By BEN DuBOSE
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- In tandem with other major industry and
consumer groups, the American Fuel and Petrochemical
are stepping up their efforts on several fronts to lobby for
Speaking at a press conference this week at the 39th annual
President Charlie T. Drevna cited several new initiatives and
strategies that his group is using to try and improve
conditions for the domestic and global petrochemical
"With the development in shale plays in oil and NGLs,
increased drilling activities across the US, proposals to
build several new crackers -- add all that up and the
possibilities for the industry are immense," Drevna said.
"Nothing is limited or boundless, but this is pretty doggone
It could lead to a significant global industry expansion
while serving as a major
contributor to creating economic stability in many parts of
the world, not just the US, he added. But we
cant afford to wait until geopolitical tensions rise,
as they have recently, to wake up and smell the coffee -- or
in this case, the ethane.
Drevna noted that challenges faced by the industry were
relevant to all citizens, thereby imploring potential voters
to support pro-energy policies and candidates.
Its about energy and national security, as well
as economic strength and development, he said.
Its about creating jobs. Its more than
global competitiveness we can be a global leader in
all of those things.
Melissa Hockstad, AFPM's new vice president of petrochemicals
, spoke alongside
Drevna at the press conference and addressed specific
initiatives that AFPM is undertaking.
On that front, a leading issue is the new American Shale
& Manufacturing Partnership, which comprises 14 charter
member associations from various industries, universities and
AFPM is one of the charter members, along with other groups
such as the US Chamber of Commerces Institute for 21st
Century Energy, the National Association of Manufacturers,
the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Associates (SOCMA),
the International Association of Bridge, Structural,
Ornamental & Reinforcing Iron Workers, and Carnegie
Mellon Universitys College of Engineering.
What weve done is bring together a range of
stakeholders to try and make sure the right policies are made
in regards to shale development, said Hockstad,
attending her first IPC on behalf of AFPM.
We found we needed to broaden the organizations
participating in our efforts, she added. This
partnership represents a broader value chain from upstream to
downstream, the supply chain, academics and more.
The five primary tracks the group is working on include
federal and state policies, the creation of infrastructure,
workforce development, research and innovation, and environment
Its been great, Hockstad said. The
bottom line is that companies have a need for certainty and
predictability from a regulatory standpoint.
The partnership is aiming to have a policy
playbook released in the
As far as domestic regulations, Drevna was sharply critical
of the energy policy
of US President Barack
Obama. He accused the president of waging war on the
molecule alongside an
energy strategy that continues to focus on things that
simply dont make sense in 2014, either economically or
Lets stop frittering around and playing
politics, said Drevna. Thats my plea to the
administration. Accept the bounty of natural resources we
have here due to advances in shale development, accept fact
that fossil fuels will drive economy, and lets work
together to create that opportunity.
To accomplish that, AFPM is looking for support from
consumers and potential voters, led by broader initiatives
such as the new partnership.
What we hope is to change the mindset, said
Drevna. Its not just about policy
makers, but everyone here in
the US. We want them to understand the role of manufacturing
and what it should play in our future.
Before we had shale revolution, it was Make it
there, sell it here. Lets transform that to
Make it here, sell it there.
Drevna also cited several AFPM-specific changes as helping
that process, such as rebranding the trade group two years
ago as AFPM along with a new messaging campaign.
Its a long process, but I think were making
progress, he said. People on Capitol Hill, what
they tell us theyre hearing in their home districts,
people are starting to understand what the shale revolution
and renaissance could mean to their locales and how important
it is as the first step in the supply chain.
The AFPM president added that he and other AFPM members
intend to work in tandem with other groups such as academia
and unions make a concerted effort to attend town hall
meetings and other small gatherings around the US to try and
push forward their pro-industry message.
I dont think the general public always
understands the important role that petrochemicals
play in their
day-to-day life, said Hockstad.
But from what Drevna has seen, that mindset is starting to
The axiom is that the electorate votes their
pocketbook, he said. When they understand what
this potential means to their pocketbook all the way
from a steady job to everything on the supply chain, they
will start to take notice.
And, truthfully, I think they already have been taking