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back to article US Congress votes for some offshore oil relaxations

The US Congress has voted to end America's ban on offshore oil and gas drilling in the face of rising petrol prices. However the White House is resisting the Democrats' energy package, saying it will stifle the oil industry. Reuters reports that the Democrat-controlled lower house passed the proposed measures by 236 votes to 189 …

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Bush on the ball as ever

"At a time when American families are in need of genuine relief from the effects of high fuel prices, this bill purports to open access to American energy sources while in reality taking actions to stifle development,"

Which means - assuming they find any substantial fields, the first trickle of new oil coming ashore sometime around 2015. By which time American demand for crude will have grown so much and US onshore production fallen so far, they'll be importing even more oil.

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Let's go...

pump that there black gold boys!

Yee Haw!

<Texan accent/>

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Boffin

Burns Slant Drilling co.

What they need to do is have the installation onshore with a sneaky curved well which drills offshore ala http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/highlands_and_islands/7486949.stm

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Pirate

RE: Mike Richards

Which of course completely ignores the fact that Chinese and African demands for fuel - which are currently driving the oil shortage - will have risen at a much faster rate, and will have increased the worldwide demand exponentially, or did you think they're just going to stop using fuel because Obama will ask them nicely if he gets to be Prez? Or the fact that the Democrat-controlled Congress has been resisting any form of added US oil production for so long the US could have had the extra fuel required to keep prices down as long ago as 2006 and definately by this summer, so the debateable 2013 date is also the Dem's fault.

Drilling offshore or onshore (or stimulating US companies to produce oil from oil-shale) is also about securing supply as at the moment there are less than friendly people controlling the majority of the Southern American oilfields, large chunks of the Middle Eastern oilfields, and the majority of the Far Eastern oilfields (yes, I know, the standard libtard response to this is to devaite into an "iraq is just Bushitlerhaliburton trying to control world oil" diatribe, but resist the impulse for as it will just make the rest of us laugh harder at you). Just look at the mess the UK government along with most of the other European governments have gotten us into by letting Russia control our gas supplies let alone being dependent on the Middle East for most of our oil. This latest bill is just the Dems trying to look like they're doing something whilst making sure it will have zero appeal to the oil companies and therefore do nothing at all. I am seriously puzzled as to why the Dems seem so determined to stall any form of drilling in the US, they seem further out of whack than even the twits we have in Gordon Brown NuLabour.

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Paris Hilton

@ Mike Richards

You're right about the oil coming in at around 2015. Some have said it could be done faster, but 7 years is a pretty good ball park. Still, because oil price is so heavily speculated (and thus volatile), the prospect of 15 - 20 billion barrels of oil coming out of the US in the "relatively" near future could drive prices down, or spur some current oil producers to increase production.

Our democratically controlled congress is full of inept morons whose only job is to ensure that they have a job come election time... they don't really care about the people, they just think saying that they do will get them elected. Hence their approval rating is in the teens.

Drill damnit!!!! It's good for the entire world's population!!!

Paris, because a little fun is also good for everyone.

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Tom
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@Mike Richards

And given that the Dems still won't allow drilling in the region where 80% of the reserves are known to be, the odds of hitting the oil are slim in any event.

Of course Bush should veto the bill, not so that Congress will have to pass a better bill, but because the current regs expire at the end of October anyway, at which point he gets everything he wants and the Dems get nothing.

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@ Matt Bryant

'Which of course completely ignores the fact that Chinese and African demands for fuel - which are currently driving the oil shortage - will have risen at a much faster rate, and will have increased the worldwide demand exponentially, or did you think they're just going to stop using fuel because Obama will ask them nicely if he gets to be Prez?'

No, I was pointing out that any extra oil from the US offshore fields will do nothing to improve American energy security.

With over 1 million wells drilled, North America is a mature region for oil and gas exploration and the potential for huge new reserves are very small. Proven reserves are around 21 billion barrels (sounds a lot, but it's only 3 years of total US demand).

