In the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump is emerging as the clear favorite among donors from the oil and gas sector, overshadowing his rival Nikki Haley by nearly tenfold in contributions.
Trump Dominates Oil and Gas Donor Support
As the energy sector pours its financial support into Trump’s candidacy, President Joe Biden finds himself left out in the cold, receiving a mere fraction of the donations compared to Trump. Despite presiding over a period of record oil production and profits, Biden’s reelection bid has garnered only $635,000 from industry donors, while Trump has amassed a staggering $7.37 million, according to analysis from OpenSecrets.
Shifting Support from Oil and Gas Industry
Oil and gas companies have emerged as significant backers of Trump’s 2024 presidential bid, redirecting their support from other potential contenders like Haley, Ron DeSantis, and others. Initially, industry donors hedged their bets among various candidates, but as Trump solidified his position as the frontrunner, support coalesced around him.
Harold Hamm, co-founder of Continental Resources Inc., initially supported other candidates but eventually threw his weight behind Trump, symbolizing the broader trend among oil industry donors. Notable contributions flowed in from industry figures like George Bishop of Geosouthern Energy Corp. and Tim Dunn of Crownquest Operating LLC, signaling a unified effort to bolster Trump’s campaign.
Haley’s Energy Industry Support
While Haley has garnered some support from the oil and gas sector, particularly from figures like Bryan Sheffield and Scott Sheffield of Parsley Energy Inc., her fundraising efforts have gained more traction in Wall Street circles, where major finance donors have rallied behind her candidacy.
Biden’s Unlikely Energy Boom
Despite Biden’s initiatives to combat climate change and promote renewable energy, his administration has presided over a significant boom in domestic oil and gas production. The surge in production and exports, including a record 13.3 million barrels of crude per day in November, has occurred despite policies aimed at curbing emissions and promoting alternative energy sources.
Oil Industry Skepticism of Biden’s Policies
Industry leaders attribute the surge in production to factors beyond Biden’s policies, citing measures promoting electric vehicles, methane emission fees, and restrictions on new drilling rights as deterrents to industry growth. Biden’s stance on liquefied natural gas exports has also raised concerns among industry stakeholders, who view a Republican presidency as more favorable to their interests.
Trump’s Mixed Record and Industry Confidence
While Trump’s first term saw rollbacks of regulations targeting industry pollution, his approach to policy remained unpredictable, prompting some wariness among oil and gas donors. However, recent contributions suggest a growing confidence in Trump’s alignment with industry interests, particularly his promises to prioritize drilling and ease regulatory barriers.
“Despite reservations about Trump’s style and legal issues, the alignment between his energy policies and industry interests is clear,” remarked Dan Eberhart, CEO of Canary Drilling Services LLC.