Meeting 'growing demand:' Industry calls for 400,000 new wells

George W. Bush is not the only one pushing for more abundant oil and gas development. Voices within the industry are also calling for an increase in new drilling in order to meet consumer demand.

Peter Dea, chief executive officer of the Denver-based Western Gas Resources Inc., made such a call at the recent Rocky Mountain Natural Gas Strategy Conference and Investor Forum. Dea said that to meet growing demand, a total of 400,000 new coalbed methane, or natural gas, wells must be developed before the year 2020. That number would represent a 10 to 15 percent increase over current new development, and much of that development would be focused in the Rocky Mountains and the Four Corners’ methane-rich San Juan Basin.

“There are always new onshore discoveries happening, but certainly a lot of the coalbed methane reserves are currently in the West,” explained Ron Wirth, director of investor relations for Western Gas Resources.

From Western Gas Resources’ perspective, the changes under the administration’s new energy policy are a good start. But whether they’ll make it possible to attain 10percent to 15 percent growth is still uncertain, according to Wirth.

“From the standpoint of the energy bill, it’s frankly too early for us to tell if it will make a difference,” he said.

– Will Sands

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