Baker Hughes chairman says U.S. will face shale gas competition

As much as the shale boom has emboldened U.S. energy hawks in recent years, the industry needs to do more to educate the public and government about the merits of evolving technologies like hydraulic fracturing so resources can be tapped more aggressively in the future, the executive chairman of oilfield services firm Baker Hughes  said Tuesday.

Chad Deaton told hundreds of attendees at Deloitte’s oil and gas conference in Houston that there is going to be growing competition from other countries to exploit vast shale plays around the world, and the U.S. needs to keep its standing among the leaders.

He cited China, the Middle East and parts of Europe as areas with significant shale gas opportunities.

“It’s up to us,” Deaton said. “We have to let the government and the public know we are good citizens, we are protectors of the environment and we do create jobs.”

He said the industry still faces  great challenges  in meeting growing world energy needs. So, in addition to reasonable regulation, Deaton also called for the industry to continue to improve technology to produce natural gas at lower cost, and  therefore be able to increase profit while offering gas low-priced gas to consumers.

“We have to figure out technically how we can do this differently,” he said. “Technology is the answer to this.”