For the third time in two months, AAPG
representatives testified before a U.S. congressional committee,
this time focusing on access to Outer Continental Shelf areas.
Ben Hare, speaking as chairman of the AAPG Committee
on Resource Evaluation, told the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy
and Mineral Resoures in mid-May in New Orleans that " ... OCS policy
has forced the country to rely solely on the central and western
Gulf of Mexico for offshore gas production. This reliance cannot
Hare was accompanied by Naresh Kumar, of the AAPG
CORE committee, and Dwight "Clint" Moore, of the Division of Professional
Kumar testified in March before the U.S. House Resources
Committee concerning the U.S. Geological Survey's resource evaluations.
AAPG President Marlan W. Downey also testified before the House
committee in March, urging access to OCS areas as well as tax relief
for independent producers.
Hare's testimony was part of a day-long series of
presentations before the panel chaired by Rep. Barbara Cubin, (R-Wyo.),
who was joined by Jim Gibbon (R-Nev.) and David Vitter (R-La.) in
Several AAPG members contributed in the preparation
of Hare's testimony, including Kumar, G. Warfield "Skip" Hobbs,
Lee Gerhard, John R. Ritter and Earl Ritchie, all affiliated with
Hare's testimony stated "Resource assessments indicate
a sizable resource is present in currently restricted areas of the
OCS. For those resources to be delineated and converted to reserves
ultimately to 'supply,' exploration must take place. Both the eastern
Gulf and the Atlantic OCS are known to have generated and trapped
"AAPG believes all potential sources of energy and
increased conservation of hydrocarbons should be mainstays of the
national energy policy. AAPG believes full exploration of the OCS,
while safeguarding the environment, must also be an important piece
of that policy."
Hare also said conservation and enhanced efficiency
are only part of the answer to supplying the energy to maintain
a quality lifestyle.
"Sources alternative to hydrocarbons are not sufficient
to meet demand," he said.
In making his case, Hare's testimony pointed to the
gas potential of the OCS of 75 billion barrels of oil and 362 TCF
of natural gas, including Alaska, as estimated by the MMS.
"Yet, by a 1998 presidential directive, there is
presently a federal moratorium on any exploration of the Lower 48
OCS outside of the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico until 2012."
Meanwhile, Hare told the committee that "almost every
country with marine waters is promoting exploration in (their) OCS
and attempting to attract investment in their offshore, including
the deep and ultra-deep waters.
"We believe that Canada, Great Britain, Norway, Brazil,
India and numerous other nations all rightly understand that oil
and gas development is vital to their economic well being and can
be done with minimal environmental impact," he said. "That is why
all of these countries are not only trying to explore the deep-water
arena, they are competing in the world market for investment dollars
for deep-water projects.
"Given the right environment, a lot of these investment
dollars could be spent in U.S. waters," he continued, "providing
jobs, helping the balance of trade and enhancing domestic supplies."
Hare also pointed out the success of exploration
in the Canadian Atlantic -- both economically and environmentally
-- and how the geology indicates the same potential extending south
along the U.S. Atlantic Coast from George's Banks to the Carolina
Trough, a distance of almost 1,000 miles.
In a statement to the panel, Hare pointed out that
there have been indications of sizeable reserves found in the Destin
Dome area of the Florida Panhandle, and a discovery at Hudson Canyon
off the New Jersey coast.
"For those resources to be converted to reserves
and ultimately supply to meet the nation's energy needs," he said,
"exploration and production must occur."