Global demand spurs need to cut US oil imports: DOE official
Washington (Platts)--4Apr2011/813 am EDT/1213 GMT
President Barack Obama is the latest US president to call for reducing US
dependence on oil, but the issue has added urgency now due to surging
global demand, a senior US Department of Energy official said on the Platts
Energy Week TV show.
"What's different is that if you look at the growth of other economies,
like China and India, which was not there in President Nixon's time, I think
the demand for oil is going to go up, and that [oil] prices in the future will
likely on average go up," said Arun Majumdar, acting undersecretary of
Obama last week announced a goal of cutting US oil dependency by 33% over
the next 10 years by promoting the development of domestic energy resources,
boosting vehicle efficiency, encouraging biofuels and advancing natural gas as
a transportation fuel.
Majumdar said natural gas, in particular, has promise to transform US
energy consumption, given the US' massive shale gas reserves that can now be
accessed through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Still, he acknowledged
that many environmental concerns have yet to be fully resolved with fracking.
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"I think we need to study that more," Majumdar said. "If we find that it
is unsafe, we will develop this technology to make it safe to enable our
natural gas industry to grow, because this is a domestic natural resource, and
we need to reduce the risk of production, be responsible in this production."
Also on the program, former US Nuclear Regulatory Commission member Pete
Bradford said the building of US reactors could slow somewhat, as nuclear
officials assess how to improve safety in the wake of the Japanese Fukushima
Bradford served on NRC during the Three Mile Island incident and said the
safety reviews that took about a year amounted to a de facto moratorium on
"When you look at the number of people who are going to have to pay
attention to new issues from seismic design to the placement and reliability
of diesel generators to emergency offsite evacuation plans, that's a huge
resource commitment that NRC is going to have to make if it's going to live up
to its own statements and President Obama's statements about putting the
lessons learned process first," Bradford said.
Platts Energy Week airs at 8 a.m. Eastern time on Sunday on WUSA in
Washington, and at 6:30 a.m. Central time on Sunday and at 7:30 p.m. Central
time on Monday on KHOU in Houston. The program is also available on the web at
-- Herman Wang, email@example.com