Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

03/31/2010 (5:54 pm)

Revisiting Some Thoughts on Oil Drilling

The Obama administration exercised the Democratic party’s penchant for symbolic gestures by allowing drilling offshore of Virginia — and leaving drilling offshore in Alaska, most of the Gulf of Mexico, most of the Western seacoast, and most of the Eastern seaboard off-limits. This small offer of drilling leases is a good thing for Virginia, but nowhere near what we should be doing. Typical of Democratic party policy, Obama’s move was for public relations only.

Just so we can keep the details of the issue in view, here are a few thoughts and factoids about drilling for oil in America.

  • Screw energy independence. We don’t need energy independence any more than we need steel independence, titanium independence, or fruit independence. Ours is an economically interdependent world.
  • US oil production has no impact one way or the other on the ability of Islamic radicals to wage international jihad. Income to middle eastern nations from oil sales would not even experience a hiccup if we stopped buying crude oil from them altogether.
  • The US trade deficit, the difference between what the US imports and what it exports, is negative in excess of $700 billion. The amount of oil and oil products we import from foreign nations was around $400 billion for 2008. Any questions why we should be drilling as much of our own oil as possible?
  • Can you imagine what the tax revenue on $400 billion in oil production would be, if we could produce that here in the US? Any other questions why we should be drilling as much of our own oil as possible?
  • Two of the three nations from which the US imports the most oil are Canada and Mexico. If you know anything about geology, you can imagine what this says about possible resources in the continental US.
  • Actually, US oil production overall is about equal to Canada’s and Mexico’s combined. However, what we’re capable of producing is a great deal higher.
  • Official figures for oil reserves include only those reserves for which estimates are available based on current technology. The US has extensive oil resources in Rocky Mountain shale that does not show up as “known reserves,” because oil extraction from shale is experimental. Shell Oil has a process for extracting oil from shale at a cost of around $25/barrel, that does not require extensive water resources and leaves the rock intact. How much oil does the US have in this form? Current known world reserves are around 1.2 trillion barrels. Estimates for US oil in Rocky Mountain shale, just from Colorado, Utah, and Nevada, come in at around 1.8 trillion barrels. You read that correctly; what the US has in oil shale exceeds the world’s known reserves by a factor of 1.5.
  • Oil companies are currently prevented from developing US oil shale resources by — guess.
  • The main reason Democrats want to restrict oil production is to force the US to develop sources of energy that do not rely on fossil fuels. They want to do this because they imagine that fossil fuels are destroying the environment, by generating large volumes of CO². They think it causes global warming. They don’t seem to have been paying attention as the entire global climate change edifice came tumbling down over the last 6 months.
  • Even if there was some truth to the notion that burning fossil fuels endangered the planet’s climatic system (there is a little, but not very much,) the marginal amount of CO² that the US would produce if it were permitted to drill its own oil is not enough to make a meaningful difference in the total atmospheric CO² load. Even assuming that Democrats’ notions are true, restraining oil production helps nothing.
  • Arguments claiming we should stop using oil products because the world has already reached peak oil productivity assume that world energy users are too stupid to foresee their own requirements into the future. If oil production peaks, prices will rise; if prices rise, alternatives will become financially attractive; if alternatives are financially attractive, people will use them. Alternatives are already being developed, and have been since the 1970s. There is not a single, sane reason why anybody should need to artificially increase the price of anything to force changes, as the changes will occur — and in fact, occur more effectively — without government help.
  • No “renewable” source of energy promises to contribute any significant amount of production without enormous government subsidies; this is the best indication possible that alternatives are not ready for wide-spread use. Relying on “renewable” energy sources is the surest way to guarantee energy shortages and national government deficits for decades to come.
  • Fossil fuels remain the most popular source of energy in western industry for the simple reason that fossil fuels are still, by far, the most plentiful, most readily available, simplest, most efficient, most effective source of large-scale energy known to mankind.
  • For the record, the amount of known uranium reserves in the world are not sufficient to support producing 100% of the US’ current electrical demand using nuclear power.

Short summary of all of the above: Democrats have not the slightest clue what they are doing regarding energy policy, and the policies they have been pursuing for decades will starve the nation for energy for decades. Welcome to the Democrats 2nd Great Depression, produced deliberately. Thanks, Democrats.

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March 31, 2010 @ 6:05 pm #

Don’t know what to make of it. Leopards don’t change their spots…

Guess I’ll wait and see what comes.


April 1, 2010 @ 5:41 am #

My first thought when I heard that “Obama has opened (certain areas) for offshore drilling” was, “Does he think he’s a dictator?” The offshore drilling ban was passed by Congress, and Obama can’t just wave his hand and make that law go away.

April 1, 2010 @ 9:23 am #

Offshore drilling was OK’d by Congress last August. All that it requires for drilling to start is for the Executive branch to begin leasing federal land to developers. The Obama administration has been sitting on the leases, and probably will continue sitting on them until 2012, despite this false front announcement.

April 1, 2010 @ 11:05 am #

>>and probably will continue sitting on them until 2012>>

No doubt he’ll establish another committee (of his friends) to “evaluate” the territory and “consider” what and where leases should be permitted. My guess is that it’s going to take a lot of bucks – both from the feds to pay the committee members, and from the various oil companies – to help them decide.

If you think I suspect graft and corruption will be rampant, you’d be right.

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