NPC group hopes to complete transportation fuels study next year

A National Petroleum Council committee looking at needs for future transportation fuel will require more time to complete its work, its chairman told council members during a recent meeting. At the same meeting, NPC members approved another study calling for prudent development of North American oil and gas resources.

“We said from the beginning that this is a complex and far-reaching issue,” said Clarence P. Cazalot Jr., who also is Marathon Oil Corp.’s chief executive. “As a result, it will take a little longer than we expected to complete it, but we hope to have a final version by the spring of next year and June 1 at the latest.”

Linda A. Capuano, Marathon’s vice-president of technology who chairs the study’s coordinating subcommittee, said US Sec. of Energy Steven Chu asked for an examination of future transportation fuel prospects through 2050 for auto, truck, air, rail, and waterborne transport that addresses fuel demand, supply, infrastructure, and technology.

“At its heart, this is a technology study,” she said, adding, “It will advise on policy options and pathways for integrated new fuels and vehicles into the marketplace, including infrastructure development. It also will address the transition to an expanded suite of reliable, secure, and clean, low-carbon transportation fuels; and evaluate options, risks, and consequences.”

Chu, who attended the NPC’s Sept. 15 meeting, said he was looking forward to the report. Finding workable and economic alternatives to petroleum for transportation fuels is going to take decades, he observed. “If you look back, you’ll find energy goals such as reducing oil imports transcend administrations and annual budgets,” Chu said. “Your industry will have to be closely involved in this because it will do the actual implementation.”

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