Some 81 percent of middle market energy executives describe 2013 as profitable, and their expectations for 2014 are nearly identical, with 82 percent anticipating continued profitability, according to research by CIT Group and Forbes Insights.
The three-to-five-year energy sector outlook is even more positive, with 91 percent of surveyed executives anticipating they will be profitable (53 percent) or very profitable (38 percent), and 23 percent describing their outlook as haveing above average investment and growth, according to 2014 US Energy Outlook.
Despite the perceived profitability, 67 percent of those surveyed think that current energy policies are hampering US energy development. Nearly half of respondents believe US energy independence remains a distinct possibility in the foreseeable future, the report says. Key factors include expanded natural gas production (cited by 74 percent of respondents), significant new domestic energy discoveries (60 percent) and approvals of infrastructure projects (e.g., the Keystone XL Pipeline – 57 percent).
Forty-eight percent of middle market energy executives believe fracking is safe. Only 10 percent say it’s potentially very dangerous. Some 56 percent believe more needs to be done to address known environmental concerns about fracking. Some 36 percent of executives say government restrictions on traditional energy sources subsidize green energy.
The market appears to think that policy makers are playing favorites in the energy market. Some 54 percent say current policies are “pro” natural gas development. Regarding oil, only 23 percent say current policies are “pro,” while 56 percent describe policies as “con.” Some 79 percent say government policies regarding coal are “con.” Policies for green energy sources are regarded as “pro” by 80 percent of executives, according to the report.