Monday, June 09, 2008

U.S. Policies Put Most U.S. Oil Off-Limits to Drilling

The "No Drill" Map
( - Huge basins of untapped oil can be found on federal lands throughout the United States, according to a new report from the federal government. But much of it cannot -- and may never be -- recovered, because it lies under national parks and national monuments, or it is subject to environmental laws and restrictions that make drilling prohibitive.

The report, which was produced at the request of Congress by the Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM), said there are 279 million acres under federal management where oil and gas could potentially could be extracted. More than half of it is totally off-limits to drillers.

"The total onshore resource is 31 billion barrels," said BLM's lead scientist Richard Watson, who authored the report. "Of that, 19 billion barrels are currently inaccessible or 62%. A little over 2 billion barrels, or 8%, is accessible under what we call standard lease terms."

If you add in the 85.9 billion barrels of oil that lie offshore, as determined by the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service, there are 117 billion barrels of oil on lands owned or managed by the U.S. government. But all expansion of offshore oil recovery is currently off-limits.

Adding in what's available on privately held land, the figure rises to 139 billion barrels of oil, according to the government - more than the known oil reserves of Iran, Iraq, Russia, Nigeria or Venezuela, respectively.

The biggest untapped land-based oil deposit in the United States lies within ANWR, the Artic National Wildlife Refuge, which is currently off-limits. "We estimate there is something on the order of 7.7 billion barrels in that one area alone," Watson said.

But setting aside Alaska, there is untapped oil on federal lands all across the United States, the government reported, with oil pockets found in Oregon, Washington state, Montana, Wyoming, Florida -- even in the Appalachian Mountains. "In the lower 48 states, there are about 12 billion barrels onshore," Watson noted.

(Map HT: Jack McHugh)


At 6/09/2008 1:20 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Hey Professor Mark, check out this Apr 29, 2008 article in the Bismark Tribune: N.D. study estimates 167 billion barrels of oil in Bakken...

Yet what good will that potential amount of extractable crude oil be if Obama gets his way?
Obama says he would impose oil windfall profits tax

""I'll make oil companies like Exxon pay a tax on their windfall profits, and we'll use the money to help families pay for their skyrocketing energy costs and other bills," the Illinois senator said."

Its to bad we can't get someone like Dr. Walter Williams to beat some sense into these politicos...

At 6/09/2008 3:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are stuck with the current situation as long as we are stuck with Pelosi.

When California gets smart and realizes the contribution Pelosi is making to their high gas and diesel prices they will unstick her from Congress.

Of course, waiting for California to get smart is a ticket to patience overload.

At 6/18/2008 2:09 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi, can you tell me where the "no drill" map came from or what the red, yellow, and green areas signify (I'm guessing they mean no drilling, restricted drilling, and free to drill but want to check)?

At 7/31/2009 10:02 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Where can I get my hands on this report?


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