The Future of the Domestic Oil and Gas Industry
- Michel T. Halbouty (Petroleum Consultant)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- February 1969
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 149 - 152
- 1969. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.3.4 Scale, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 7.4.4 Energy Policy and Regulation, 4.6 Natural Gas, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 5.8.5 Oil Sand, Oil Shale, Bitumen, 5.8.4 Shale Oil
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The future of the domestic oil and gas industry is probably brighter than it has ever been in the history of the country. Demand for both oil and natural gas is increasing tremendously in spite of all other types of energy that can be developed, such as nuclear energy, shale oil and tar sands. With our increasing population and growing per capita consumption, we will require more and more domestic petroleum reserves. We never will become dependent on foreign oil and gas for the simple reason that we cannot afford to do so, regardless of bow much oil and gas is found outside of this country. There is no doubt that there is as much or more oil and gas to be found in this country in the future as bas been found in the past, and we simply must find it. Therefore, we must accelerate, in every conceivable manner, and as soon as possible, an expanded exploration program For the needed petroleum reserves.
Demand for both oil and gas is increasing tremendously in spite of all of the new and synthetic types of energy that are either in production or in prospect.
Our population growth is matched by the expanding per capita demand for petroleum and other energy products, so it is obvious that while the proportion of oil and gas to the total energy supply picture is dwindling slightly, the amount of petroleum necessary to meet future requirements is daily growing steadily larger.
We never will become dependent on foreign oil and gas for the simple reason that we cannot afford to do so, regardless of how much oil is found outside this country or this continent. Events of very recent date have brought that fact dramatically home to us.
There is no doubt that several times as much oil and gas remains to be found in this country as has been found and produced since 1859. Our task is simply to find and produce it. The market is here and the price also will be here as soon as the people of this country become aware of the facts.
It has been commented that domestic oil reserves in shale, tar sand and coal can take care of the deficit in our future needs. But no one seems willing to indicate the number of years this will involve, and the precise date we can hope to see such reserves manufactured economically.
Let us not be lulled into a sense of apathy by the hopes that these reserves will be available to us when we need them - especially in times of an emergency. His is wishful thinking on wishful unproved economics and profitable foundations. Billions of barrels of oil are worthless if they cost one penny per barrel more than their returned sale value.
Until such manufactured oil reserves are reasonably profitable, we should orient our thinking to the finding of natural petroleum reserves that we know still exist and can be found in this vast country of ours. But we cannot find these natural petroleum reserves by the absurdity of drilling only 8,000 wildcats per year.
Therefore, our job is to accelerate in every possible manner, and by every possible method, a daring, imagination, and greatly expanded program of exploration for natural petroleum reserves.
I have made a study recently of the hundreds of speeches and forecasts concerning the subject of our future petroleum needs. They come from major company economists and executives, scientists and technicians in the government bureaus, banks, statisticians for the oil and gas associations, and many of our leading independents. In recent weeks, some of our most important national magazines, news syndicates, television and radio commentators, and daily newspaper editorial writers have started picking up this obviously newsworthy item.
The Middle East war and our plight in Southeast Asia have served the purpose of making these thought leaders aware of the need for our self-reliance on energy sources, particularly liquid hydrocarbons.
For these reason I believe that any oil finder or producer who has survived the lean and terrible days of this industry since 1957 can rest assured that now he is needed more than ever and that the sky is the limit to his opportunity if he possesses the proper mental tools and courage.
The old methods of doing business in the petroleum industry are out. The large companies discovered this quite sometime ago.
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