Official Stresses Importance of Education for National Policy

By Ray Carter The Journal Record | THE JOURNAL RECORD, June 26, 2001 | Go to article overview

Official Stresses Importance of Education for National Policy


Ray Carter The Journal Record, THE JOURNAL RECORD


U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham said Monday that recent energy price spikes have made Americans realize the need for increased domestic production, and said education is the crucial component now needed for a national energy policy to pass Congress.

"A lot of the resistance to the need for increased energy supply is based, in my judgment, on an out-of-date notion that views technology as if nothing's changed since the days of the gusher, that nothing has changed since the days of the huge oil derrick, that nothing has changed in technology in the last 50 years," Abraham said. "But that isn't the case."

Abraham made his comments at the site of Louis Dreyfus' "Pelican 1" natural gas drilling rig at the northern edge of Oklahoma City. That rig employs directional drilling technology that is allowing producers to drill 1,600 feet straight down, then shift diagonally east another 2,500 feet, tapping gas reserves under an existing restaurant in the area.

Michael W. Slater, vice president of operations at Louis Dreyfus Natural Gas, said directional drilling will allow four wells to exist on a 3.5-acre lot that still tap several gas pockets over a much wider area, minimizing the drilling's impact on the surrounding area, which is in city limits.

Abraham said such technology would allow the United States to increase domestic production without serious intrusion into environmentally sensitive areas. For example, he noted that oil and gas reserves in the 19 million-acre Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (which is roughly the size of the state of South Carolina) could be tapped using only 2,000 acres (roughly the size of a municipal airport) thanks to such techniques.

"We can accomplish much with these technologies," he said.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, agreed that the Alaskan resources should be utilized.

"I've yet to find someone who's been up there and looked at it who doesn't realize we should tap that source," Inhofe said.

He noted that the Alaskan pipeline did not harm the environment, despite the concerns of many environmentalists.

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