Michel T. Halbouty
Low-cost energy is gone forever. The United States will have to convert from petroleum (oil and gas) to other, less convenient, and certainly more costly, energy sources. If our petroleum reserves are depleting as fast as some prognosticators say, development and use of several alternative energy sources are mandatory. No one particular resource can make the United States self-sufficient; it will require a balanced assortment of many energy sources.
Petroleum, coal, and nuclear energy are the only immediate sources in sufficient supply to permit lead time to develop and produce others. It is deplorable that 15 years ago other forms of energy were not researched and developed for ample production now to eliminate our large dependence on foreign oil.
As we look ahead for types of energy other than petroleum, we must consider all forms of nuclear power, solar power, coal gasification and liquefaction, geothermal energy, oil shale and tar sands, hydro- and tidal power, wind energy, and bioconversion of urban waste and animal manure. Considerable research into the various problems surrounding additional energy sources is needed. However, even after economic, environmental, production, and development problems are solved most of these sources will require lead times of 10 to 25 years, and even more for the the more exotic forms. The combined immediate sources of oil, gas, coal, and nuclear power will supply the major part of our energy needs into the first decade of the next century.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90968©1977 AAPG-SEPM Annual Convention and Exhibition, Washington, DC