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AAPG Takes Witness Stand Again

Testimony Supports OCS

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 last indefinitely."

Hare was accompanied by Naresh Kumar, of the AAPG CORE committee, and Dwight "Clint" Moore, of the Division of Professional Affairs.

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 hearing testimony.

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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 last indefinitely."

Hare was accompanied by Naresh Kumar, of the AAPG CORE committee, and Dwight "Clint" Moore, of the Division of Professional Affairs.

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 hearing testimony.

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 the DPA.

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 natural gas.

"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."

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