Barriers Constraining Energy Co.'s in U.S.
Energy companies are constrained in various ways on every level
--- exploration and development, generation and transmission,
refineries and pipelines --- and these barriers all point to the
need for the United States to shape an effective national energy
policy, said several speakers at the recent annual conference of
the International Society of Energy Advocates.
Meeting in Oklahoma City, many of the panelists focused on
Oklahoma's oil and gas industry, including expanding transmission
capacity, tax incentives for energy production and issues facing
small producers in the state.
While focusing on Oklahoma's concerns, speakers also zeroed in
on the lack of state or national energy policies, citing how the
physical constraints within exploration and production, lack of
pipelines, too few refineries and a need to expand electricity
generation and transmission were hurting the nation's economy,
spelling signs of even more problems in the future.
Denise Bode, vice chair of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission,
told participants that the infrastructure in the United States is
"shot," adding that the country has to turn its attention to an
effective policy now. "We can no longer bide our time," she said.
Robert L. Parker, chairman of Tulsa-based Parker Drilling Co.,
said the biggest problem facing the country was its inability to
meet the growing demand for generation while misrepresenting
renewable energy "as a solution." And now, he said, the energy
industry's credibility is an issue because it is becoming more
difficult to deliver adequate gas supplies.
"We told them we had lots of gas," but he said that the country
doesn't and because of production constraints, some power companies
are announcing plans to build coal-fired generation plants to make
up for a lack in natural gas supplies.
Mark Monroe, president of Louis Dreyfus Natural Gas Co., said
that "only an energy crisis" would result in a significant U.S.
energy policy. Even though he didn't think a policy was a near-term
possibility, he called on Congress to enact a plan that would
prioritize energy supplies and provide more land for exploration.
He also said it was time for a natural gas pipeline from Alaska to
the Lower 48 to become a reality, and said Congress needed to
remove drilling restrictions and provide tax incentives to
Two major issues face small producers in Oklahoma, according to
Liz Fajen, executive director of the Marginal Well Commission in
the state. Tax relief is the top issue, she said, but they also
face the problem of dealing with the spread of land development in
areas that were once the sole domain of producers. She said that
the encroachment issue is escalating as people move out of the
cities, and in some cases, operators have been blocked from well
Oklahoma's future generation also may be a problem, according to
Ted Banasiewicz, executive vice president of Smith Cogeneration in
Oklahoma. He said that the state has to improve its transmission
capacity, and urged the state's Legislature to enact laws to
encourage investment in electricity transmission.
"Under current conditions, there is very little motivation for
utilities that own the transmission systems to invest in upgrades,"
Banasiewicz said. And without the transmission, independent power
producers will not be able to service customers. "If you can't get
your product to the consumer, no perfect legislation is going to
Carolyn Davis, Houston