No matter what you call it - a gas [WORD ILLEGIBLE] a bubble, or simply a bad case of an "overdeliverability situation," as most oilmen prefer to describe it, the nation's natural gas surplus has raised some embarrassing problems for image-conscious oil companies.
"They are embarrassed because they can't explain it," said Bill Adams, Phillips Petroleum Co.'s top public relations executive.
To turn this around, one of the industry's most effective lobbying arms, the Natural Gas Supply Committee, has called a meeting in Houston today to develop a glut, bubble, or "overdeliverability" PR strategy. A memo ciculated by the committee said the purpose of the meeting is "to explore possible remedies for the current gas glut debate."
Some oilmen have been concerned about the public's impression of the surplus situation, now the President Carter has signed a new gas bill giving the industry increased prices and profits. In recent years the oil industry cut off some gas deliveries while arguing in Congress that higher prices were necessary to increase gas supplies.
Adams, who heads the Natural Gas Supply Committee's public information subcommittee, says, "I am going to Houston to come up with some answers and to discuss what the different companies are saying about the so-called glut."
Phillips, at least so far, is not short of explanations. "We admit there is this bubble," Adams said in a telephone interview, citing a number of reasons, including the effects of conservation and reductions in industrial gas use. Adams concluded by saying "we are producing less than we were in 1973 - what we have today is a temporary surplus of deliverability."