IOGCC Calls for Tax Incentives, Energy Policy
As it ended its annual conference in San Antonio last week, the
Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission emerged with an agenda
calling for new tax and public policy incentives to increase
natural gas production in the United States. The 30-state
organization re-issued its call for a national energy policy and
urged Congress to give tax breaks to exploration and development
Gov. Tony Knowles of Alaska, who begins his second term as chair
of the IOGCC, said the incoming president should focus national
attention on the country's increased demand for natural gas. He
also urged the new leader to follow the lead of Congress, where he
expects a stepped-up effort to enact legislation that will open
closed land to more E&P activities.
The Democratic governor, who has long pushed for opening up a
portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and
gas exploration, said he wants to work with the new administration
and Congress to pass legislation that would responsibly develop a
portion of the refuge's hydrocarbon resources. ANWR's coastal plain
oil reserves are estimated to be between 6 billion and 16 billion
bbl, which would be nearly 40% of the total U.S. petroleum demand
for the coming decade.
Knowles suggested allowing exploration on what he called a
"small" 1.5 million-acre tract of the ANWR - about the size of
Indiana. He also wants to open up another area to E&P located
near the ANWR, Point Thompson, which has estimated gas reserves of
between 5 Tcf and 6 Tcf. "Without exploration, we will not
succeed," he said.
At the conclusion of its two-day meeting, the IOGCC passed a
resolution asking Congress and the new president to renew their
focus on increasing natural gas supplies, and also called on
legislators to develop a national energy policy. The IOGCC supports
more access to public lands and wants to eliminate "unnecessary and
duplicative regulations." The resolution noted that technological
advances have allowed industry to cost-effectively produce natural
gas and still protect the environment.
Members of the IOGCC, who represent the governors of the 30
states that produce most of the oil and natural gas in the country,
also plan to begin an outreach campaign. IOGCC wants to improve its
image, especially to groups who oppose E&P activities, and
plans to begin an education campaign to help the public understand
the need to develop more energy supplies.
Carolyn Davis, Houston
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