Adams, Martin, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil Gas and Shale Technology, U.S. Department of Energy
Good Morning, Mr. Chairman, members of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, distinguished guests Including our many visitors from other countries, and all of you who are interested in Enhanced Oil Recovery. I am pleased to be here on the occasion of the first Joint SPE-DOE Symposium on Enhanced Oil Recovery. This is the sixth in a series of biennial meetings sponsored by the Mid-Continent Section of the SPE and also is the sixth annual meeting sponsored by the DOE and our predecessor agencies, This particular meeting is an excellent way to determine if the respective aims of our two organizations can be adequately served by such a joint meeting. Based upon the excellent program that is in store over the next three days and the fine attendance, I am very encouraged about the future prospects of joint meetings such as this one.
I am here today in the place of Secretary Duncan who unfortunately could not arrange this meeting into his schedule. My responsibility as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil, Gas and Shale Technology includes DOE's program for research on enhanced oil recovery. I regard this as an extremely high priority area because of the potential of EOR to make significant contributions to domestic supplies of liquid fuels in the decade of the 80's and beyond.
The translation of potential to crude oil to the tank will happen only if industry decides to do It. And this must take place within the framework created by our laws and Government policy.
A concensus about future energy policy is only now emerging from the spirited and often heated debates in Congress. Real progress has been based on the hard facts that the Nation has a real energy problem- and not a problem manufactured to drive up prices as was charged only a few short years ago.
Often overlooked In current energy debates is the fact that the Nation has made a giant step toward a free market system in oil and gas through deregulation. Deregulation of oil and gas prices is a giant step toward a free market system. The "windfall profits tax" laws produced a major debate and this is healthy. Whatever position one takes, it is clear that this tax will eventually phase out. Also, the tax does give some special treatment to tertiary production. In short, some big steps have been taken in the last few years in the direction of the market mechanism once again being permitted to function in the country allowing demand and supply to be controlled through price.
I believe that most of us would agree that it is far easier to see a myriad of solutions to our complex energy problems as we look 20 to 30 years into the future than it is just looking at the next few years. In the longer term, investment in production capacity will tend to reach stable relationships. The challenge is to manage effectively the transition between now and then. I actually find myself being optimistic about the availability to meet the energy needs of our people one or two generations into the future.
But, here I become really concerned when I view the energy picture between now and 1995 when alternate supplies of energy are not yet abundant; when the supply-demand balance in various countries is changing; and when political, economic and social tentions threaten to upset world peace and traditional sources of energy supply. During this transitional period, we can continue to make adjustments in our energy consumption patterns; we can seek additional and perhaps more secure sources of imports; we can provide some measure of insurance against a catastrophic interruption to our oil supplies by oil storage; and we can more aggressively develop our conventional and unconventional sources of natural gas and oil. Tertiary oil recovery will play an increasingly important role in the supply picture of the U.S. and the world during this transition period. It is one of the few options we have for boosting oil production in the U.S. and the rest of the oil producing world as primary and secondary production reach their peak and decline.
The petroleum industry is well known for its strong technology base and the ability to get things done. Certainly, the financial resources now available to the industry have never been better.