Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Domestic Drilling

Livescience takes a look at the domestic drilling issue, noting the US is still the third leading oil producer in the world. Of course, we're also the leading consumer, using 20 million barrels a day while producing 8 million barrels.

"Polls have shown that a majority of Americans want an increase in offshore drilling. In response, Congress let a 27-year-old moratorium on offshore oil drilling expire at the end of last month. This put into play about 16 billion barrels of oil (or about 21 percent of U.S. offshore resources), according to the Department of Energy (DOE). However, this is just a drop in the bucket.

"We have significant oil and natural gas resources here in the United States," said Richard Ranger, a senior policy advisor for the American Petroleum Institute. He quoted government estimates that say federal lands have 116.4 billion barrels of undiscovered technically recoverable oil, which could power 65 million cars for 60 years."

They also point out that new techniques are allowing old wells to continue to produce, such as injuecting water or carbon dioxide into wells, known as EOR (Enhanced Oil Recovery). EOR techniques could put as much as 240 billion barrels into production in the US according to a 2006 estimate. They also point out the potential of unconventional resources such as oil sands and oil shale, which oculd add nearly 2 trillion barrels to domestic supplies.

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