Posted by: endithinks | September 1, 2008

On Drill drill drill

McCain is obsessed with drilling off shore a proposal he was against before he was for it.  Here are some facts about the non benefits of off shore drilling from http://www.dailykos.com

Drilling in America: 5 numbers you should know

Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 12:26:43 PM PDT

Now that we know McCain’s running mate, it is more clear than ever what McCain’s energy policy is: drill here, there, and everywhere, and do it now.  McCain the maverick loves Big Oil only slightly less than Bush and Cheney do, and Palin loves them at least as much.
Their talking points will be, of course, that evil liberals and environmentalists are preventing energy exploration at home; that there is plenty of oil in the U.S.; and that the surest way to solve our energy problems is to drill and drill some more.  McCain will also claim that he is a big supporter of alternative energy as well.
I’m here to tell you that this whole storyline is phony, and what’s more, it is relatively easy to demonstrate that it is phony.  There are just 5 numbers you need to know to smack down drilling advocates.  By the way, I’ve read this site for years, but only joined and started posting comments recently, and this is my first attempt at a diary.  Hope you find this useful.

The first number: 9.3 billion.
That’s the United States Geological Survey estimate for “technically recoverable, undiscovered oil” in NPR.  What’s that, you say? That’s the National Petroleum Reserve (not to be confused with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).  If you look this up you will discover that it is a large chunk of Alaskan real estate with a lot of oil under it.  Kind of like ANWR – except that the NPR is DESIGNATED for oil exploration and production, and hundreds of thousands of acres have already been leased out by the Federal government for that purpose, and exploration has already taken place, and oil has been discovered.  Here’s the USGS document providing the details.  NPR has as much or more oil than ANWR, according to the USGS.  They do also say that the oil in ANWR is more economical to recover at prices below $30-$35 per barrel.  With oil closing back in on $120/barrel as of this writing, I’d say that’s not much of an issue.

The second number: 68,000,000.
That’s the number of acres currently leased for oil and gas exploration and production in the U.S., that are NOT being explored and put into production by oil and gas companies.  Here is just one of the many articles you can find on this issue with a quick Google search.  About half of the unused leases are offshore, and almost all of that is in the Gulf of Mexico, which is in fact where almost all of our offshore oil is believed to be.  So don’t listen to wacky right-wingers who try to say “But they’re unused because they don’t have any oil!”  Does anyone believe that companies would buy up these leases unless they thought they might be profitable?  That would certainly go against the profit motive.

The third number: 53,558.
That’s the number of oil and gas wells drilled in the United States (onshore and offshore) in 2007.  Again: more than fifty thousand wells drilled last year.  See this document from the Energy Information Agency of the Department of Energy.  The only times when we were drilling similar or larger numbers of wells were in the early 80’s (Alaskan oil exploration) and in the 50’s (before the EPA and the modern environmental movement even existed).  Think about it: we are drilling just as many wells as we did before the EPA even existed.  Those evil environmentalists sure are effective at blocking domestic energy exploration, aren’t they?

The fourth number: 1970.
That is the year in which United States oil production peaked.  The ever-helpful Energy Information Agency provides this data on annual oil production.  Note that our oil production at home has gone relentlessly downhil since then, DESPITE the fact that we drilled in Alaska and produced billions of barrels, and drilled in the Gulf of Mexico and produced billions of barrels.  The truth is, there is simply not much oil left to find in the U.S.  The big fields that are easy to find have all been found and drilled.  Does anyone think we would even be talking about drilling through miles of rock that is underneath thousands of feet of water, if there were big pools of easdy-to-reach oil lying around untapped all over the place?

The fifth number: 62%.
That is about the percentage of our oil consumption that we import from other countries today.  Here is a brief article and nifty graphic from the Center for American Progress on this issue.  If you’ve stuck with me this long, you’ve probably realized that there is no way any amount of oil exploration and drilling here in the U.S. can eliminate our need for imports.  None.  It is impossible – at least at current levels of consumption.  And that is why we need an energy policy that is not obsessed with drilling, but instead focused on the development and promotion of any and all alternatives, from solar to wind to (yes) nuclear to stricter energy efficiency standards and gas mileage standards to plug-in hybrids and electric cars.  Obama offers that; McCain and Palin don’t.

9.3 billion. 68,000,000.  55,000.  1970.  62%. Memorize these numbers.  Use them.  Hit conservatives over the head with them.  As you already know, reality has a liberal bias.  Have them at your fingertips to argue effectively.  For example:
Right-winger: We have to drill here, now, offshore, to solve our energy problems!
You: But there were 55,000 oil and gas wells drilled in the United States last year. 55,000!  Obviously, more drilling isn’t going to help us find enough oil to meet all our energy needs.
Right-winger: But environmentalists won’t let us drill offshore!  And they won’t let us drill in ANWR!
You: But there are tens of millions of acres in the Gulf of Mexico that are already leased for energy exploration.  Why don’t the oil companies explore those areas, instead of demanding that we open up new areas?  That’s where most of our remaining oil reserves are!
Right-winger: But…but…what about ANWR?
You: Instead of ANWR, why don’t we drill in NPR?
Right-winger: What?
You: N-P-R.  It’s the National Petroleum Reserve.  It’s in Alaska.  It has billions of barrels of oil – just as much as ANWR – and it’s already designated for oil exploration and production.

At this point, the conversation will most likely end up where it usually does:
Right-winger: Why do you hate America so much?
But you get the point.  We must be ready – with facts, figures, information – to show why the Obama/Biden ticket will take American energy policy in the right direction, and the McCain/Palin ticket will not.

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