National Petroleum Council Urges Efficiency, Alternative Energy

By Published On: July 20, 2007

The National Petroleum Council July 18 urged the rest of the nation to do some of what California has been doing for years to address the growing difficulty and expense involved in accessing oil and gas resources. Chief among them are to increase energy efficiency, rely more on renewable energy, and tackle carbon dioxide emissions. In a report to the U.S. Department of Energy, the council recommended other key strategies, such as developing nuclear power, unconventional oil and gas, and strengthening global trade and investment in energy. It added that training new energy scientists and engineers is key because half of the current workforce is nearing retirement age. The influential council–a federal advisory panel composed of some of the nation’s top energy industry executives–outlined these and other recommendations in its report, Facing the Hard Truths about Energy: A Comprehensive View to 2030 of Global Oil and Natural Gas. DOE requested the report in 2005 amid rising concern about the adequacy of future supplies of oil and gas (see column below). “These are hard facts, and hard facts require us to plan for hard choices,” energy secretary Samuel Bodman told the council in accepting its report. While Bodman said that oil and gas will remain pre-eminent, he added that “we must aggressively pursue new energy options and alternatives.” Many stakeholders reacted to the recommendations. “This report underscores the urgency for America to move faster and go farther to secure its energy future,” stated Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico), Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources chair. Council member and co-author Alan Kelly said the report is “a forewarning” that sustained action will be needed for decades “to meet long-term economic, environmental, and energy security goals.” Association for the Study of Peak Petroleum-USA board member Randy Udall criticized the report as too soft. It “artfully camouflages the enormous near-term challenges in producing sufficient oil and gas,” he said. The report is available at the National Petroleum Council’s web site.

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