Hope for our energy future, but first we need Change

Posted by: Phineas on September 10, 2011 at 4:20 pm

**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)

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5 Responses to “Hope for our energy future, but first we need Change”


  1. Carlos says:

    Getting rid of the current president is only part of the solution, Phineas, and technically probably the easier part.

    There are also layers of D.C. bureaucrats in position with years of seniority in a screwed-up system that will be nearly impossible to move out, and then one must deal with ecofreaks like Sierra Club etc. who will shut the entire exploration/recovery/development/production system down for years with legal challenges.

    The proper procedure should probably be to replace the president through election while simultaneously replacing Democraps, Green Weenie congresspeople/weasels, and pass new laws specifically repealing all the interpretive crap the bureaucraps have written into effective law.

    Of course, it would be two-to-ten years after that before the product would reach the supply system, but every day, month and year we wait will be another day, month and year later before we can use what the statists have locked up tighter than a drum.

  2. George Robinson says:

    Carlos gets it exactly. I had a medium size furniture factory in Dallas, I hired “work release” guys because almost nobody else would in the entire county, I ended up being the last actual factory in Dallas before I moved. (Dallas still has a couple of electronic assembly places maybe)I got awards and dinners and even gratitude from the guys who really wanted to straighten out. I got sued by EEOC for wrong MIX of ethnicities, by OSHA for lack of a filter we did not use, by EPA for selling sawdust to the wrong operations. It got crazy! The mandate must be, repeal the nineteenth amendment, then repeal government employees.

  3. Tango says:

    One of the things I learned in my years working with oil exploration/development companies was that the (flawed) assumption that it “takes years” to get a new oil discovery to market. This is something that need NOT be set in stone!

    Unfortunately, we’ve heard that statement so often over the last 40 years that we’ve come to accept it as gospel. It isn’t. If we (or any other nation) finds themselves in an emergency wartime-like footing, sweeps away the bureaucratic stooges, then the time line for bringing new oil to market can readily be reduced to mere months, in many cases.

    The “conventional wisdom” is often not wise at all. And frequently, we’re just being lied to.

  4. Carlos says:

    There are three groups of people whose statements I will never take at face value: the government (local to fed), any muslim, and anyone economically dependent upon the oil industry (including the oil companies themselves.)

    Even with the price of crude plummeting the price per gallon of gasoline is rocketing toward $4.00/gal again, and there is absolutely no reason in the world why I should believe either the government liars (remember, Duh-1 thinks the price of gas should be around $7/gal) or the oil companies whining about the weather, gov. regs, refinery shutdowns or unicorns pooping in the oil fields.

    Now, more than ever before, science needs to come up with a cost-effective alternative to transportation energy, and there’s nothing that would give me greater pleasure than to see the oil companies kill the golden goose they hammer us with daily.