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A Practical Look at the Major Differences Between Domestic and International Exploration Agreements

Frank L. Cascio, Jr., Proceedings of 43d Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1997)

The Industrial Revolution of the 1800s provided the impetus for unprecedented growth and development of the economies of Europe and the United States, and the global search for sufficient energy to fuel continued economic growth and insure national prosperity has intensified. Third world countries are desperate to catch up, creating a demand for even more energy. Most national governments now realize that a nation's ability to fuel its industries and provide its citizens with a reasonable (and rising) standard of living is a crucial element of political stability and even national survival. Wars have been lost and political ideologies have disappeared because a nation could not sustain its [12-3] energy appetite.1

Although many alternative energy sources have been evaluated and tested in the last few decades, fossil fuels remain the world's primary energy source and are expected to remain so well into the next century. With continued economic growth predicted worldwide, and explosive growth expected for the Pacific Rim, the challenge to discover, produce, and deliver economic sources of energy is formidable.

The politics of oil and gas has been the topic of countless books and articles, and this paper will not focus on that issue. Instead, it will accept the belief prevailing in the oil patch in the 1980s that all of the elephants had already been discovered