Archive for May 28th, 2010

At a presser yesterday, the President once again put St. Alinsky to the test, and decided to not let a crisis go to waste.

Speaking about the Deepwater Horizon oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, he crafted together falsehoods, half-truths, and the images of oil slicks and darkened beaches and sea life to make a cynical statement in support of alternative energy.

“The fact that oil companies now have to go a mile underwater and then drill another three miles below that, in order to hit oil, tells us something about the direction of the oil industry,” he said. “Extraction is more expensive and it is going to be inherently more risky.”

This conveniently ignores the matter of what entity and its increasingly onerous and nonsensical regulations make deepwater drilling necessary. 

“And so that’s part of the reason you never heard me say drill, baby, drill. Because we can’t drill our way out of the problem,” he said.

Because the years of practical experience he has in making energy policy and in oil exploration has made this abundantly clear to him.

The president said that “the easily accessible oil has already been sucked up out of the ground” – which means that “moving forward, the technology gets more complicated, the oil sources are more remote, and that means that there’s probably going to end up being more risk.”

Except that it hasn’t. 

The Minerals Management Service (MMS) estimates the Federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) contains between 66.6 and 115.1 billion barrels (10.59×10^9 and 18.30×10^9 m3) of undiscovered technically recoverable crude oil, with a mean estimate of 85.9 billion barrels (13.66×10^9 m3). The Gulf of Mexico OCS ranks first with a mean estimate of 44.9 billion barrels (7.14×10^9 m3), followed by Alaska OCS with 38.8 billion barrels (6.17×10^9 m3). At $80/bbl crude prices, the MMS estimates that 70 billion barrels (11×10^9 m3) are economically recoverable. As of 2008, a total of about 574 million acres (2,320,000 km2) of the OCS are off-limits to leasing and development. The moratoria and presidential withdrawal cover about 85 percent of OCS area offshore the lower 48 states. The MMS estimates that the resources in OCS areas currently off limits to leasing and development total 17.8 billion barrels (2.83×10^9 m3)(mean estimate).[6]

And that’s just offshore.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimates undiscovered technically recoverable crude oil onshore in United States to be 48.5 billion barrels (7.71×10^9 m3) [7] [9] The last comprehensive National Assessment was completed in 1995. Since 2000 the USGS has been re-assessing basins of the U.S. that are considered to be priorities for oil and gas resources. Since 2000, the USGS has re-assessed 22 priority basins, and has plans to re-assess 10 more basins. These 32 basins represent about 97% of the discovered and undiscovered oil and gas resources of the United States. The three areas considered to hold the most amount of oil are the coastal plain (1002) area of ANWR, the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska, and the Bakken Formation.

Putting aside the concern for Alaskan wildlife (Remember how the pipeline was going to mean the end of the caribou?  Except that it didn’t.)  the Bakken Reserve is worth exploring.  Huge.  Onshore. Reserves.  In the continental U.S.

In April 2008, the USGS released a report giving a new resource assessment of the Bakken Formation underlying portions of Montana and North Dakota. The USGS believes that with new horizontal drilling technology there is somewhere between 3.0 and 4.5 billion barrels (480×10^6 and 720×10^6 m3) of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil in this 200,000 square miles (520,000 km2) formation that was initially discovered in 1951. If accurate, this reassessment would make it the largest “continuous” oil accumulation (The USGS uses “continuous” to describe accumulations requiring extensive artificial fracturing to allow the oil to flow to the borehole) ever discovered in the U.S.[9]

Never one to be deterred by inconvenient facts, the President pressed on to shill for a bill that will generate billions in B.S. tax dollars in the trading of carbon credits that will not lead to energy independence, nor will it affect climate change in any significant fashion, but it will make those who have invested in the carbon trading scam rich beyond the dreams of avarice as it weakens this country, thrashes our economy, and lowers our standard of living.

The president pointed to the Gulf disaster to make the case for the climate and energy bill being considered in Congress.

“More than anything else, this economic and environmental tragedy — and it’s a tragedy — underscores the urgent need for this nation to develop clean, renewable sources of energy,” said the president. “Doing so will not only reduce threats to our environment, we’ll create a new, homegrown American industry that can lead to countless new businesses and new jobs.”

Open and transparent.  From DAY ONE.  Except when he isn’t.

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