Salazar: OCS, oil shale should be part of bigger energy plan

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 16 -- Leasing of more of the US Outer Continental Shelf and development of oil shale should be considered only as part of a larger national energy strategy, US Interior secretary nominee Ken Salazar said on Jan. 15.

Salazar, who is currently Colorado's senior US senator, told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee during his confirmation hearing that President-elect Barack H. Obama has made development of a new energy economy a top priority of his administration.

"We need to look at the OCS as an element within a comprehensive energy strategy. Given the opening up of a 5-year plan with DOI, it's up to you and me to determine how we move forward on developing the OCS. There are places there where it is appropriate for drilling. There may be other places where it should be off-limits," Salazar said.

"The important thing is to move forward thoughtfully and make sure development occurs in a thoughtful way with attention to the affected communities," he maintained.

"With respect to oil shale, I believe we need to look at it as part of a comprehensive energy plan but should not be reckless in how we move forward…. We shouldn't move forward too quickly until we answer all the questions surrounding its potential development. That's why the [research and development] initiatives that have been developed already are so important. They can provide answers to these very important questions," Salazar continued.

Restore integrity
Salazar also pledged to restore DOI's integrity, starting with the US Minerals Management Service's royalties management program. "The issue obviously needs a review. I plan to look at recommendations and bills which have been proposed and hope to move forward to address the issue in the coming month, including developing a statutory, comprehensive approach to royalties management," he said.

"If confirmed, my first priority will be to lead [DOI] with openness in decision-making, high ethical standards, and respect for scientific integrity. I will work to ensure that the department's decisions are based on sound science and the public interest, and not on the special interests. I want the public to be proud of the department's work and I want those who work for the department to be proud of their service," Salazar said.

He said he would remain committed to reducing US dependence on foreign oil. Obama shares his belief that excessive US dependence on imported oil is "a grave threat to our national security, our planet, and our economy," he indicated.

"We need to develop our resources, but we need to develop them in a responsible and thoughtful way. We can develop oil and gas resources, but we also need to make sure we take care of the habitat our hunters and fishermen value," Salazar maintained.

He said there are opportunities, as US oil and gas resources are developed, to continue supporting the Land and Water Conservation Fund as well as to address economic problems. "As we deal with royalty reform, particularly with the MMS, we can work to make sure the money doesn't disappear into the dark hole of the Treasury but is used for land and water restoration and to help local communities which are affected by energy development," he said.

Regulatory delays
Committee members raised specific questions about overlapping regulation which leads to delays. Ranking Minority Member Lisa Murkowski (D-Alas.) said, "The number of differing agencies which must move the permits through creates a level of complexity and a process that can take years to go through…. The way that we have our system set up is not conducive to an efficient process."

Salazar replied, "In all areas where there's a process in place, if we can find better ways to do it, we should. While the 2005 Energy Policy Act set up new processes [for oil and gas permits], we need to set up similar processes for electricity transmission siting."

Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND) noted that on an Indian reservation in his home state, he has been trying to get DOI and the Bureau of Indian Affairs "to create a one-stop shop so that oil wells can be drilled there the way they're being drilled on private land around the reservation." Dorgan added, "As it is, there are no less than 49 different processes involved. That needs to be addressed." Salazar responded that it would make sense to not place the reservation at a disadvantage if the process has been expedited around it.

Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) said he thought it was terrific that Salazar recognizes the importance of the Interior secretary's being a major participant as the Obama administration formulates its energy, environment, and global climate change policies.

Committee member John Barasso (R-Wyo.) asked the nominee if he believes that the Endangered Species Act should be used to address global climate change impacts. "There is no doubt that global warming and climate change is having a major impact on activities and lives around the world, including the species we want to protect. We will move forward carefully in considering this but currently have no plans," Salazar said.

When Bob Menendez (D-NJ) asked Salazar how he sees his role in relationship to former US Environmental Protection Administration chief Carol M. Browner, who Obama has designated coordinator of his administration's energy, environment, and global warming policy, Salazar replied, "In my conversation and agreement with the president-elect, I report to him. That means that I will play a keystone role in helping to craft the energy moon shot we will take in part through the economic stimulus package that is being crafted and in the energy legislation that will come before this Congress."

