Friday, August 8, 2008

Will Drilling Offshore Lower the Price of Gas? NO ~~

I am not going to rant because the following stubborn facts speak louder than John McCain or anything I could say. I hope the charts are visible when you open this post. These are proof that the drill, drill, drill mantra won't help anything for years. Even then, the help will be microscopic.

While I don't intend to belabor the point I did hear that the drill, drill, drill drum beat is helping John McCain in the polls. That is downright depressing.

Sad to say, the current drill-and-burn campaign is getting some political traction. According to one recent poll, 69 percent of Americans now favor expanded offshore drilling - and 51 percent of them believe that removing restrictions on drilling would reduce gas prices within a year. This is a quote from Paul Krugman.

Global Warming
Don't Buy Big Oil's Lies!

There is a lot of misinformation circulating about the costs and benefits of offshore drilling. Here are some facts on why more drilling is not the answer to our energy crisis.

More oil drilling will not lower gas prices. It will only make the world's richest oil companies richer. The U.S. sits on less than 3 percent of the world's oil reserves. Even if we drill every corner of America, the oil will amount to a drop in the bucket globally and won't have an impact on prices on the world market.

(Click to see larger version.)
Source: EIA, Petrolium Statistics

The United States has more oil and gas rigs operating today than the entire rest of the world combined, with hundreds of millions of acres of onshore and offshore federal lands available for leasing.

The U.S. has 1,928 drilling rigs operating on our lands and waters, compared to 1,512 rigs operating throughout the rest of the world combined. (

Area in black available for oil leasing.Source: EWG analysis of leasing and drilling records in 12 western states, contained in the Bureau of Land Management's Land and Mineral Records 2000 database, acquired by EWG May 15 2004.

The U.S. has over 800,000 producing oil and gas wells, and oil companies already own rights to 68 million acres of federal land and coastline that they aren't even drilling.

Sources: Department of the Interior, unpublished table entitled “Total Number of Acres Leased, Data from FY 1994 through FY 2007” from Response to Questions for the Record from the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, February 7, 2008; MMS, “Producing and Nonproducing OCS Oil, Gas, Slat, Sulphur Leases under Federal Supervision by Year Since 1960,” Region’s Quarterly Reports, as of April 2006; The Truth About America’s Energy: Big Oil Stockpiles Supplies and Pockets Profits, Rahallreport.pdf, June 2008; Inventory of Onshore Federal Oil and Natural Gas Resources and Restrictions to Their Development, U.S. Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, and Energy, May 2008.

Oil companies are making more money than any other industry in the history of the world. They don't need more breaks from American taxpayers.

Vice President Dick Cheney and others have claimed that other countries like China are already drilling off our coasts. But Cheney was forced to retract this lie after the Congressional Research Service proved there was absolutely no truth to the claim.

But what IS true is that there is no guarantee that if we open our beaches to drilling the oil won't just be shipped abroad.

Why ruin our beaches if we're only going to send the oil overseas?

Offshore drilling is a dirty business. If we open our coasts to Big Oil, we can look forward to ruined beaches, oil-slicked wildlife, and toxic air and water pollution.


Rain said...

Wow excellent research. I wish more Americans were willing to dig into these things. Ignorance is how we got GW Bush

Anonymous said...

Funny but even the possibility of drilling off shore has lowered the price per barrel.

Nancy said...


This is a very comprehensive analysis of the Oil situation.

Thanks for all the research and writing you did to present it to us.

K. said...

Great work. You explode yet another bit of right-wing demagoguery aimed at filling the pockets of the wealthy by exploiting the worries of the middle class. How do they get away with it?

Darlene said...

I will respond to Anymous (I usually ignore anyone who won't sign his/her name.)

I believe that the consensus is that the reason the price of gas is coming down is not due to the possibility of drilling offshore, but to the fact that people are driving less.

To those who kindly gave me credit for research, it was actually very easy. I let someone else do it and just copied their work. But thank you, anyhow.

K. said...

Anyway, that's a pretty tenuous cause-effect relationship. Alcoholics drank milk as kids, too. It's a virtual consensus among energy experts -- as you show -- that offshore drilling in the U.S. won't have much of an impact on the world oil price. There just isn't enough there.

The logic is obvious enough: Suppose that I have 100,000 of something and they cost $1 each. Someone else talks about the possibility that I might acquire a couple of hundred more. How will that materially reduce the price? Answer: It won't.

Using less is the only answer, especially as the demand for oil in China and India increases. In today's world, a country (us) with 5% of the world's population cannot continue to consume 25% of the oil when it's sitting on 1.6% of the reserves without something giving. We can use less or we can continue to be bogged down in the Middle East.

Kay Dennison said...

I think you are right. They just want to do it because they are greedy you-know-whats and that's the bottom line!

joared said...

Thanks for this post as this offshore drilling business has been aggravating me. Now if we could just get your blog post viewed my more people.