A study of North American natural gas markets topped the wish list of 11 potential study projects proposed by the Energy Department (DOE) for the National Petroleum Council (NPC) at the council’s annual meeting last Wednesday in Washington.

DOE proposed stepping up the pace of the industry advisory committee’s contributions, asking for the completion of two in-depth studies this year to be taken from the list, as well preparation of some short term studies “on critical issues related to National Energy Policy implementation” and possibly some help in conducting workshops on strategic issues. In the past the NPC has spent a year or more preparing a single massive study, such as its 1999 report on U.S. natural gas supplies.

The follow-on proposal for additional study of natural gas could include a look at new supplies from Alaska, Canada, Mexico and the OCS, as well as increasing imports of LNG. No. 2 on DOE’s list was a look at the dynamics of fuel switching and oil and natural gas consumption in electric generation and industrial processes. No. 3 would be a national assessment of U.S. natural gas pipeline and storage needs, and No. 4 calls for perspectives on future long term U.S. supplies of oil and natural gas. Further down on the list are studies of oil refining and storage, environmental stewardship in the oil and natural gas industries, energy conservation, the economic competitiveness of the U.S. oil and gas industry in the global economy, the U.S. oil supply, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve Inventory mix, and offshore oil and natural gas technology R&D needs.

The NPC’s agenda committee and membership will vote on studies to be undertaken.

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