Page 2–The GeoRecord Vol 6.3
|From the Director
by Lee Allison,
Director and State Geologist
The basic goal of a Kansas Energy Plan should be energy self-sufficiency
Kansas Legislature is starting to address the question of whether Kansas
needs an Energy Plan. Our response: “Absolutely!” Energy is
too important to Kansas to be left to chance.
Fossil fuels—oil, natural gas, and coal—account for 91% of
the energy used by Kansans. Fossil fuels probably will dominate our energy
mix for the next 20-40 years and will continue to be major energy sources
for the entire century. Thus, any energy plan must look seriously at supply.
Kansas’ oil and gas fields are in their third and probably final
phase of production. New technologies, like CO2
miscible floods, horizontal drilling, and computer reservoir simulations,
may extend production from Kansas fields and add another billion barrels
of oil to our current production total.
Any plan must also take consumption into account. Kansas was a net exporter
of energy for most of the past century. During the last dozen years, we
have exported about as much as we consumed, but in the past two years
we have become an energy importer. This is due to declining oil and gas
production and steadily increasing consumption.
In Kansas, the petroleum industry is made up of more than 3,000 independent
oil producers and 1,450 gas producers. Less than 1% of operators employ
more than 100 employees; 89% have fewer than 20 employees. This industry
is more like that of the small family farmers who dominate Kansas agriculture.
These small Kansas oil producers do not have the research capabilities
to find and apply new technologies or the financial resources to immediately
invest in new wells whenever prices make the business profitable.
The basic goal of a Kansas Energy Plan should be energy self-sufficiency.
Part of that can be achieved by increasing oil and gas production as part
of a coordinated effort that addresses taxes, regulation, foreign supply,
efficiency, conservation, and alternative energy and fuels. At the Kansas
Geological Survey, our approach is to get technological help to the small
companies that now form the backbone of U.S. oil production. We need to
provide support for the small Kansas oil producer the way we do for the
small family farmer.
We recommend a multi-faceted approach to increasing energy supplies with
an emphasis on applied technology:
The Kansas Geological Survey, in partnership with the KU Energy Research Center, KU Tertiary Oil Recovery Program, and the Petroleum Technology Transfer Council, is engaged in projects for the last three of these areas with limited Federal matching funds. This is an opportunity for the State to help ensure affordable prices and energy security for Kansas by investing in enhanced technology for oil and gas production.
These remarks are excerpted from testimony presented to the Kansas Legislature’s Special Utilities Committee hearing on the need for a State Energy Plan, Sept. 28, 2000. A full transcript of the testimony can be found on the KGS website at http://www.kgs.ku.edu/General/News/2000/energy_plan.html.
Online February 10, 2003
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Kansas Geological Survey