If you add the Federal Outer Continental Shelf, the 1002 area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska, and the Bakken Formation in North-Dakota/Montana you can get up to 134 billion barrels of TECHNICALLY recoverable crude. However, technically recoverable does not mean it will be ECONOMICALLY recoverable, nor does it discuss the RATE that oil can be recovered from those resources. So a good portion of US oil will never be as cheap as competing sources from the Middle East, Nigeria or Central and South America. And then you're into markets - will the US legislate to exclude cheaper oil from their markets.

'or stimulating US companies to produce oil from oil-shale'

Ah that old canard - oil shale. Shale oil was supposedly economic when oil was above $50ppb, and yet it is still not being recovered. And why is that? Geography. To make one barrel of shale oil on the surface you need anything between one and five barrels of water. The majority of US shale deposits lie in the Green River Formation in the Rocky Mountains. The Green River is a tributary of the Colorado, a river which is already over-committed for other uses - such as keeping people alive.

Sub-surface retorting is an alternative, but it is a potentially huge hazard to ground water quality (see above). All methods of making shale oil produce large amounts of CO2 and SO2 and create vast quantities of waste material. So it's actually even less clean than coal.

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Stop

@ Mike Richards

It doesn't matter how long it takes to get the oil or how much comes out in the end. The point is that banning drilling hurts us more than not banning it, PERIOD. Why is this such a hard concept?

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@ Dustin Marquess

Reduce, reuse and recycle.

Now which bit of that did you miss again ?

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Paris Hilton

@ AC

None of it? Believe it or not, we can still work on alternative energy while we drill for oil. Not all of us have problems multi-tasking. Hell even Paris gets it!

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Basic Market Factors

If you're selling a product/resource and someone else starts selling it, but the new party doesn't have as much of the product as you - what do you do?

Well, in a globalized market you stop selling as much of yours, which keeps the overall price up and actually increases your profits because you don't have to do as much work. Then when the new player fizzles out you just go back to the way things were before.

The U.S. does not have the oil reserves or capacity to have a controlling impact on the price of oil.

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Anonymous Coward

So

So what is wrong with the millions of in-shore drilling areas that the oil companies can currently drill in but haven't?

Off-shore drilling won't produce any additional oil, it is only a way for the oil companies to have more options right now rather than waiting until the future.

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Me want NOW.

"All methods of making shale oil produce large amounts of CO2 and SO2 and create vast quantities of waste material. So it's actually even less clean than coal."

No one gives a crap as long as they can burn it in their SUV.

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Happy

RE: Mike Richards - part d'uh

"....No, I was pointing out that any extra oil from the US offshore fields will do nothing to improve American energy security...." Hmmmm, oil from US, with no external parties involved, versus oil from Iraq where the pipeline could be blown, or the Iranians could start another tanker war; or oil from Venezula where Chavez could decide to outlaw oil exports to countries he deems "unfriendly", a very likely scenario given his illogical practices so far; or oil from Burma, which could trun round and promise all its supply to China for political favours... Oh yeah, you really thought that one through - NOT!

"....With over 1 million wells drilled, North America is a mature region for oil and gas exploration and the potential for huge new reserves are very small. Proven reserves are around 21 billion barrels...." Even the US oil companies aren't sure what's there since the Dems won't let them even look, but I have seen projections with much larger figures. I guess it comes down to which set of figures you'd rather believe, and you obviously believe the ones coming from Greenpeace or the like.

"....(sounds a lot, but it's only 3 years of total US demand)...." Who said it had to meet the whole US demand? Are you assuming that nobody will sell the US oil in the future? Even if it supplied 20% of US needs per year it would massively reduce the pump price through simple supply and demand economics. Oh, right, I forgot - Dems don't get that eekohnomix thingummy. You guys may even be WORSE than Gordon Brown!

