The development problems that face those of us in the energy industry are formidable. While as engineers we are accustomed to approaching such tasks in tangible, physical and economic terms, the significance of these traditional concepts is becoming increasingly dependent on a growing number of imponderables. This is particularly true in the area of government policy, which has injected many uncertainties into our business. These political intangibles are frustrating and difficult to grapple with, but must be taken fully into account, for they can drastically affect cost assumptions and, more fundamentally, our ability to do the job. Of the numerous legislative issues facing the energy industry, none is more potentially serious than Congressional efforts to break up the oil companies and to prohibit their diversification into other fuels. This question will be answered in some detail later, but, before doing so, it is appropriate to briefly review other key governmental issues that could also significantly affect the progress of U.S. energy development.
Particularly pressing is the question of oil and gas price controls and allocation regulations.