Low natural gas prices are lifting the U.S. economy even as "many citizens are asking questions" about environmental impacts, producing "a decisive moment" in the nation's energy policies, XTO Energy's CEO Jack Williams told an industry meeting in Fort Worth today. Industry needs to continue to pursue more disclosure, such as the FracFocus website listing chemicals used in wells around the country, further monitor wells after drilling and completion and address new issues such as earthquakes near oil and gas operations to meet those concerns, Williams said. He applauded President Barack Obama's support for an "all of the above" solution to meeting U.S. energy needs, while asserting that "sound energy policies do not pick winners and losers" or include "punitive tax policies."
Williams said a similar picture exists in much of the rest of the world, where oil and natural gas shale deposits are providing relatively common. Today's low prices present a challenge to the continued development of natural gas, he said, but XTO will continue parent Exxon Mobil's historical long-term approach to development. He said XTO has completed 16 acquisitions since Exxon bought it nearly two years ago.
-- Jim Fuquay