Friday, August 15, 2008

10 Years By Today's Rules

John Utley at Reason (HT:RCP) examines the mantra of the anti-drilling forces, which has been "it'll take 10 years" to get any oil out of the ground. In short this is due to the government making it that way due to exessive regulations and litigation by environmental groups.

"In July, CNN repeatedly reported that offshore drilling would take "seven to 10 years" to get into production. Yet Brazil's Petrobras expects its new finds in extraordinarily deep waters to already be producing 100,000 barrels per day in just two years. What is wrong with American oil companies that they would take so long?
In fact, the world oil shortage is political, not geological. In the U.S., the government prohibits drilling offshore."

Utley believes that ANWR in particular holds promise for developing in only 2-3 years - IF laws are changed to fast track leasing rights there and Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachman's proposal (who I'm proud to say I contributed to in the 2006 elections) to create special "environmental courts" to expedite litigation is adopted. Under current rules, the actual drilling and production would take only two to three years, with a year or better for the environmental impact study, a year or two to actually sell the leases from the Dept. of the Interior, and double it all due to courtsuits for the "10 years". This also assumes the concurrent construction of the 75 mile pipeline from the area to the existing line located at Prudhoe Bay, doubtful under the current regime, but certainly possible if we have the fortitude to make the necessary changes in the system.

Utley also notes that France and China can build and put a new nuclear plant online in as little as two years as well. Meanwhile, the US continues to rely on foreign energy sources despite having plentiful resources to potentially develop and draw upon, including natural gas, coal liquification, gas hydrates, nuclear and oil shale, all of which are currently prohibited in most areas of the nation, in some cases (such as shale) the entire nation.

The best thing to come out of all of the pain we are experiencing at the pump is that people are finally waking up and beginning to ask the question - what the hell is wrong in Washington DC?

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