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

EPA approves Magellan’s Corpus Christi splitter project

12/12/2014 The US Environmental Protection Agency has issued a final greenhouse gas prevention of significant deterioration construction permit to Magellan Pr...

US needs more data before ending crude export ban, House panel told

12/11/2014 Much more environmental impact information is needed before the US can reasonably remove crude oil export limits, a witness told a House Energy and...

BOEM raises offshore oil spill liability limit to $134 million

12/11/2014 The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management increased the liability limit for oil-spill related damages from offshore operations to $134 million from ...

Rosneft, Essar sign terms of oil supply agreement

12/11/2014 OAO Rosneft and Essar Energy PLC have signed key terms of an oil supply agreement in New Delhi. Rosneft said shipments to India may begin in 2015.

Barton introduces bill to remove US crude export limits

12/11/2014

US Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) introduced legislation that would remove US crude oil export limits that have been in place for nearly 40 years.

North Dakota producers face new vapor pressure standards

12/10/2014 North Dakota has approved new rail transportation safety standards for crude oil that stipulate operating standards for oil-conditioning equipment ...

Chevron, ONGC among companies awarded 15 exploration permits by New Zealand

12/09/2014 New Zealand’s government has awarded six onshore permits across the Taranaki, West Coast, and East Coast basins, and nine offshore permits across t...

Small subset of wells accounts for most methane emissions, researchers say

12/09/2014 A small subset of natural gas wells are responsible for most methane emissions from US natural gas production, said a study from the University of ...

Methane controls just part of complete climate strategy, speakers say

12/08/2014 Reducing oil and gas operations’ methane emissions is an essential, but far from the only, part of a comprehensive climate strategy, speakers at a ...

White Papers

AVEVA NET Accesses and Manages the Digital Asset

Global demand for new process plants, power plants and infrastructure is increasing steadily with the ...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Approach for the Digital Asset

To meet the requirements for leaner project execution and more efficient operations while transferring...
Sponsored by

Diversification - the technology aspects

In tough times, businesses seek to diversify into adjacent markets or to apply their skills and resour...
Sponsored by

Engineering & Design for Lean Construction

Modern marketing rhetoric claims that, in order to cut out expensive costs and reduce risks during the...
Sponsored by

Object Lessons - Why control of engineering design at the object level is essential for efficient project execution

Whatever the task, there is usually only one way to do it right and many more to do it wrong. In the c...
Sponsored by

Plant Design for Lean Construction - at your fingertips

One area which can provide improvements to the adoption of Lean principles is the application of mobil...
Sponsored by

How to Keep Your Mud System Vibrator Hose from Getting Hammered to Death

To prevent the vibrating hoses on your oilfield mud circulation systems from failing, you must examine...
Sponsored by

Duty of Care

Good corporate social responsibility means implementing effective workplace health and safety measures...
Sponsored by

Available Webcasts


On Demand

Optimizing your asset management practices to mitigate the effects of a down market

Thu, Dec 11, 2014

The oil and gas market is in constant flux, and as the price of BOE (Barrel of Oil Equivalent) goes down it is increasingly important to optimize your asset management strategy to stay afloat.  Attend this webinar to learn how developing a solid asset management plan can help your company mitigate costs in any market.

register:WEBCAST


Parylene Conformal Coatings for the Oil & Gas Industry

Thu, Nov 20, 2014

In this concise 30-minute webinar, participants have an opportunity to learn more about how Parylene coatings are applied, their features, and the value they add to devices and components.

register:WEBCAST


Utilizing Predictive Analytics to Optimize Productivity in Oil & Gas Operations

Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Join IBM on Tuesday, November 18 @ 1pm CST to explore how Predictive Analytics can help your organization maximize productivity, operational performance & associated processes to drive enterprise wide productivity and profitability.

register:WEBCAST


US HYDROCARBON EXPORTS Part 3 — LNG

Fri, Nov 14, 2014

US LNG Exports, the third in a trilogy of webcasts focusing on the broad topic of US Hydrocarbon Exports.

A discussion of the problems and potential for the export of US-produced liquefied natural gas.

These and other topics will be discussed, with the latest thoughts on U.S. LNG export policy.

register:WEBCAST


Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected