Trump Travel Ban Comes Just as World Oil Execs Meet in Texas

  • CERAWeek organizer says travel ban hasn’t affected attendance
  • Says Trump’s deregulation push is positive for energy industry

As President Donald Trump was signing his latest travel ban, restricting people from six predominately Muslim countries from entering the U.S., oil and natural gas executives from around the world were gathering in Houston for one of the industry’s biggest events of the year.

The ban, which restricts entry by people from countries including oil-rich Iran and Libya, hasn’t affected attendance at the CERAWeek conference that draws leaders of major energy companies to Texas annually, said Jerre Stead, chairman and chief executive officer of IHS Markit Ltd, which organizes the gathering. Trump’s latest directive removed Iraq from an initial list of seven countries whose citizens can’t travel to the U.S. for the next 90 days.

“The impact would be zero with the travel ban” for oil and gas companies, Stead said in an interview at CERAWeek on Monday, the first day of the conference. “We’ve got everyone here including the minister of Iraq. We got them all in and everything worked fine.”

IHS Markit estimated that 3,000 delegates from more than 60 countries were attending CERAWeek.

While Trump is limiting travel from some countries key to oil and gas markets, he’s also promised to roll back energy regulations. That would be positive for the industry, provided the pledge doesn’t go too far, Stead said. Trump is expected to target the Clean Power Plan, a set of Obama-era rules that aim to cut greenhouse-gas emissions from electricity generation. Last week, he signed an order to rescind and rewrite federal water regulations.

Reducing Regulation

“The number of regulations that were added in the last eight years is staggering,” Stead said. “I’m hopeful that Congress cleans up the regulations that were put in place that are not helpful,” while leaving in place rules that serve a purpose.

Stead also sees the potential introduction of a tax on carbon-dioxide emissions as positive for the industry.

“For the first time there’s a very serious discussion about carbon tax,” said Stead, who will retire at the end of the year after joining IHS as executive chairman in 2000.

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