparked some distrust among oil and gas industry donors — a reason why some of them steered their dollars toward Haley and DeSantis earlier in the primary season. But if the recent flow of money is any indication of which policies will favor the industry, Trump has the advantage.

“Large energy donors may have qualms about Trump’s legal problems or his grandiloquent style,” said Dan Eberhart, CEO of Canary Drilling Services LLC. “But there’s not a lot of light between them when it comes to energy policy.”

Note: The content and images used in this article is rewritten and sourced from



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