Only a few months into his presidency, Donald Trump had delivered on a number of promises to the oil and natural gas industry, such as reviving the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines while trying to rewrite a number of environmental regulations.
The entire time, Big Oil cheered the administration on.
But more privately, many of those same multinational energy companies were worried about Trump keeping another one of his campaign promises: to rip up the North American Free Trade Agreement, the trilateral trade pact that underpins the work of oil majors across the continent.
“There was genuine concern,” said Joshua Zive, an energy lobbyist at the law and lobbying firm Bracewell.
Now, with a new agreement hammered out between the United States, Mexico and Canada, the sector is finally breathing a sigh of relief.
Count the oil and gas industry among the winners of the new NAFTA — or as Trump is rebranding it, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. The oil business convinced the White House to keep a number of features of the old NAFTA deal in the new agreement, including provisions that help protect U.S. oil companies' investments abroad and allowed for tax-free transport of raw and refined products across borders.
“We're mostly happy that it's been preserved, that many of the provisions in the original NAFTA that had supported the integrated North American energy markets are still in place,” said Aaron Padilla, senior adviser for international policy at the American Petroleum Institute, the nation's biggest oil and gas lobbying group.