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North America has high potential for oil
by Staff Writers
Washington (UPI) Sep 16, 2011

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The potential supply of North American natural gas and oil resources is far more abundant than previously thought, a new study concludes.

Under optimistic projections, the National Petroleum Council study says, the United States and Canada combined could produce up to 22.5 million barrels per day.

But energy independence "is not realistic in the foreseeable future," the report warns, because daily demand is already 22.5 million barrels per day.

Contrary to conventional wisdom the North American oil resource base could provide substantial supply for decades ahead," states the report, "Prudent Development: Realizing the Potential of North America's Abundant Natural Gas and Oil Resources."

The 18-month study of the continent's natural gas and oil resources -- conducted at the request of U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu -- involved more than 400 experts, the majority of whom NPC says aren't affiliated with the oil and gas sector. NPC is a federal advisory committee to the secretary.

"Prudent development of our domestic energy resources, particularly natural gas and oil, drives economic development, creates jobs and enhances our nation's energy securit and this report recognizes those opportunities, as well as candidly addresses the challenges and potential solutions," said Jim Hackett, chairman and chief executive of Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and chairman of the NPC's Resource Development Committee.

"It also suggests that natural gas is a good near-term answer for reducing America's carbon footprint."

Reducing carbon emissions will be difficult for the United States without a mechanism for putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions, the report said. It also suggested being open to carbon capture and sequestration.

To realize the potential of North America's abundant oil and gas resources, the report calls for effective regulation and a commitment of industry and regulators to "continuous improvement in practices to eliminate or minimize environmental risk."

NPC's report follows an American Petroleum Institute study released last week that claimed U.S. oil and natural gas policy changes could create an additional 1.4 million new jobs and $800 billion in additional government revenue by 2030.

The institute, which represents more than 480 oil and natural gas companies, applauded NPC's report, saying it supports API's belief in the enormous potential for oil and natural gas in North America.

"Our industry is committed to ensuring safe and environmentally responsible development of these domestic resources to help meet our nation's economic and energy needs," said Erik Milito, director of API's upstream group.

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