Funding for Research Urged
Calling for “a robust federal oil and natural gas program – on the scale of oil, nuclear and alternatives, on the order of $500 million per year,” AAPG President Scott Tinker urged U.S. Senate appropriators to significantly boost oil and gas research.
In a letter sent to Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations subcommittee, Tinker warned that “today’s energy debate is often framed as a choice between fossil fuels or alternative (non-fossil) fuels, or between fossil fuels and the environment, but these are red herrings.”
As U.S. policy makers look for answers to the nation’s energy challenge they must recognize that the development and expansion of alternative and new fuels will take at least 25-40 years, Tinker said. Meanwhile, fossil energy, which currently supplies 87 percent of total energy needs, provides the foundation upon which “we bridge to an alternative energy future.”
But while oil and natural gas make up 65 percent of the U.S. energy portfolio, the federal oil and natural gas research program is miniscule in comparison. This lack of investment jeopardizes the stable supply of fossil energies necessary to sustaining the U.S. and global economy and thereby enabling the development of new energy sources.
Rather than looking for “quick fixes and technological silver bullets,” Tinker envisages a partnership between government, academia and industry that works to rebuild and expand the nation’s oil and natural gas R&D capacity.
“As we contemplate tomorrow’s energy sources, fossil fuels remain a foundation upon which to build a bridge to our energy future,” he concluded. “It’s a good place to start.”
A copy of the letter can be found on the GEO-DC Web site.