Release Date: Apr 17, 2012Contact: 888-249-NEWS
U.S. Chamber's Energy Institute CEO Urges Policymakers to Pursue Unconventional Oil Sources
Untapped Potential Could Make U.S. World’s Largest Oil Producer
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy told a Congressional committee today that the U.S. could completely alter global energy markets and secure America’s energy future if it commits to pursuing commercialization of unconventional oil resources.
Karen Harbert testified at a House Committee on Science, Technology and Space hearing to discuss the potential of unconventional oil resources to create jobs, lower fuel prices and produce energy. Others on the panel included Andrew Slaughter, chair of the Resource and Supply Group of the National Petroleum Council, and Dr. Michelle Foss, chief energy economist at the University of Texas at Austin.
“The three states of Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah alone contain more oil from oil shale than all of the conventional oil contained in the Middle East,” Harbert said. “Yet it is the current policy of our government to ignore the value of these resources, sacrificing the revenue, jobs and huge security dividends Americans would realize from developing them.”
Unconventional oil resources include those manufactured from oil shale and oil sands. Recent attention has focused on shale gas and shale oil, extracted from shale rock, but in many cases the shale itself can be manufactured into oil. In fact, the U.S. has several hundred years of oil supply stored in unconventional formations—the largest resource reserve in the world.
Over the past three years, the Department of Interior has sharply curbed development of unconventional resources. The department reduced the amount of oil shale acreage available for leasing to industry for research and demonstration from over 2 million acres to under 500,000 acres and the amount of oil sands acreage from over 400,000 to 91,000. This move came despite projections from the International Energy Agency that global demand for energy could increase by nearly 50% by 2035.
“Under this administration, 86% of federal offshore lands and 83% of federal interior lands are off limits to exploration,” said Harbert. “Not only has the federal government been reducing access to the country’s energy resources, but it has also been making it more difficult and expensive to produce on the areas that remain available. New and proposed regulations will add to the cost of production, making it even less attractive for industry to invest and produce oil in the U.S.—driving them overseas, along with jobs and revenue.”
Studies indicate that simply by following the direction given by Congress in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to begin developing oil shale and oil sands, America could increase oil production by 1.1 billion barrels, increase economic growth by $153 billion, increase government revenue by $31 billion, and avoid sending $129 billion overseas for imported oil.
The mission of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy is to unify policymakers, regulators, business leaders, and the American public behind a common sense energy strategy to help keep America secure, prosperous, and clean. Through policy development, education, and advocacy, the Institute is building support for meaningful action at the local, state, national, and international levels.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.