Monday, April 5, 2010

Atlantic Coast Oil Exploration - The Big Lie

Everyone seems to be happy that Obama has opened the Atlantic Coast to offshore drilling. They fail to realize that his action was just a smokescreen - one that is easy to see through once a few facts are known. The first thing to understand is that there has been no oil exploration activity off the east coast for 30 years. The early wells were either dry holes, or like the case of the Manteo well off North Carolina. The state blocked any drilling activity for so long that Mobil Oil successfully sued to have their lease payment returned.

The figure shown should help explain. This is a chart of the UTRR (Ultimate Technically Recoverable Reserves) estimated to be undiscovered in the US offshore as of 2003. This chart was prepared by the Minerals Management Service and is on their web site here. It is their best estimate as to how much oil and gas remain to be discovered. Note how much of the pie chart is in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and the Pacific versus the Atlantic.

Does allowing the oil industry to explore for these paltry amounts seem like Obama is serious about oil and gas development? The MMS has a good summary of the history of activity off the Atlantic coast. it can be found here.