JULY, 2011

Several times a month, the wife and I have dinner at the Petroleum Club of Houston. Looking out from the 43rd Floor across the wide-scape of Houston there is a constant flow of automobiles coming in on and going out on the Gulf Freeway and State Highway 288. I get recharged on how important our industry is to the nation and, in fact, to the world. At this time, there is no substitute for oil and gas as an energy creator. It is the dominate provider.

There is talk about the soon to arrive electric automobile which is expected in November with the General Motors Volt electric car. General Motors hopes to sell 45,000 in 2011. It appears to be a lot of "blue sky" in their forecast for a compact car that must be plugged in every night and can go only 40 miles a charge before its internal combustion engine burning premium gasoline cranks up. So far, less expensive hybrid cars than the costly Volt at $40,000 plus tax, title, and license have barely gotten two percent of the total market in the decade where such vehicles have been available. Demand for electric cars is unproven. The $8,000 battery which must be recharged every night is a mighty deterrent. I hear the vehicles are not air-conditioned.

There are about 250 million cars, vans, trucks, and busses running in the United States. What if even half of that 250 million were to become electric cars. At present there is no infrastructure to handle the volume of electricity needed to recharge the battery. Can you imagine the frustration created if half the automobiles in Houston were plugged in to recharge. It likely would blow every transformer in Harris County and not only fail to charge the vehicle but put us all in the dark as well.

So, oil and gas will be the major energy source and we will never run out. As present supplies deplete, the price of the commodity will increase. Then other sources of energy will develop. And it likely will be electric and the price and size of the $8,000 battery will have to come down and electric service stations created to service the fleet. And the local electric utility will have to improve and be dependable to support the nightly recharging operations. This will occur gradually.

So looking out the window seeing the flow of autos gives satisfaction that our industry will be around for a long time. As mentioned, we will not run out of oil and gas but eventually use it in a different way. It will become too expensive to continue burning it up in internal combustion engines.

Keep Big "6" Drilling in mind for your drilling needs.

Chester B. Benge, Jr.