EnCap Investments To World: We Are In Big Trouble

When a man that’s made his living on oil and gas tells you we need to use less oil and gas, I’ll drop everything to listen. That’s essentially the message I got from Gary R. Peterson of oil and gas PE firm EnCap Investments.

“This isn’t the party line you’ll get from most oil guys,” he said, noting that nearly all oil and gas business people are Republican (including Peterson, based on campaign contributions). “But I think we’re in trouble around the globe if we don’t get alternative forms of energy sooner rather than later.”

He went so far as to say that off-shore drilling will merely be a band-aid to an overall depletion of energy sources. “We are in very serious trouble if we don’t get alternative sources of energy soon, and I mean everything from nuclear to wind to solar to shale,” he repeated.

Wow. The comments, made during a panel titled “Black Gold” at the Private Equity Analyst conference in New York, set off alarm bells in my head. Hearing a businessperson argue against his own livelihood on a much-debated topic such as energy lends great credibility to cleantech and green investing. Beyond that, it makes the RNC “Drill, baby, drill” chants seem very foolish. To be fair, both of our candidates support opening up off-shore drilling; Obama’s support for the efforts is part of a comprehensive energy development plan. But regardless of party, do we want to spend all our energy arguing over a band-aid?

EnCap, by the way, is raising its 14th fund, the panel’s moderator mentioned. EnCap does not plan to diversify outside of its oil and gas investments, Peterson said.