Oil and gas groups applaud Bush's latest OCS order

Oil and gas trade associations and other business groups applauded US President George W. Bush's July 14 cancellation of an executive order banning oil and gas leasing on 85% of the Outer Continental Shelf.

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, July 15 -- Oil and gas trade associations and other business groups applauded US President George W. Bush's July 14 cancellation of an executive order banning oil and gas leasing on 85% of the Outer Continental Shelf.

"It is now up to Congress to lift the moratoriums," said the American Petroleum Institute in a statement. "Doing so could boost US supplies of oil and natural gas, increase the nation's energy security, add additional, well-paying American jobs, and bring billions of dollars into the Treasury. We encourage Congress to pass a common-sense and effective long-term energy policy."

Independent Petroleum Association of America Pres. Barry Russell commented, "Congress can no longer look the other way on this issue. If we don't take the necessary steps today, America will be in a worse position tomorrow." Conceding that exploring in areas currently off-limits won't produce oil and gas in the near term, Russell urged adoption of a comprehensive long-term energy policy that would include conservation, efficiency, unconventional fuels, "and all forms of American energy, including additional oil and gas resources, for the future."

"While it is true that exploration in areas that are currently off limits will not produce oil and natural gas in the short term, America must endorse solutions today that will produce results tomorrow, Russell said.

R. Skip Horvath, president of the Natural Gas Supply Association, said, "This is a smart decision because natural gas from US shores will add to our security of supply. Natural gas is essential to maintaining a high standard of living. Americans have flooded Congress and the White House with their calls and letters on high energy prices, and recent polls indicate that more than 70% favor increased drilling. The people have spoken, the president has acted, and we hope the House and Senate are listening," Horvath said.

A strong signal
"While the president's move will not solve all of the nation's energy challenges, it sends a strong signal to Congress that it is time to end the annual congressional moratoriums," said Tom Fry, president of the National Ocean Industries Association. "We are the only nation in the world that consistently limits access to our own domestic resources, despite a long record of safe and environmentally responsible exploration and production of offshore oil and gas. In light of rapidly growing global demand for hydrocarbons, and the resulting negative impacts on the American economy and overall quality of life, the locking up of US energy resources makes absolutely no sense."

American Gas Association Pres. David N. Parker said, "Because natural gas helps reduce emissions, environmentally conscious Americans are demanding more and more of it to power their homes and offices. Removing the ban on offshore production would go a long way in meeting the American consumer's increasing demand for this clean-burning energy source, as well as our nation's long-term climate-change goals. We are pleased that President Bush understands both the economic and environmental benefits of expanding natural gas production, and we hope that Congress will follow his lead," Parker said.

American Chemistry Council Pres. Jack N. Gerard commented, "Clearly, the ground is shifting on energy policy. As the crisis has grown, as it has become clear to Americans that the United States is jeopardizing our own economy and our ability to compete globally by not moving forward with expanded domestic energy development, and as poll after poll have shown that more than two thirds of Americans support it, we've seen growing interest in this issue among lawmakers of both parties," Gerard said. "We strongly encourage the House and Senate to continue exploring comprehensive energy legislation that includes efficiency; diversity, including renewables and other lower-emission sources and technologies; and expanded domestic energy supply."

National Association of Manufacturers Executive Vice-Pres. Jay Timmons said, "This country is facing an energy crisis. It is imperative that every opportunity to reduce the cost of energy be taken. An appropriate place to start is by increasing our access to domestic resources." Citing estimates that the OCS contains more than 420 tcf of gas and 86 billion bbl of oil, Timmons said that providing access to these resources would send a signal to the rest of the world that the US is serious about reducing the energy price burden that confronts American consumers and manufacturers.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

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