"....Shale oil was supposedly economic when oil was above $50ppb, and yet it is still not being recovered...." Actually, when it hit $75pb several small companies did re-open family shale facilities as for them it was economic. However, to produce on a large scale would need more water as you say, but as has been pointed out, several trans-continental pipeline projects have been completed to pump oil out of regions, so it wouldn't be so hard to build a similar pipeline to ship water in. All that would be needed would be a little investment and maybe some incentives. Sorry, I forgot again, the Dems are too busy building bridges to nowhere to bother with ideas like water pipelines.

The shale oil fields in Colorado contain an estimated 3 trillion barrels of oil, which is about the rest of the world's conventional oil resources put together. At some point, even if the US does somehow magically convert itself to a non-oil economy (nuke stations and electric cars?), it will be many years before the expanding Third World catches up. So, even if that shale oil is not used by the US for internal supply it can be exported as other oil resources drop off, which means it becomes a big plus in the balance of import-export figures. It would seem sensible to start looking at ways to extract it now. Oops, sorry, forgot that the Dems like Obama can't see further than the next election.

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@ Mike Richards

>>>I was pointing out that any extra oil from the US offshore fields will do nothing to improve American energy security.

You're suggesting that drilling won't matter because by the time its oil arrives, demand will be even higher. This argument is contingent on one glaring fallacy. It assumes that the demand won't increase if we don't drill.

Say for example, current demand is 100 barrels per day. Say in 2015 demand will be 200 barrels per day.

Let's also say that current production is 120 barrels per day.

Finally let's say that drilling would produce 15 barrels per day.

So you have a choice, in 2015, you can have 120 barrels a day, or you can have 135 barrels a day. Which one do you think will result in a lower price per barrel?

Greater supply = lower price, even if demand is even higher. No one is saying oil will be cheaper in 2015 than it is now, if we drill. What we're saying is that if we drill now, oil will be cheaper in 2015 than it would have been otherwise.

Stephen Colbert actually did a really good job explaining it:

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/179263/august-13-2008/formidable-opponent---offshore-drilling

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Offshore oil relaxation?

Give me a break! 97% of the known offshore reserves are within 50 miles! They're "relaxing" offshore drilling by allowing us to drill in 3% of the known offshore reserves... and by permanently making the rest off limits. How is that relaxation, really?

Furthermore, those punks in congress put out that 480 page bill the night before the planned vote! Nobody has had a chance to fully review it yet to see what sort of crap they packed into the fine print.

I don't have a problem with most democrats. Aside from the infanticide, I don't even have a problem with democratic ideals. But the democratic party is corrupt from the top down.

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re: offshore relaxation

The reserves are not even a years' consumption, so the price of oil worldwide will be unaffected by the drilling offfshore.

So what's the difference between 97% of bugger all and 3% of bugger all?

Bugger all.

Now add in that people in the US are pissed off at offshore windfarms (spoil the landscape don'tchaknow), why is a freaking oil platform (and pipe and anceillaries and the clean up) OK?

Because the oil industry makes money from it?

If you don't work for them, that shouldn't make a difference.

Remember, you do have your own sunlight, wind and waves to produce power if you want.

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Pirate

RE: Mark

You are so blinded by the Goracle visions you seem to forget that the economy of the Western world depends on oil - in fact, it's needed by all the world's economies. I suspect even you have a need for it, even if you don't realise it. So, you advocate making it harder for oil companies to extract oil and make a profit? Which of course means they will charge more for oil, making it harder on all of us (you included). Because the simple truth is we can't become non-oil economies overnight (especially not the US) because Greenpecker idiots like yourself just don't want us to have any viable means of energy generation - especially nucleur - because your own fantasies don't allow for reasoned scientific debate of development. Maybe you're just a masochist, but I and many others (and that probably includes the majority of US voters) will want that extra oil, and couldn't give a damn if it means mroe profits for oil companies if it means they can live easier. And more oil profits means more tax money into the US coffers - winenrs all round, except for you masochists.

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re: Matt Bryant

Nope, not.

You're binding yourself too tightly to the neo-con oilman ideal.

Remember, you don't have a RIGHT to profit, just to liberty and happiness.

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