Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Watkins Outlines Plans to Save and Produce Oil

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Watkins Outlines Plans to Save and Produce Oil

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) - Energy Secretary James D. Watkins outlined oil production and conservation proposals Wednesday that he said by year's end could replace up to 90 percent of the supplies lost because of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

Half the saving would come only if Americans accept conservation efforts that, for example, would require them to keep tires properly inflated and drive at the speed limit or less.

The other half, achieved by stepping up domestic oil production, could require some compromises on the environment.

``This is what we should be doing at home to minimize the disruption that is taking place,'' Watkins told reporters.

Watkins said there is no indication that President Bush is considering relaxing rules on offshore drilling because of the Mideast crisis. The secretary said the government continues to consider whether the nation's 587 million-barrel Strategic Petroleum Reserve should be tapped because of the disruption of oil from Iraq and Kuwait.

Watkins said his proposals should not be taken to mean that the United States is expecting oil shortages the rest of the year. The world has ample oil on hand, he said, even though the market is being denied 4.2 million barrels each day because of Iraq's takeover of Kuwait and the resulting international boycott of both countries' oil.

The world price of oil has risen significantly since the Aug. 2 invasion and is hovering about $26 a barrel. ``Nobody believes it's going to drop precipitously,'' Watkins said.

Before the invasion, the United States was importing between 600,000 and 700,000 42-gallon barrels per day from Iraq and Kuwait, or about 4 percent of total U.S. oil consumption. The list of proposals outlined by Watkins would, by the end of the year, replace up to 550,000 barrels of that, he estimated.

But a lot of things would have to happen before those savings were realized. Here are items on Watkins' list:

- Boost production from Alaska's North Slope, now 1. …

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