Egypt crisis illustrates need for more US drilling - NPRA

31 January 2011 21:33  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The escalating turmoil in Egypt and fears that broader popular uprisings could undermine other regimes among Middle Eastern oil-exporting nations illustrate why the US should develop more of its domestic resources, a top refining and petrochemicals official said on Monday.

Charles Drevna, president of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA), warned that instability among nations on whom the US depends for energy supplies threatens the nation’s economy.

“Developments in the Middle East are yet another reminder of why America needs to retain a strong domestic petroleum refining and petrochemical manufacturing sector, and why we need to get more oil and natural gas from our own country and from our stable ally Canada,” Drevna said.

Earlier, energy industry analysts cautioned that if the unrest that toppled the Tunisian government and threatens the Egyptian regime should migrate to other energy-producing states of the Arab world, US energy supplies could suffer and fuel costs would rise.

Drevna noted that international upheavals such as those that are now shaking Egypt can arise overnight, and the US cannot afford to remain heavily dependent on foreign energy supplies.

“Just as a community doesn’t wait for a fire to break out before organising a fire department, our nation shouldn’t wait for a disruption in supplies of oil, natural gas, fuels and petrochemicals before strengthening our own production capacity,” Drevna said.

The NPRA, along with other energy, chemical and general manufacturing interests, have been sharply critical of the Obama administration’s policies restricting domestic US oil and gas exploration and development.

Also, ICIS reported that US crude futures surged upward during the day’s trading “and closed at the highest level since October 2008 in a feeding frenzy in response to the Egyptian crisis”.

The US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil, rose by $2.85/bbl on Monday to close at $92.19.

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