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Gore's Energy Plan Has Little for Producers

Gore's Energy Plan Has Little for Producers

Democratic presidential hopeful Al Gore's proposed long-term energy policy has elicited a ho-hum response from independent oil and natural gas producers, who contend it "falls far short" on initiatives needed to boost domestic energy production.

The Gore plan, which was unveiled in stages last week, is nothing more than a "continuation of the current administration's refusal to adopt a meaningful action plan to address our over-reliance on foreign oil and dwindling exploratory land inventory," said Jerry Jordan, chairman of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA).

The "only nugget" for producers is the vice president's proposal to extend deep-water royalty relief for marginal wells in the Gulf of Mexico, he noted. The program is scheduled to expire in November.

On the flip side, Jordan pointed out that Gore earlier this year "vowed to keep and toughen" moratoria limiting onshore and offshore exploration and development. This runs counter to last December's National Petroleum Council study, which concluded the removal of such bans was vital if producers are to meet a 30 Tcf demand market down the road.

Jordan also noted that Gore's proposal overlooked several tax reforms that would encourage more domestic oil and gas production --- reforms that, he said, the Clinton administration has "embraced" already.

In a speech in Philadelphia last week, Gore told a crowd that "we are blessed with abundant supplies of coal, petroleum and natural gas; we have to use these resources wisely." At the same timer, producers "are [being] hemmed in by federal restrictions and presidential fiat" that bar mineral development on many U.S. lands, Jordan said.

Susan Parker

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