THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- The U.S. could become relatively energy independent by 2035 thanks to the development of domestic oil resources and increasing production from the Canadian oilsands, Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (APC) Chief Executive Jim Hackett said Tuesday.
In an interview with reporters after the oil producer's annual analyst meeting, Hackett said that by increasing supplies from within North America, and by enlarging the role played by natural gas in the transportation sector, the U.S. could import less than 20% of its oil from outside the continent. That means the country could be "fairly independent from world oil supplies," he said.
In addition, new discoveries in frontier areas are helping diversify the sources of oil that go into the global market, to the benefit of consuming countries, Hackett said. Anadarko's company has helped carve out new oil basins in areas including Liberia, Ghana and Mozambique, which are new to the energy industry.
In Mozambique, huge deposits of natural gas could cost less money to develop if the country unitizes the fields discovered by Anadarko with neighboring operations, said Chief Operating Officer Al Walker. The cost "should go down if you're able to unitize," he said. Anadarko is planning a mammoth liquefied-natural-gas project in the country costing up to $10 billion.
Walker said Anadarko was still in discussions with the Venezuelan government about an asset there that the company was trying to sell. The Venezuelans have expressed interest in buying it, but "we have not been able to get it to closure," Walker said.
He said Anadarko's strategy of growing through aggressive exploration is likely to continue unchanged when he becomes chief executive after Hackett leaves the top role next year. "My challenge is to build on the momentum he created and use the strategy that's been employed," Walker said.
Anadarko CEO Sees Nat Gas Price Rebound after 2014
Earlier in the day, Hackett said he also expects natural gas prices to rebound significantly from their current depressed status after 2014.
The Texas-based oil producer is "cautiously optimistic about natural gas in the long term," Hackett told investors and analysts at the company's annual meeting. "We feel beyond 2014 you get into very, very interesting territory."
Anadarko sees natural gas trading between $4 and $6 per million British thermal units, up from their decade-low levels below $2.40 currently, according to a slide shown in the company's presentation. In 2016, gas should be trading between $5 and $7 per Mmbtu. Hackett acknowledged that Anadarko is "a bit more constructive," or optimistic about natural gas prices, than the market is.
The market for crude oil should remain strong due to the difficulty of providing new supply to meet demand, coupled with rising geopolitical tensions, Hackett said. The market for natural gas liquids, driven by the recent addition of petrochemical infrastructure in the U.S., "should stay very strong," Hackett added.
Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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