Friday, June 25, 2010

U.S. Energy Policy Should Include "YIMBY"

"Whether more exploration on federal lands would make the U.S. energy independent is debatable, but more onshore development would certainly be safer. In early June there was a blowout in western Pennsylvania. Did you see it on the nightly news? No, because it was capped in 16 hours. The Texas Railroad Commission, the state agency that regulates oil and gas production there, recorded 102 blowouts of oil and gas wells since the start of 2006, resulting in 10 fires, 12 injuries, and two deaths. None of those made the nightly news either. The largest oil spill on Alaska's North Slope in 2006 was from a pipeline leak. It dumped only 6,357 barrels and had no disastrous impacts.

When kids play baseball, there is a risk that windows will get broken. Playing on baseball fields rather than in sand lots, however, lowers the risk considerably. Putting so much onshore land off limits to oil and gas development is like closing baseball parks. More windows will be broken and more blowouts result where they are difficult to prevent and stop.

Enforcement of stricter safety regulation on deepwater drilling may reduce disasters like the current one in the Gulf. But the only real way to reduce the risk of catastrophic spills is to say yes to drilling in our backyard."

~Terry Anderson in today's Wall Street Journal

13 Comments:

At 6/25/2010 7:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He said it so well! I've been trying to find a nice, succinct metaphor to help explain why Deepwater Horizon should be seen as a call to EXPAND our drilling activities. The baseball example is great. How much easier would it be to repair a leak in, say, 150' of water? Does anyone know? I think commercial divers can go down that far... hmmm.

 
At 6/25/2010 9:34 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Gee! Guess who's responsible for this?

"According to 2008 Energy Department figures, nearly 80% of potentially oil-rich offshore lands are off limits to oil and gas development, and 60% of onshore lands are"...

There's more discussion, some of it from a technical aspect of the gulf oil spill at the The Oil Drum

 
At 6/25/2010 9:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All that drilling really needs is a requirement for adequatefunding in case of disasters - and independent companies that get compensated per cleanup.

That said - regulation and government interference is quantifiably more useless in the case of airport security theater. So before we remove regulation in the environmental area, let's clean up our act on security and disband the TSA?

 
At 6/25/2010 12:07 PM, Anonymous Stephen said...

Isn't it only true that deepwater offshore drilling (DOD) is only occurring in so much as the prevention of safer drilling techniques in the U.S. raises the world market price of oil so much so that DOD becomes profitable? Is there any evidence rather than mere assertion that opening these more convential locations will result in a large enough decrease in world market price for oil that DOD will become unprofitable?

 
At 6/25/2010 12:33 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Is there any evidence rather than mere assertion that opening these more convential locations will result in a large enough decrease in world market price for oil that DOD will become unprofitable?"...

What results did you get when you used google or yahoo to look for an answer?

Federalizing Disasters Weakens FEMA--and Hurts Americans Hit by Catastrophes

 
At 6/25/2010 1:30 PM, Anonymous Stephen said...

juandos,

I did not find any research papers analyzing the issue on the internet. I'm not sure what the relevance of the ill effects of FEMA has on my post?

I support opening up these more conventional locations for drilling, but I have not seen any evidence to convince me that companies will stop deepwater offshore drilling if we do. Perhaps it will delay a few projects that are at the margins of profitability for awhile at most due to the impact the additional supply from these conventional locations will have on world market price.

 
At 6/25/2010 2:19 PM, Anonymous grant said...

You would have to put this down as very bad reporting.It's a stupidly rationalized article.Maybe whats needed is a government safety officer in charge of the drilling of every well with the right to give directions and veto decisions on all issues including safety.

 
At 6/25/2010 5:43 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"I'm not sure what the relevance of the ill effects of FEMA..."...

Never said it was Stephen, all I was showing was that when the federal government gets involved it turns a mess into a disaster...

Is this what you pay federal income tax for?

"I have not seen any evidence to convince me that companies will stop deepwater offshore drilling if we do"...

Why should the companies stop deepwater drilling on the shelf or anywhere else for that matter?

Are you going to stop driving your car, using plastics, or medicine?

If not the then crude will be drilled wherever its found as long as there's a market for it...

Do you think Cuba will stop drilling in the Gulf?

Is that who you want to buy crude from, the Cubans?

 
At 6/25/2010 5:56 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Maybe whats needed is a government safety officer in charge of the drilling of every well with the right to give directions and veto decisions on all issues including safety"...

grant what makes you think an incompetent federal government would've prevented this problem in the gulf?

After all the Obama administration was ready to give BP pollution prevention award...

 
At 6/25/2010 6:41 PM, Anonymous Stephen said...

juandos,

I have no idea what you are trying to say. Why are you bringing up strawman and red herrings? If you agree with the article that opening up access for drillers on shallow water and on the land will materially decrease the amount of drilling that occurs in deepwater areas as the article argues, you certainly haven't shown a shred of evidence. If you don't think it will materially decrease the amount of drilling that occurs in deepwater areas, than there is no disagreement.

 
At 6/26/2010 2:25 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Why are you bringing up strawman and red herrings?"...

ROFLMAO!

"If you agree with the article that opening up access for drillers on shallow water and on the land will materially decrease the amount of drilling that occurs in deepwater areas as the article argues, you certainly haven't shown a shred of evidence"...

I don't agree with the article completely, specifically this part here: 'Because most private lands have been explored, public lands offer the most potential for oil and gas development...

Oil is where they find it regardless of whether its in shallow or deep water or on land...

Technology marches on and because of technology oil is being found again in southern Missouri...

You really to focus on market forces to see what drives drilling...

 
At 6/26/2010 10:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, the government policy is no drilling on land. But you can drill in 5,000 feet of water. Totally ridiculous.... But no one mentions this idiocy in the MSM. Once again government encourages disaster.

 
At 6/27/2010 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yes, the government policy is no drilling on land. But you can drill in 5,000 feet of water. Totally ridiculous.... But no one mentions this idiocy in the MSM. Once again government encourages disaster."

Oh, totally. Just like Mexico's Itxoic I blowout, the largest oil spill in N America history. That only took... nine months to cap, and that sucker was only under 160-some feet of water...

 

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