Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, told Congress this week he worries that oil companies may use the Persian Gulf war as an excuse to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Instead, he says they should work on "Enhanced Oil Recovery" systems that would allow recovering more oil from existing wells - including possibly a billion barrels in Utah."Sadly in the rush to find new energy resources, some want to invade the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other environmental jewels with oil and gas development. Many forget that 70 percent of all the oil we have ever discovered remains untapped in existing wells," Owens said in a floor speech.

"Enhanced Oil Recovery, or EOR, involved innovative techniques that increase oil and gas recovery from existing petroleum reserves. Known EOR technologies can produce another 80 billion barrels of domestic oil - almost 50 percent of all the oil ever produced in the United States.

"Petroleum engineers predict more than a billion barrels of oil will be recovered in Utah with technological advances and economic incentives."

He urged Congress to stop giving tax breaks to companies who want to drill in the arctic refuge, and "redirect our efforts to encourage domestic oil production in areas of existing development" as an "environmentall safe alternative to increase energy security."

Owens said he worries that if Congress does not act soon, "two-thirds of the remaining oil in place may soon be lost due to well abandonment.

"A delay in pursuing Enhanced Oil Recovery will be a decision to forever lose 325 billion barrels of proven oil reserves and with it any hope of energy security," Owens said.