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IOGCC Calls Governor Summit on Price, Supply

IOGCC Calls Governor Summit on Price, Supply

Governors from across the United States are expected to convene in Columbus, OH, Sept. 20 at a summit to discuss the high natural gas prices and supply challenges facing consumers this winter. The meeting will also address long-term state and federal gas policy, such as human resource needs in the domestic petroleum industry, tax incentives and access to public lands for gas drilling.

Ohio Gov. Bob Taft and Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles, chairman of the Oklahoma-based Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC), will co-host the "Governors' Natural Gas Summit: Responding to the Looming Energy Crisis" in the hopes that discussions will have an impact on U.S. energy policy involving natural gas. The announcement of the summit comes just a week after the IOGCC began its push for an official national energy policy, offering their own four-prong approach (see NGI, Aug. 14).

Knowles noted, "The wholesale price of natural gas has doubled since April, and tripled since last summer, and all signs point to an extremely tight natural gas market this winter." Knowles said the tight supply "poses a major challenge for U.S. consumers and our national economy, which can be addressed by boosting domestic supply. The Governors' Natural Gas Summit will draw attention to the current supply, demand and price for natural gas, and initiate a discussion to help guide a rational public policy response to the current high prices and looming supply shortfall."

The summit will help governors grasp the fundamentals of the gas marketplace in North America, and design individual state action plans. Mid-September was chosen for the gathering because it signifies the start of the home heating season, when attention to energy-related issues is normally at a high.

"The increased demand for natural gas could translate to higher heating bills, creating a financial burden for our low and fixed-income residents," Taft said.

A group of panels will present the supply and demand projections for North America in the short and long-term. Panelists will include major gas producers, traders, distributors, storage operators, electric utilities and local gas utilities. State and federal representatives will also give presentations. Canadian and Mexican issues will also be discussed.

Cambridge Energy Research Associates' Chairman Dr. Daniel Yergin will be the keynote speaker of the summit. Dr. Yergin wrote the Pullitzer Prize-winning book, The Prize, about the oil industry.

Ohio was chosen for the site of the summit to draw key energy-consuming states, the group said. "Natural gas is especially important to Ohio because we rank second nationally in the number of stripper natural gas wells," Taft added. "These wells, producing only a small amount of natural gas each day, are an important element of the supply chain and should not be overlooked."

The IOGCC represents the governors of 30 states with a focus on conservation and the environmentally friendly recovery of oil and natural gas resources. Visit its web site at www.iogcc.state.ok.us for more information.

Alex Steis

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