API President Suggests That Oil Firms Should Participate In Solving U.S. Energy Dilemma

The president of the American Petroleum Institute said that oil companies should be participants in solving the nation's energy dilemma because government, on its own, lacks the expertise needed to develop and implement energy policies.

The suggestion came from Frank N. Ikard, who spoke in Tulsa, Okla., on August 29 at the U.S. Department of Energy's fourth annual symposium on enhanced oil and gas recovery and improved drilling methods.

"Government," Mr. Ikard declared, "simply doesn't have the expertise to develop, on its own, the policies needed in the future." As an example, he cited government policy on enhanced oil recovery programs, which use such things as steam, pressurized water, and chemicals to bring more oil to the surface. Mr. Ikard told his audience of oil recovery experts that "you know better than anyone else in this whole country how much we need to rely on enhanced oil recovery to meet our energy needs.

"Put quite simply, we have no hope of closing the impending energy gap in this country without pushing ahead strongly on enhanced recovery development.

"Yet a new program now in the making— the National Energy Supply Strategy—places most of its emphasis on synthetic fuel development. If implemented along the lines it's now taking, the supply strategy program will not help enhanced recovery at all." Mr. Ikard pointed out that a recent study by the National Petroleum Council showed that an additional 900,000 barrels a day of crude oil could be produced by "tertiary" enhanced recovery operations by 1985, "if all domestic oil prices were decontrolled." He said that although the Federal Government has received a tremendous amount of information on energy problems, it has accomplished very little in the way of solutions.

"Three American presidents in a row have initiated studies—and have offered programs," Mr. Ikard noted. "The energy problem qualifies, at this point, as one of the most thoroughly analyzed problems in American history.

"The amount of data that has been collected is awesome. In recent years, no fewer than 50 Federal departments and agencies, and 100 Congressional committees and orga organizations, have been gathering information on energy.

"So there certainly is no information gap. We understand the problem, and we've every possible solution. When we turn to what has actually been accomplished, however, we find — unfortunately — very little."

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