Every Mcf of U.S. natural gas that is produced and consumed will not only benefit every citizen of our nation, it will also make this world a better place and pay real and tangible dividends to future generations. Total world demand for oil will be reduced and the world price for oil will be lower. Energy for developing nations will be less expensive.

The world’s ecological/environmental situation will be improved due to lower greenhouse-gas emissions.

Development of this nation’s natural gas provides real and absolute stimulus to our economy and credit system. This type of tangible absolute stimulus with its multiplier effect will produce significant and ongoing dividends for our nation.

Not only will the United States’ economy be stimulated, the dollar will be strengthened. Our nation’s deficits will be reduced quicker.

The U.S. will be less vulnerable to financial coercion by foreign powers; the wealth now being transferred to oil producers will remain in the U.S. and can be used to benefit this nation’s future generations.

As the tangible benefits to the world and the U.S. are significant and compelling, there must be a single historic legislative act that articulates, memorializes and provides gravitas to this monumental undertaking to ensure the future of the American dream and our national security.

To wit, here is the act that should be adopted: The United States of America Proclamation for Increased Energy Security (US PIES); Natural Gas Act of 2009

To move as expeditiously and conclusively as possible to avoid any further energy crises and, in light of the now abundant U.S. supplies of natural gas, the Congress of the United States of America hereby sets forth the Natural Gas Act of 2009 to bridge this nation’s destiny to increased energy independence.

In that our national security and economy are threatened, and may be perilously further threatened and compromised, by our nation’s current over-dependence on imported oil and the concomitant transfer of our national wealth, it is imperative and essential our nation move with purpose and urgency to employ these domestic natural gas resources and, in so doing, ensure the future strength and prosperity of our nation by increasing our energy security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

The U.S. currently imports the majority of its oil from overseas companies. This debilitating situation can be remedied.

Recent American technological breakthroughs, horizontal drilling and multi-stage fracture-stimulation of reservoirs, have made the drilling and completing of natural gas wells much more efficient and productive and vast new reserves new of natural gas accessible here within our borders.

According to a recent study by Navigant Consulting Inc., the U.S. now has an estimated 2,247 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, enough to last approximately 118 years at 2007 demand levels.

In that the world’s ecological future and world peace may be threatened by “global warming” and/or having reached or in time soon reaching “world peak oil production,” it is imperative and essential our nation move with purpose and urgency to employ its natural gas resources.

Assuming $55 per barrel of imported oil, for every additional Tcf of natural gas produced and utilized annually, we can reduce payments for imported oil to produce gasoline by approximately $10 billion dollars per year. Our nation currently consumes roughly 20 Tcf of gas a year. So doubling are current consumption of natural gas would reduce annual payments for imported oil by approximately $200 billion/year.

In addition, there would be tens of thousands of good, high-paying jobs created. Every drilling rig directly employees about 40 people; indirect job creation can be expected to be 5 times the 40 direct jobs, or 240 direct and indirect jobs per drilling rig.

Current drilling rigs can be expected to have a useful life of at least 20 years. Every 1,000 additional drilling rigs would create 240,000 potential careers and the concomitant opportunities for advancement: careers, not temporary employment. These careers—these jobs—cannot be transferred to other, lesser developed countries.

Each new state of the art rig required will cost about US$16 million. So, 1,000 new rigs will provide an economic boost to machinery manufacturers, steel fabricators and others equal to US$16 billion.

Additionally, tens of thousands of new jobs and opportunities will be created by expanding and revamping the nation’s natural-gas-pipeline and local-distribution infrastructure.

The American automotive industry can be revitalized by being incentivized to manufacture compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. In concert with the auto manufacturers, the car dealerships and automotive aftermarket industries should gear toward retrofitting existing vehicles with natural gas fuel capability.

A “natural gas refueling” infrastructure will need to be added to the current refueling infrastructure; this will create further economic activity.

--Alan Orr

About the author: Alan Orr is executive vice president, engineering and development, international drilling, for Helmerich & Payne. He holds a degree in general engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. For more on his postulate, he can be reached at 918-588-5256 and Alan.Orr@hpidc.com.