US needs to boost, diversify energy supplies

Published March 26th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

The United States should increase and diversify its domestic energy supplies in light of recent production cutbacks by oil producing nations, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said Sunday. 

 

"If the OPEC countries make the decisions that they're making, I think it just calls upon America to say we're going to start doing the things here at home in terms of energy production that diversifies our energy sources so we don't have to be so dependent on the rest of the world," Abraham told Fox News Sunday. 

 

"During the energy crisis of the 1970s, the United States imported about 36 percent of its oil. Today, it's over 54 percent and growing.  

 

And I think that the OPEC decisions just demonstrates to us that, sure, we'll continue a dialogue ... but we're not going to do it in terms of running around the world and begging for more oil." 

 

The 11-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries announced March 17 a four percent reduction in oil production in an effort to stabilize fluctuating prices, and has warned of cutting production further. 

 

Abraham said the current situation highlights the need for increased oil exploration as well as alternative energy sources. "There are some very promising opportunities, I think, in the area of fuel cell development," he said. 

 

"There's some opportunities in the more broadly defined area of hydro research, and so we'll also look at such things as that in the course of trying to decide where we can more efficiently use energy." 

 

Abraham said energy conservation should be emphasized, but will not be adequate to prevent shortages. "I think Americans would be misled if they thought that we can conserve our way to energy independence," he said. 

 

"The growth of our energy usage over the next 20 years can be moderated, but it cannot be reversed. And that means we're going to have to have more supply to meet that increasing demand."—AFP. 

©--Agence France Presse 2001. 

 

© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)

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