Cathy Proctor – Reporter-Denver Business Journal
Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have changed the nation’s energy supplies so dramatically that now people are pushing to export domestic oil and natural gas internationally, Gale Norton, a former U.S. Secretary of the Interior, said at an oil and gas conference Wednesday.
That’s a big change from a decade ago when many worried that the American oil and gas industry would dry up completely.
Norton opened up the two-day “Clean Frac’ing 3” conference at Colorado’s Beaver Creek resort, organized by Houston-based The Petroleum Connection. The conference drew about 100 oil and gas executives to hear about the technology and public relations facets of fracking.
Fracking uses water, sand and chemicals to crack underground rock formations to allow oil and natural gas molecules to flow into a well. When coupled with horizontal drilling, the technique is credited with boosting production of natural gas and oil resources from rock formations that were once thought to be too hard and too expensive to reach.
Norton, in her talk, reflected on how much of the policy questions on energy during the early 2000s, revolved around conserving energy, the research and development of new kinds of energy supplies, and importing natural gas from abroad.
“From 2001 through 2006 [when Norton served as Interior Secretary under President George W. Bush], I never had anyone — not a CEO of an energy company, not an energy analyst at the Department of Energy — tell me ‘Don’t worry, fracking will change things,” Norton said.
Fracking did change things.