Page 2–The GeoRecord Vol 6.3
Fall 2000
From the Director

by Lee Allison,

Director and State Geologist

Director's Photo


The basic goal of a Kansas Energy Plan should be energy self-sufficiency

The 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:

1) Increase available risk capital that is directed towards application of innovative technologies to produce more Kansas energy.
2) Promote training for Kansas energy producers in the latest technologies.
3) Develop an integrated energy data base that is available online to all stakeholders.
4) Establish an Energy Extension Service.

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

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