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Ryan Lance Of ConocoPhillips On Energy Security

Hydraulic fracturing has made the U.S. less dependent on imported oil and natural gas than at any time in the last forty years. But even if energy independence is more plausible, that doesn’t make it a good thing.


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Ryan Lance
CEO Ryan Lance
Image courtesy of ConocoPhillips/Hall Puckett

Keeping the supply of oil imports stable has been a major focus of U.S. foreign policy since the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s. So how has the upsurge in domestic production from shale formations affected the equation? Ryan Lance, chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips, addressed the topic of energy security at a recent gathering of the World Affairs Council of Houston.

Andrew Schneider caught up with Lance on the sidelines of the event and spoke with him for the Bauer Business Focus.


Interview Highlights:

What would you say represents the greatest security concern to the oil and natural gas industry today?

“We worry about the conflicts that are going on around the world, whether you go from the Middle East to North Africa … to Russia and what’s happened in Ukraine and Crimea … [but] the biggest security [concern] is just trying to get more stability around the world to get more security of supply.”


Has U.S. crude oil production reduced the effect of political instability in the Middle East and elsewhere on global oil prices?

“We’ve had an influence on it. You look back over the last three to four years, we’ve lost production from Syria, the Iranian sanctions have had an impact, the disruption that’s gone on in Libya, the slower ramp-up in Iraq — as an industry we lost over 3 million barrels a day of supply. During that same timeframe, however, the U.S. [domestic production] grew by 3 million barrels a day.”


How has U.S. oil production affected its reliance on imported oil?

“Our dependence on imports has been reduced dramatically, but you don’t want that to go to zero … We want to make sure that we import the kinds of material that our refineries are matched towards and export the kinds of material that aren’t matched to our typical refineries.”