Need for Energy Policy Called Urgent

Article excerpt

TULSA (AP) -- Oklahoma's independent oil producers say the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have heightened the need for a national energy policy.

The United States imports almost 60 percent of its crude oil from other counties, including Saudi Arabia and other nations in the Middle East, said Don Betz, a United Nations consultant and executive vice president of the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.

Nine of the 11 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which controls two-thirds of the world's known oil reserves, are primarily Muslim, the same faith as those who allegedly orchestrated the Sept. 11 attacks, Betz said.

"We're trusting our freedom and security to people who don't like us," said Mike Oxley, chief executive of Oxley Petroleum.

`'They hate us because we're in their face in their countries," said Mickey Thompson, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association. "There is only one reason we're there. Oil."

Oil industry observers say the attacks illustrate a need to promote domestic energy production through tax incentives and less regulation. Thompson said there are a million marginal oil and gas wells in the United States, a source of production that could substantially reduce the nation's reliance on imports.

"I believe that's how we fight terrorism in our industry," he said.

Corporation Commissioner Denise Bode said the United States accounts for 22 percent of the world's oil consumption and that the war on terrorism could further limit U. …