Thursday, June 19, 2008
"NEW YORK (September 15, 2005) -- Nearly six million gallons of oil pouring out of seven pipelines and coastal storage tanks ruptured by Hurricane Katrina amount to one of the largest U.S. oil spills in history. Yet despite this disaster-within-a-disaster, lawmakers in Washington are saying we should open up vast new areas of our nation's shoreline to more coastal oil drilling, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
"These spills should be a clear reminder of the inevitable risks that come with coastal drilling, especially in areas prone to hurricanes and tropical storms," said Lisa Speer, senior policy analyst at the NaturalResources Defense Council and an expert on marine environments. "Katrina is a giant warning sign for anyone thinking about coastal oil production in their area."
Now about the drilling itself and the supposed panacea it offers us as far as the current GOP meme informs us. The problem with this is those stubborn facts keep getting in the way of their so called new policy for allowing the oil companies to drill until their hearts content wherever and whenever. First let's take a look at demand:
"The world economy depends upon the flow of oil, not the oil that remains in the ground. The fact is, more than 50 nations are now past their peak in oil production: Mexico, Norway, UK, USA, Russia, perhaps even Saudi Arabia to name a few. If you use ExxonMobil's estimate for the decline rate from these existing wells (-6%), then from now until 2017, we need to find and develop 37 million barrels per day of additional crude production just to stay even with what we consume today. That assumes no growth in demand for oil. That is the equivalent of finding FOUR Saudi Arabias. Does anyone think we have overlooked resources of that size and quality?"
"World oil production has been flat for three years. America's oil refineries are configured to refine light sweet crude and are currently operating at 88% capacity and paying a premium for this short supply. There is no point for the Middle East, the only region that may have spare capacity, to increase production of heavy sour crudes until new refineries are built or existing refineries have been modified.
"Three fourths of the world's oil and gas wells have already been drilled in North America. Our continent is so heavily explored that it looks like swiss cheese. Eighty percent of the oil available on the Outer Continental Shelf is already open to leasing and drilling. Will opening the remaining 20 percent make any difference when it takes 5-10 years to bring any new oil discoveries to market?
"The New York Times reports today that the Iraqi government will soon announce the award of no-bid oil service contracts with a coalition of western oil companies, marking the first legal agreement between big oil and the post-Saddam Iraqi government...."
"...[The] companies and the Bush Administration for years pushed the Iraqis to accept a so-called Hydrocarbon Law that would permit Production Sharing Agreements for the oil companies. That was among the so-called "benchmarks" that Bush enumerated at the outset of the "surge" in early 2006."
"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Tuesday blocked debate of a bill to offer about $17.7 billion in tax incentives for consumers to build renewable energy sources like windmills and solar arrays, and buy plug-in cars that run on electricity rather than gasoline.
The Energy Independence and Tax Relief Act of 2008 would have extended a tax credit to build windmills by one year through December 31, 2009, and extend for three years similar credits for renewable energy sources like biomass, geothermal, landfill gas and trash combustion."