NEW ORLEANS — U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette is hopeful the re-opening of states across the country will give the oil and gas industry a much-needed boost, as gasoline usage dropped to its lowest level in decades during the coronavirus shutdown.
Brouillette said in an exclusive interview with WWL-TV Anchor and Investigative Reporter Katie Moore that he thinks the oil and gas economy will rebound rapidly.
"Our own energy information administration, EIA, as we call it in the Department of Energy, shows a very strong third and fourth quarters of 2020. So, that's only a few short weeks away. That process is going to begin very, very quickly," Brouillette said.
The EIA found petroleum consumption dropped to its lowest level in decades in March.
A recent study by an oil industry group found the oil industry employs nearly 45,000 people in Louisiana, a significant part of the state's economy.
Louisiana also houses two of the four strategic oil reserves in the United States. As the price of oil dropped, President Donald Trump instructed Energy to "fill them up".
Brouillette said DOE is continuing to do that.
"We've now contracted to store an additional 23 million barrels in Louisiana. We have room for another 41 million plus barrels of oil and we're gonna continue filling it up to the very top," he said.