Oil Execs Predict Changes to U.S. Energy

Article published in The Journal Record
September 23, 2009

Speaking Monday evening at a dinner sponsored by the International Energy Policy Conference, Oklahoma City oilman Robert Hefner III told a crowd of more than 100 that the country is deep in an energy transition. Hefner received the IEPC’s Lifetime Achievement Award for energy advocacy. The event was at Oklahoma Christian University.

Hefner, CEO of Oklahoma City-based GHK Exploration, a private natural gas exploration and production company, said the United States will eventually take its energy platform from liquid-based energy to a gas-based future.

“Energy is everything,” he said. “The education of energy issues is the education of our lives.”

He said the world has progressed through several energy transitions, the first being wood, grass and other solid fuels.

“Now, we’re in a liquid transition,” he said. “And liquid peaked at 48 percent in the ’70s. With the cost of oil, we will eventually phase it out on a global scale.”

Hefner, who recently published a book about the world’s energy markets, said the third phase of the transition is energy gases.

“America alone has produced 15 to 20 billion tons of CO2 emissions and they didn’t have to be here,” he said. “We need to accelerate this transition to a clean source of energy.”

Hefner predicted that natural gas would be the bridge the energy sector would use to eventually transition to a hydrogen-based energy system.

“U.S. civilization’s destiny is to use hydrogen to live sustainably on Earth,” he said.

However, Hefner cautioned the country could not leapfrog to a noncarbon economy.

“Again, it’s natural gas,” Hefner said. “Our energy security could be built on natural gas. There are 2.2 million miles of natural gas pipeline. The infrastructure is there.”