BOSTON — The biggest oil boom of the last half-century has produced one of the most divisive presidential debates in modern history.
Barely half a decade ago, U.s. oil producers were poised to be the world’s biggest, pumping an estimated 15.6 billion barrels a day of crude.
But the bust has cost them $1.8 trillion and their share of global supply has dropped to just 3 percent.
Now, after more than a decade of recession and a $6.7 trillion bailout, it’s time to get the industry back on track.
A group of influential energy executives and industry experts on Thursday unveiled a plan to restore U. of T.’s fortunes, even if it requires a massive investment in infrastructure.
Their proposal calls for a $3.6 trillion infrastructure package to help make oil-dependent communities thrive and boost productivity in oil-producing states such as Texas, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
The plan is being crafted by the Energy Innovation Group, a group of energy executives who are part of the Energy Institute, a trade group representing more than 400 companies.
The group’s members include oil executives from the U., Canadian and European markets.
They will meet with the White House, Congress and state governments to hammer out the details.
The proposal is not yet finalized, but it is expected to include a commitment to a long-term oil supply strategy that would include investment in pipelines, roads, storage facilities and other infrastructure to keep oil flowing and to improve the nation’s ability to withstand future shocks.
The group’s vision is that U.ofT will return to its old self as a powerhouse in the oil industry in the future.
“We’re going to start producing oil again,” said Brian Young, the group’s vice president of research and policy.
“It’s just a matter of time.”
The Energy Institute’s president, Mark Schoofs, is a former chairman of BP Plc, a major U. S. oil company.
He also served as chairman of the U of T Energy Innovation group and is now an adjunct professor at the University of Houston.
“It’s an incredible time to be a U.
T graduate,” Schoof said in a phone interview.
“The university is so big that it could handle the entire country.
We’re trying to rebuild the university.”
Schoofs said he is confident the group will make a decision soon on whether to support a $1 billion loan to help cover some of the cost of rebuilding U. Texas.
That loan, he said, is designed to help U.t. become an oil hub and could provide a lifeline to oil companies that have seen their fortunes take a hit.
“The way the oil boom was created is that a lot of companies were going out and creating a lot more oil than they needed to produce,” Schofs said.
“They needed to find a way to diversify their oil business.
It’s not a perfect business model.
It requires investment in capital and the infrastructure that goes with it.”
Oil companies say the infrastructure plan is a long way from a complete rebuilding plan.
The Energy Institute says it is developing a roadmap to get to a point where it can start taking loans, but its members are also looking to help the UoT economy rebuild.
“We’re not asking for a billion dollars,” Schoons said, adding that the UofT group is asking for money that could help boost U. Texan wages and businesses.
“There’s no question that the infrastructure needs to be there to get us to a more productive economy.
The question is how much do we have to invest to get there?”
The group also is seeking a $2 billion loan for a new refinery and pipeline network that would link the region with Texas and the Gulf Coast. “
I don’t want to be in a position where we’ve got this enormous debt that we have a long ways to go to be able to get out of it.”
The group also is seeking a $2 billion loan for a new refinery and pipeline network that would link the region with Texas and the Gulf Coast.
It also is asking Congress to extend the current $8.4 billion loan through 2021, while also making a $300 million commitment to an energy-efficiency fund.
“You have to be very, very optimistic about what this project can do for the UTexas economy,” Schoofs said.