**Posted by Phineas
Via Walter Russell Mead, news of a big oil strike off the coast of French Guiana:
A consortium of energy companies Friday reported a large oil discovery off the coast of French Guiana, opening up a potentially massive frontier of petroleum development along the northern coast of South America.
The discovery, made by Tullow Oil PLC, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Total SA, could buoy hopes about the extent of the world’s untapped crude-oil reserves. Most of the barrels still underground are believed to be in the hands of a few countries that restrict access or are trapped in hard-to-exploit regions like the Arctic.
It’s estimated that 3.5 billion barrel of oil lie untapped at the site, though how much can be recovered remains to be seen. Nonetheless, this is a big find, comparable to estimates to the Bakken formation in the US. And its location makes it a double-boon for America, as Mead explains:
America’s geopolitical good luck seems to be continuing in the 21st century. With very large deposits in Canada, the Gulf, Mexico, Venezuela and offshore Brazil, the US looks to have the most stable and secure oil supplies of any major world power. Throw in new reserves here and the vast natural gas resources we keep finding, and the US energy picture seems to be getting brighter all the time.
And let’s not forget that estimates of oil and gas reserves within the US are growing, perhaps as high as 145 billion barrels of oil (Source in PDF):
U.S. proved reserves of oil total 19.1 billion barrels, reserves of natural gas total 244.7 trillion cubic feet, and natural gas liquids reserves of 9.3 billion barrels. Undiscovered technically recoverable oil in the United States is 145.5 billion barrels, and undiscovered technically recoverable natural gas is 1,162.7 trillion cubic feet. The demonstrated reserve base for coal is 488 billion short tons, of which 261 billion short tons are considered technically recoverable. …
Proved reserves are those amounts of oil, natural gas, or coal that have been discovered and defined, typically by drilling wells or other exploratory measures, and which can be economically recovered. In the United States, proved reserves are typically measured by private companies, who report their findings to the Securities and Exchange Commission because they are considered capital assets. In addition to the volumes of proved reserves are deposits of oil and gas that have not yet been discovered, which are called undiscovered resources. The term has a specific meaning: undiscovered resources are amounts of oil and gas estimated to exist in unexplored areas. If they are considered to be recoverable using existing production technologies, they are referred to as undiscovered technically recoverable resources (UTRR). In-place resources are intended to represent all of the oil, natural gas, or coal contained in a formation or basin without regard to technical or economic recoverability.
If those UTRR estimates become “proved reserves,” then we vault into the top-ten oil producers in the world — and bear in mind that those estimates could be too low, as well as too high.
Which brings us to fly in the ointment, that which makes Mead’s brightening picture something to look for several years down the road, not right now: we have to get rid of the Obama administration and all the anti-exploration and anti-drilling ideologues it’s put in positions of power. We could have all the oil in the world, and it would do us no good because of the Obama’s administration’s hostility toward responsible exploration and exploitation, both on- and offshore.
Let’s face it, the situation won’t improve until a new administration is in power that is not a slave to the Green Statist, eco-Socialist agenda and that will put an end to the administration’s insane permitorium. One that stops trying to strongarm the nation into “green technology” that isn’t yet economically viable and is a breeding ground for corruption.
Which, of course, means we need a new president. Someone with a commitment to free markets, limited government, and responsible energy development.
Gee, I wonder who comes to mind?
RELATED: Taking the brakes off exploration and development would do wonders for our jobs situation, too.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)