According to CNS News, a report on the United States’ oil reserves has been prepared for congress.
The good news: we have LOTS of oil. The bad news: myopic energy policy prevents us from using about half of it.
The report, which was produced at the request of Congress by the U.S. 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 percent. A little over 2 billion barrels, or 8 percent, 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.
When you consider the Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska, throw in another 7.7 billion barrels.
So we have huge amounts of oil here in the United States; we could likely have gas for a dollar a gallon or less, if we simply ignored environmental extremists and tapped our resources.
It isn’t just that huge areas are off limits for drilling. Many others are hindered by regulation and permitting.
“The permitting process is very slow, very cumbersome,” he said. “What happens is that the window of opportunity to operate on some lands is very limited. Usually you are talking about areas where they have winter-use restrictions, where there can be no activity, to allow for migratory birds or animals.”
With horizontal drilling, a lot of oil can be tapped with a very small presence on the land surface.
With directional drilling, producers obtain the rights to drill on land adjacent to the forbidden turf, drill down a short way, then drill horizontally – if they are allowed to.
“Directional drilling has revolutionized the industry,” he said. “You don’t ever want to tap into other areas that are not your property, but directional drilling has allowed the industry to reduce its footprint. From one well-pad, you can get a number of wells drilled.”
This is why the huge reserves in ANWR in Alaska could be tapped with a very small drilling facility (2,000 acres out of millions of acres). But no; even that isn’t good enough for environmental and animal rights extremists.
Environmentalists are probably quite happy having you pay $4.00 a gallon for gas; they’re of the “spread the misery” lobby, not the “lift everyone up” lobby.
But if you’re unhappy paying $4.00 a gallon for gas, maybe it’s time to put the heat on your elected representatives.