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IOGCC Calls for Tax Incentives, Energy Policy

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 companies.

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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