Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Michael Ramirez


Charles D said...

Perhaps you'd like to read a different view on this from the Informed Comment blog. To quote,
"If all the known offshore fields were drilled and panned out, the lower 48's oil production would be increased by 7%. That would be 300,000 barrels a day...0.3 million barrels a day would make very little difference whatsoever to current oil prices even if it could be brought online right now. It would be a matter of a few pennies...You will note that the Saudis just offered to increase their production by 0.5 million barrels a day, and the oil futures market just yawned. And that is in the real world, right now, not in some decade or two-decades-out in the future drilling scheme."

The drill everywhere scheme is just politics. There are places in the US now where the oil companies could drill, but they aren't. They could have built more refineries, but instead they closed some. It's not government policy that is preventing lower gas prices, it is greed.

As Professor Cole says, "If the US depended more on trains and increased automobile and truck fuel efficiency, it could reduce its use of petroleum by millions of barrels a day, which would have a stupendous impact on oil prices compared to what could be achieved from offshore drilling."

Cameron said...

Who said off shore drilling was all we do? Because that's what your link is arguing against.

Fine. Off shore drilling alone won't solve energy prices. Neither will conservation alone. Or alternative fuels alone.

As the political cartoon shows, and as Orson Scott Card argued, there isn't one thing that'll fix it, but there are many things that we can do if only people like Juan Cole would let us. He argues that we shouldn't get the oil we know is there because China and India are using more and more so what's the point. Uh, someone's gotta produce energy or prices will double and triple - again.

Don't preach to me about "conservation" when gas prices have doubled in a year and half, and utility prices are expected to skyrocket this winter. I bought a car that gets almost 40 mpg - and my gasoline bill is still more now than it was when I bought it. And now I have a car payment.

Also from your link:

"the devastation in Wisconsin, Iowa and Mississipi from extreme weather events like flooding is where the US, and the world is going if McCain wins this argument. And McCain has the gall to say he is worried about global warming!"

That's what this is really about. It has nothing to do with not enough off shore oil to make a difference. It's about obstructing every single energy source that doesn't conform to global warming mandates. Who cares if Americans go bankrupt, or if Africans starve - we've got to stop global warming.

Unfortunately, if Juan Cole is correct that Chinese and Indian oil consumption is going to continue to skyrocket, then we're all doomed from global warming anyway. So, to use his logic, what's the point of conserving if it's not going to make a difference?

Charles D said...

What we have to do is first determine why gas prices are rising at such a rapid pace. There are a lot of factors - oil price hikes, oil price speculation (particularly affected by US threats against oil producing nations), lack of refinery capacity, foreign competition, increased transportation costs, the falling dollar, and probably outright corporate greed.

Of the many options available to address these, opening new fields to oil exploration is probably the least effective. Action to control speculation (halting needless saber-rattling against Iran and Venezuela and working with the G8 to impose sensible regulation on speculators) would be the first quick hit. Increasing domestic refining capacity is another.

Over the mid to longer term, we can achieve a great deal more reduction in our dependence on foreign imports through conservation, sane transportation policies, and subsidized research and development than we can by drilling. Also none of those methods have irreversible negative consequences.

The two overarching issues however, are global warming and peak oil. The world cannot sustain the current levels of fossil-fuel usage both because of the impact on the environment and the limited supply. The sooner we deal with these issues the better. An energy policy focused on new oil exploration is a risky diversion with little real benefit.

Cameron said...

Ah, domestic refining. Good point. Now if only we had been allowed to build any over the last 30 years. Or if anyone would let us build one today.

Which is exactly the point. These are obvious solutions that no one will let us do.

Anonymous said...

Or.. if we had been "allowed" to pursue alternative sources 30 years ago. Just an obvious solution that only conservatives are against.

Cameron said...

Wrong again Anon. Thirty years ago, as well as today, alternative sources couldn't do it alone. There is not a single alternative energy source that can make a dent in our needs. Should they be developed anyway as a part of a wide array of energy sources? Of course. But guess what. The same people who don't want oil also won't let us develop alternatives.