Saturday, April 02, 2011

The No Lube Spin

There is only one revolution on this planet that requires no petroleum based lubrication. That is the spin put out by people opposed to domestic oil production. Case in pont is J.W. Sutton Jr from Wisconsin. I should forgive him, since he is pulling the data for his opinion from NPR. Sole sourcing in a time of $107.24/barrel for May delivery is not terribly prudent.

First lets look at that 3% rise in oil production since 2003 he quotes. the last numbers released by DOE are from July 29, 2010. Deepwater Horizon blew out on April 20, 2010, killed 11, and has since shut down oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico due to Dept. of Interior moratorium and very lethargic issuance of new leases. So right there Sutton is using out of date information to base his opinion. Or should I say NPR is using out of date information for its report and Sutton is reciting by rote what NPR says? I can't honestly say since Sutton does not even link to the NPR article.

Lets next look at the term "Proven Oil Reserves" Sutton uses. In the United States, that term has a legal definition that factors in government regulation. Which means if the federal or state government says a site is off-limits, then whatever oil deposits are beneath that site are not factored into US proven oil reserves. ANWR in Alaska is off-limits to oil-exploration, which means 6 to 16 billion barrels of oil [ 6 billion barrels at $107 = $642,000,000,000] is not part of that 2% of proven global oil reserves Sutton uses to argue against increasing domestic oil production.

Just by calling into question these two premises of Sutton's logical construct, the structure of his argument is endangered. His argument can be summarized as - we are already at max domestic oil production so we can't just "Drill Baby Drill!" our way out of the current predicament.

So I have to say Sutton is wrong on many fronts. We are not at our max domestic production, not with the likes of ANWR aribitrarily taken out of the equation. ANWR is 19 million acres of land, of that acerage only 1.5 million acres along the coast would be open for oil exploration. Prudhoe Bay is only 100 miles away so running pipeline between them would not be of the same order of magnitude as building the original Alaskan oil pipeline nor take as long. There is also the 1.5 trillion barrels of oil just waiting to be tapped in Ken Salazar's old stomping ground of Colorado called oil shale.

But I guess I should forgive Sutton since all he is doing is parroting what President Obama has recently said. Obama used that 'the US only has 2%' argument to support his desire for more government subsidised Green projects while ignoring what those subsidies does to the national debt. Recently on his tour of Brazil, President Obama told Brazil the US would be happy to buy their oil, so Sutton was wrong to lump Brazil in with China.

Sutton ends his opinion piece with collectivist pap - "We need electric cars, not those that run on gasoline. We need solar and wind generators for electricity to power those cars. We need less vehicles on the road, period. The fuel efficiencies of buses and trains must be chosen over the speed and flexibility of automobiles, tractor-trailers, and commercial airplanes."

Lets see the solar projects in the southwest American deserts are being held up due to environmental impact studies, what will all that shade do to native species is the question. Wind generators only work when there is wind plus they tend to kill migratory birds as they spin. In fact many energy projects are stalled by bureacratic red-tape, from nuclear reactors to geothermal. Buses and trains tend to be government run and only on schedules, thus ensnaring people to fixed timetables. Plus trains and buses are so last century in the technology department, hasn't Sutton heard of telecommuting? If he is so enamored of getting cars off the road and planes out of the air while reducing oil consumption, then telecommuting is the way to go.

If Sutton is a product of the Wisconsin school system, I have one thing to say. Gov. Walker fire all the teachers and get new ones. As for US energy needs, first lets stop the government from acting like a roadblock. Let the markets determine what is viable, not another $200,000/year drone in Washington D.C.

No comments: