Drilling ANWR: More Questions and Thoughts

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July 5, 2008

I am at the Life On Wheels RV Convention at Lewis-Clark College in Lewiston, Idaho this week, but had a few more thoughts and questions on drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

(1) If we need ANWR’s oil so much, why haven’t the oil companies drilled the 65 million acres they already have leases on?

(2) The oil companies answer is that they don’t have the people or the equipment, that it is all busy in other places.

(3) If that is the case, where will they get the people and equipment to drill ANWR?

(4) Will they pull it from other locations that are already pumping oil? Best to get the oil in ANWR if and when they can get it, before public mood changes. After all, they will still have the leases, even after they drill ANWR.

(5) Why should the oil companies look for more oil, when that oil would increase supply and could lower the price. Is lower prices what they want?

(6) Do you think oil prices will ever come down while China’s and India’s economies are surging ahead and they are willing to buy oil at any price to keep their economies booming? And don’t forget, they subsidize their fuel, so their citizens don’t pay market prices for gasoline. (Check fuel prices in India or China).

(7) If the oil companies do produce more oil, will they, in their patriotic fervor for the USA and their altruistic feelings toward producing cheap fuel for our RVs, sell the oil cheaply for domestic supply, or will they instead sell it on the open market at current stratospheric prices. Guess.

(8) Can anybody produce a credible source that feels that we can satisfy our domestic needs with domestic supply?

(9) We will still need to develop alternative sources of energy if we want to stop depending on foreign oil and the whims of OPEC countries. Then why aren’t we subsidizing those new sources, rather than continuing to subsidize the oil companies whose profits are already ridiculously obscene.

Just a few simple questions to ponder.

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  2. Fred

    Lets save the oil, and leave it in the ground for drilling in the year 2050, after the middle east has been tapped dry.

    Don’t you think we will need the oil in 2050 more than we need it today?


  3. Thor – Thanks for your comments, especially the treatise on the drilling industry. That all sounds logical to me. It also make sense that with all that work, dry holes, etc. it would make more sense to develop alternative sources of energy so we can leave the polar bears and wolves alone–and the birthing of caribou calves that takes place on the ANWR site where drilling is proposed. But you’re missing the central point, we need to get ourselves off oil, not drill for more of it. There are synthetic lubricants that will oil your door hinge, nuclear plants do not pollute like oil, power plants that provide the electricity to charge electric cars use coal, not oil, to produce electrons. But your kicker came at the end when you labeled yourself as a denier, denying that global warming to the extent that it is happening today is other than a natural phenomenom. Your statement that it is a “snobbish view that humans can change Mother Nature” is laughable. Maybe you forgot acid rain, DDT nearly wiping out several species of wildlife, our clearcutting of almost all the hardwood forests in eastern America, the tremendous anniliation of species that is happening now–the sixth extinction it is called by scientists . . . need I go on? And you say that man doesn’t affect Mother Nature? The CO2 level in the atmosphere is so much higher than ever experienced before in history, and cannot be explained away as natural. It is causing the earth to warm faster than has ever happened before, and the predicted levels of CO2 that will occur in the atomosphere in the next 50 years is higher than has ever been experienced on earth before, an no one–NO ONE–can predict exactly how it will affect our earth and those that live on it., but the predictions are not pretty. I hope you are right, but I don’t usually bet on events that have so short odds.

  4. Thor

    Its pretty obvious that you know little about the oil industry or even how business works. Pretty necessary in this blog and remember this is a capitalistic country. The commies crashed and burned years ago in the Reagan years and socialism hasn’t been doing much for France & Sweden. I didn’t read every comment but consider this. Drilling costs money and dry holes are common. All drilling rigs in Alaska iwould take up about the same space as a stamp on a regulation football field. Drilling rigs are used to drill. If oil or natural gas are found the rig moves on to the next site and a “pumpjack” pumps the oil out of the ground to a tank. Royalties get paid to the landowner and all investors when the crude is sold. There is an operator that gets paid and he has maintenance people that make sure things keep running or work is done down the hole to keep oil flowing. They cost money too. All this creates jobs. The workers spend the money they earn in the economy. ANWAR is located where nothing else exists except snow, wolves and polar bears. Might as well be the desert. We bought it but have been too stupid to drill there. Oil is used for things other than gasoline. Want a lubricant for your door hinge? Better use oil. How long will it take to get electricity from nukes? Want to recharge your electric car? Where does the juice come from?
    The cost of things either makes them of any dollar value or not. Now try to defend the concept that only humans contribute to a warmer climate (wonder how it happened before?) and the snobbish view that humans can change Mother Nature. Thor

  5. Bob Difley

    George Miller says, “do you get paid by the number of people who visit the site?”
    George – In answer to the question of how much we RV.net bloggers get paid, which probably has other readers curious also, we are paid exactly nothing, $0, no matter how many people respond to the blog. We do it for the glory, and being mobbed by beautiful women whenever we appear in public. And, of course, for all the free drinks.
    I didn’t know about the Magnesium Hydride thing. I’ll check up on it. As for gasoline in ten years, if our alternative energy efforts pay off, and we are able to replace half or more of our vehicle fleet in ten years with electric vehicles, charged off the grid by clean sources of energy like solar and wind, then gas demand will drop like a stone. When it does, all that extra gasoline will drop the price and more won’t be needed. I’d rather see the oil companies use their $$–along with government incentives–to develop alternative energy sources instead. They would have the advantage of having 170,000 gas stations around the country that could be converted to carry biofuels, ethanol, biodiesel, and electric vehicle plug-in connections–an instant infrastructure (with government $$ used to help with the conversion costs. That would be money better spent than drilling for oil that should instead be phased out. Thanks for your comments, George.

  6. George Miller

    Bob, I have read this blog and wonder, do you get paid by the number of people who visit the site Also, I believe fuel cells are the way do go. First based upon diesel, then on Hydrogen. 20 year ago the Max Planck Institute in Germany was working on using Magnesium Hydride to store Hydrogen. It was far more efficient than liquid Hydrogen, but I have not seen anything on that in the last 10 years. Perhaps someone reading this could fill me in. As a last word, If gasoline is selling north of $4/gallon, and we do nothing to get more, what do you think it will be selling for in 10 years? I personally like Obama’s solution, let prices rise. That way there will be plenty of room on the roads for RVs. Normal working people will not be able to afford to drive. George Miller

  7. A June 2008 poll by the research firm Belden Russonello & Stewart found that 55 percent of the American public supports continued protection for the Arctic Refuge, and only 35 percent of Americans believe that allowing oil companies to drill in the refuge would result in lower gas prices for American consumers. Do you disagree with that poll?
    Isn’t it possible that the drive to drill in the Arctic Refuge is about oil company profits and and their goal to set precedents that may lift barriers to future exploration on protected lands, and nothing to do with energy independence?
    Oil from the refuge would hardly make a dent in our dependence on foreign oil, leaving us just as exposed to wild swings in worldwide oil prices and supply as it is today. According to many experts, we can’t drill our way to energy independence, and it would take 10 years for any refuge oil to reach the market. The U.S. government’s own Energy Information Agency recently reported that drilling in the Arctic would save less than 4 cents per gallon in 20 years. Is the amount of oil the refuge might produce, placing at risk the pristine refuge, worth what little benefit it would produce?

    Oil produced from the refuge would come at an enormous, and irreversible, cost. The refuge is among the world’s last true wildernesses, and it is one of the largest sanctuaries for Arctic animals. Traversed by a dozen rivers and framed by jagged peaks, this spectacular wilderness is a vital birthing ground for polar bears, grizzlies, Arctic wolves, caribou and the endangered shaggy musk ox, which has recently been re-introduced after becoming extinct in the area.

    To get an idea of what drilling would do to the refuge, just look 60 miles west to Prudhoe Bay, where 1,000 square miles of fragile tundra has become a sprawling industrial zone containing 1,500 miles of roads and pipelines, 1,400 producing wells and three jetports. The result is a landscape defaced by mountains of sewage sludge, scrap metal, garbage and more than 60 contaminated waste sites that contain, and often leak, acids, lead, pesticides, solvents and diesel fuel.
    While proponents of drilling insist that the Arctic Refuge could be developed by disturbing as little as 2,000 acres within the 1.5-million-acre coastal plain, an National Resources Defense Council analysis finds otherwise. U.S. Geological Survey studies have found that oil in the refuge isn’t concentrated in a single, large reservoir. Rather, it’s spread across the coastal plain in more than 30 small deposits, which would require vast networks of roads and pipelines that would fragment the habitat, disturbing and displacing wildlife.

    America’s energy problems will not be solved by more oil. Only by reducing our reliance on oil, both foreign and domestic, and investing in cleaner, renewable forms of power will our country achieve true energy security.

    And we already have many of the tools we need to accomplish this. We have the ability right now to produce hybrid cars and trucks. If America made the transition to these more efficient vehicles, far more oil would be saved than the Arctic Refuge or coastal drilling would produce. Doesn’t pursuing those ends make far more sense than selling our natural heritage and exploiting one of our true wilderness gems?
    For more on the effects to the wildlife in the area, go to the NRDC’s Web site at: http://www.nrdc.org/land/wilderness/arcticrefuge/facts1.asp

  8. Please note that as a helicpter pilot, I have flown geologists and oilfield workers thoughout the existing oil fields in Prudhoe Bay and through virtually every inch of ANWR. I’ve been there, which most Congressmen who deny the ability to drill oil there have not. And unlike most of them, I’m not afraid to go there and see for myself.

    Part of the problem with the ANWR question is the total misunderstanding of what the area is like and why drilling here would make so much sense. The environmentalists have gotten us all wrapped around the axle with pictures of newborn caribou who they claim will die while neglecting to tell us that the caribou herd the uses the grounds at the current oilfields near Prudhoe Bay and along the pipeline has grown ten-fold since oil started flowing down the pipeline.

    As for why they want to drill in ANWR, the answer is just plain common sense. The oil that is known to exist there is within 75 miles of an operational hot-oil pipeline. The oil transportation problem is thus already solved.

    The understanding of the amount of oil in ANWR is also a confused mess, thanks again to the environmental dingbats who go out of their way to hide the real issue. Their claim, more or less based in fact, is that ANWR offers just six months’ to a year’s supply of oil for the United States. That’s true as far as it goes, but ANWR will not be used exclusively; there are any number of other domestic sources of oil still producing. I think a far better way to think of the amount of oil available in ANWR is to realize that even the lowest estimate of the oil available is equal to all of the oil the United States is likely to import from Saudi Arabia for the next 20 years. That alone should do wonders for our trade imbalance.

    I also agree that we need to develop alternative sources of energy so we have options beyond oil and natural gas, however Democrats in Congress have become masters as stopping any of these that come along–like nuclear power. The key to this, though, is not to kill our economy by waking up one morning and quitting oil “cold turkey.” The answer is to use the oil we have and can get cheaply and easily from within our borders to keep our economy running while we develop other energy sources. We cannot stop using one while still waiting for another.

    Bottom line…if you want to lower your energy costs–whether for gasoline or electricity–stop reelecting the current generation of do-nothing democrats in Congress. Find some pragmatic, practical people, whether democrats or republicans, who at least have the common sense that God gave a fencepost, and send these people to Congress.

    Remember, the democrats running Congress these days promised us change when they took over after the 2006 election. So far the most significant change they have delivered is doubling the price at the pump for gas. And they still prefer that we keep buying oil from places like the Middle East and Venezuela instead of allowing development of our own proven reserves.

  9. Roger

    Personally I do not support drilling in the Great Lakes, Everglades or Yosemete and other National Parks.
    With gas prices down 10% in the last 2 weeks I think we are seeing the results of “$4 a gallon” gas.

  10. Jim

    Hello, I have lived in Alaska for over 40 years. The pipeline has not affected the caribou, in fact they have grown in numbers since drilling on the north slope and the pipeline was built

    If we don’t get ANWAR going, the pipeline will be shut down as it is at about 50% capacity now compared with 10 years ago. The reason the oil companies are not drilling as much as you would like in their current leases is the potential for a huge deposit that would pay for drilling is not nearly as big as it would be in ANWAR. That should answer your questions 1-4

    Everyone agrees that we need alternative energy, but let us develop our resources in a responsible way while we bring on solar and wind power. If you could see the tiny part of ANWAR that will be drilled compared to the total size, it is like a drop of water in an ocean of tundra.


  11. The Truth About Crude Oil

    First Crude Oil is NOT from Dino the Dinosaur or his brothers. Logically speaking if the earth was covered with a dense primeval forest and there was a Dinosaur living in every five square mile area on the face of the earth, and all this was compressed into a sub surface space for tens of thousands of years, and produced a pool of Crude Oil, it WOULD ONLY FEED the needs of this world for the PAST twenty years, so WHAT FUELED the Industrial Age for the first EIGHTY YEARS???????????????????????????

    Think about what is stated above! Science states that oil is the by product of the earths ENGINE as it rotates creating GRAVITY and super heating rock formations, that through this process release oil and this oil flows into cavities within the earth.

    Now with this said, what is the reason for the excessive spike in Crude and Natural Gas prices? GREED.
    In the 60’s gas sold for 35 cents a gallon, cars got 5 to 7 MPG so a 100 mile trip would take some 16 gallons at a cost of 5 dollars. Today cars get 30 miles to a gallon and that same trip would only take 3 gallons of gas at a cost of 12 dollars. Take into account the LOSS OF VALUE of the FRN and you will see that BIG OIL is KEEPING ITS bottom line HIGH as the efficiency of the engines increase.

    There was a contrived oil crisis in the 70’s and there is one today. Why? It is the GREED of BIG OIL! It takes less than 20 dollars to get oil out of the ground and refined into its product and delivered. It takes from 6 months to a year for a well from the day the drill head starts the hole until it produce oil. The Russians can do it in three mounts. Today’s wells exceed 6000 barrels a day, and one off shore platform can have over 20 SLANT WELL HEADS producing oil 24 hours a day.

    The United States of America is sitting on the worlds largest coal reserves; it also has more crude oil than the Middle East. Recent finds in Montana exceed what is found in Saudi Arabia, and Pennsylvania has over 3 trillion cubic feet of Natural Gas yet to be pumped into the system. Alaska has extensive reserves yet CONGRESS has for years REFUSED to allow the release of this oil, because of RED TAPE and that they are under the control of ENVIRONMENTALIST groups. These groups want all Americans to ride bikes and live as the settlers did in the 1800. Congress continues to LIE regarding the time it takes to drill a well and get the oil into the system. They state that it would be ten years before wells drilled today could produce oil. This is a BOLD FACE LIE. Congress has prohibited drilling for the past two decades, if what they say is true and if they allowed drilling decades ago we would NOT HAVE FOUR DOLLAR A GALLON GAS PRICES, and HOME HEATING OIL WOULD NOT BE OVER FOUR DOLLARS A GALLON, THAT WILL CAUSE A HEATING CRISIS THIS WINTER, and SOME AMERICAN MAY FREEZE TO DEATH FOR LACK OF HEAT. CONGRESS IS TO BLAME IF THIS OCCURS.

    Today’s advances in drilling insure a protected environment. The WILD CAT wells of the early 1900 are a thing of the past.

    Environmentalist claim that the exhaust of power plants create TONS of CO2, HOWEVER, CO2 is a GAS and is measured in cubic feet NOT TONS. The advance scrubbing of the exhausts prevent most hydrocarbons from being suspended in the atmosphere. Most ALL the reasons given by environmentalist are not science, but an agenda to deprive Americans of their standard of living.

    For MORE INFORMATION of the Truth About Big Oil visit


    You Will Be Amazed, and make sure you click on the link GLOBAL WARMING and read what the ENVIRONMENTALIST do not want you to know about NON GLOBAL WARMING BY MAN.

  12. Bob Difley

    Calypso says, “You are more about bashing “big oil” than finding solutions.”
    The solutions are already here–alternative forms of energy other than oil. Electricity, produced by wind, solar, hydro-electric, thermal, etc. can replace oil. Give me one, just one, good reason why we shouldn’t divert the subsidies going to “big oil” into these alternate energy sources. I don’t think you can find anyone with any credibility that thinks oil is the long term solution to our energy problems. What we need is long term solutions not short term band-aid fixes. Not only that, the oil companies already hold millions of acres of oil leases that can be–but aren’t–being drilled.

  13. Bob Difley

    From Gee, “And if drilling was allowed tomorrow, there would be a frenzy of equipement being built to get the job done and the price of oil would be 50-60 bucks overnight.”
    There isn’t any credible source that agrees with that statement. The oil industry and those that study oil agree that it would be years before any ANWR oil would reach world markets, it would add an insignificant amount to world production, and would lower the price of gasoline by pennies. You can continue to believe that you are the one with the answer and everybody else in the world that has a different opinion–including the U.S. Congress–are idiots, but back that up with facts and evidence from credible sources, and keep an open mind in the event that you just might be wrong or have oversimplified what is a very complex problem.

  14. Lady Jane

    Speak of alternative fuels, and here in CA, we actually have a problem putting in new sources such as solar or wind because of the environmentalist special interest groups — they don’t want anything built anywhere!
    I know that’s a generalization, but every direction seems to have a road block.
    I think we all know we have to change some things, but why not consider, and allow to implement, all ideas?
    My friends have been discussing nuclear with its newer safer technologies, and use ocean water for cooling. Nuclear could power all the stations for recharging batteries in the cities, yet leave fuel for long drives.
    Just a thought from the sunny, windy CA high desert — we’ve got lots of resources if the technologists would just get resourceful!.

  15. Gee

    We need to throw the bums out in Washington and start over. Never have I listened to as much crap out of these idiots. The pipeline from the north slopes is at 50% and can handle the anwr load if drilled, it’s only a short distance away. We’ll be buying our own oil reserves from China and Russia when they get through drilling in our waters and at an angle to our North shores. The Russians just finished a well 42,500 ft at an angle under Alaska so how long do we wait. When everybody gets their elect cars in the next ten years while we’re still needing oil, plug them in and watch the black outs, then your car and cell phone is dead and your employer has to fire you for not showing up for work. I don’t have enough time left in my life for these bums to figure it out, I want to travel now. For the guy that made the statement about ten thousand wells being capped, you need to change your meds and quit listening to the idots that need to be out of office. And if drilling was allowed tomorrow, there would be a frenzy of equipement being built to get the job done and the price of oil would be 50-60 bucks overnight.

  16. Ice Road Truckers have been up there for several years taking products to oil drilling somehow we have to get away from foreign oil and develop new resources remember the gas line back in the 70’s

  17. Tom

    Bob made a good point in saying the oil companies don’t really have a financial reason to drill or explore for more oil when they are already making obscene profits. Why boost supplies when that could hurt their profits?

    To figure out what’s going on, we don’t have to look further than our own government and the oil companies. Our present officials don’t care that much because they are making money from this mess. Scarier still is the other side of things… The liberals, when they are elected, want us to give up our cars. That means they don’t have any incentive to help with fuel prices, either. If the prices are painful enough, they’ll accomplish their goal of making us look like Europe (bikes, buses, trains, and $9 a gallon gas).

    The sad part is, both sides are wealthy, and can afford electric cars, solar energy systems, and wind turbines. The rest of us have to suffer through the high prices because we can’t afford to lay out the capital to purchase all their expensive alternatives.


  18. Doug Mason

    Well seems to me way back when I was a pup, the oil companies drilled a lot of test wells in the Thumb of Michigan. They hit oil in most of the holes, but claimed it was to costly to produce at that time (ie mid 60’s) What does the price have to be to make it fessible to produce? I’m sure a barrel of crude was a lot lower than it is now. I’m courious, who is lying to whom at this time about our oil reserves, and our need to drill in the ANWR.

  19. Sterling

    Harold sounded smart because he had all those nice little talking points. Let me tell you that all of them were most likely pulled of an oil company website or the American Enterprise Think Tank site You can find really great points for both sides of this argument on the internet, and depends which day, I read them, I could agree with either side. I absolutely don’t trust the big oil companies, but some environmentalists are totally unrealistic in their zeal to preserve everything. We need to start moving towards better usage of the supply we do have through conservation. Isn’t it amazing to see how quickly our patterns of life can be changed, when we are forced to do so because of economics. A little frugality and belt tightening would do us all some good, and more importantly, it would leave something left for the next generation. Also, the oil boom cycle is over a 100 years old, and it is time for us to seriously be investing in new technologies rather then putting our eggs all in one basket..

  20. Nancy

    I really enjoy reading these comments and especially when so many people seem know so much about the subject. It can’t be both ways is what I think. Anyway, India and China are supposed to be the fastest developing countries in the world right now, so they are making the increased demand on the oil supply. I guess that is probably because all the manufacturing jobs are going to China and all the calls we make to American companies are being answered in India. If you follow that train of thought, that would give those people more money to spend on cars and goods, so up goes demand. At the same time, the demand is going down in this country due to our efforts to just plain survive. Besides, with so many companies shutting down and downsizing putting people are out of work, you know they aren’t doing much driving. My solution is simple: the oil companies need to charge each country appropriately. If India and China are the ones driving up the price, they need to be paying the most for their usage. If the USA is demanding less, we should be paying less. To my way of thinking, we shouldn’t be paying for their usage as well as our own. Seems simple enough, but I guess that’s the problem, it’s simple.

  21. TXBrad

    From Texas:
    1. I live in an area where “Shale” natural gas is a big going thing. Drillers can drill& and fracture shale for 2 wells @ 1 set up & have gas in about 6 months.
    Key is getting it to market gas must be piped & pipe companies are building while others drill. Oil can be shipped rail,ship, truck + pipe lines. Drillers are in Tx from Canada, etc. Japan is big into “fracking”, controls, new processes & Tech.
    Since America let most of our industry go off shore, these contries have steel mills, pipe & build rigs, valves, etc. Many small companies in Tx are gearing up w/ jobs building tanks, trucks, etc. etc. Our tech schools are gearing up w/ training. This field will soon be drilled out & people, equipment, etc. will be avaible. If there is a demand & ways to make $$$; industry will build back up.
    2. Our Congress, House, politions have never solved anything but talk B.S. & feed Media! Even IF Feds turn loose Oil companies, local cities, each, will pass more ordancies, regulations,permitting. Permitts were $200. now one city ” lets get Big oil @ $20,000. ! Some went from 300 feet from a house [old Tx. rueling for years] now 600 feet, some places go to1000 feet & on it goes. Cannot cut a tree ! Trees can be replanted! Property tax rigs if on site > 90 days ! Word here is it would take 25 years to get all the permitts for a Refinery, if a city could even found. Even if a permitt issued, some Kook would sue OIl Co !
    3. Kook ville : Democrats/socialist want to kill big oil ( tax them, sue OPEC regulate them,control them, etc. ), doing a fine job killing the airlines { American Airlines} big lay off. General motors laying off/closing plants. Listen to them:
    ‘Getting these SUV & gas guzzling trucks off the road ” THEY want to down size America to ” Hillary’s village” Live over a shoe shop & walk around the village”, while the Elite fly their Gulf stream Jets. They are after RV s & owners. Tax the rich more eliminate Bush tax cuts & anyone owning an RV is “rich” How about that folks????
    4. RVing is real big in America. not only just units on the road; but rigsupport mfgs, sales lots, repair shops, camping sales stores, engines, wheels, etc. And, how many RV parks in America. The Auto industry sells big/special trucks to pull trailers. So, this fuel issue impacts many/many w/ RVs. Also, Redeo folks, horse ownersridersshowers, 4H kids pull trailers & many also have motor-homes. From NASCAR drivers to Rock Bands all travel very nice Motorhomes.
    We have many groups/clubs from KOA, Sam Club, Winnibagos to FMC. So, we need to get everyone together & drill now get reasonable fuel price. Sure as the rigs wear out & people buy new; maybe something will be developed. If the airlines don’t leave America ( plug in planes ? fuel cell planes) Of,Course China, India & Saudi will fly on cheap govt sub.Jet fuel.
    We need the Wal-Mart approach ! 90 days prescription = $10. !!!! Check it: Mfg. in India Distr.by Wal-Mart WeRV comunity just need to get in fuel business. Put pumps @ Camping World’ stores, every RV park , etc. They already sell propane.
    Sell only to RVs !! how about that TX

  22. Frank

    “Obscene Profits”? Please look at the return on invested capital of the oil companies vs. Microsoft, Intel, etc. in the tech sector, before you talk about profits. The tech sector profit (Gross Margin or any other measure) makes the oil companies look poor.

  23. Gee Gup

    Remember…not only is our gas tank filled with oil products but most of the items we use have by-products of oil. So just getting an alternative energy plan will not cut the use for oil for these products. Because we fill out tank and it cost $100 or so each time we think only of that. What would we do with car bodies, eating supplies, tools and all the other times that use oil to be made???

    Excellent answer to Bob Difley by Harrold. I was wondering where Bob was getting his information. Thank you Harrold.

    Like the old story: If I start to get a BS Degree today I will be 45 in 4 years. Well, how old will you be in 4 years without a BS Degree? If we have to rely on foreign oil should there be another BIG WAR we are hurting. Lets Drill now and make sure we have our own supply. Capped wells are not all bad…like a rainy day. We need to build Refineries….plus get on the other energy making methods mentioned.

    Remember….most people are NOT going to be able to BUY a NEW Hybrid vehicle or electric one or update their houses with the latest greatest. Of course Obama will tax the oil companies and give those that can not afford to do this the money to go and buy it. RIGHT….GET REAL….

    I remember as a kid and gas at 12 to 25 cents that we did NOT go to town all week. Saturday night to sell the eggs, cream and get groceries…then Sunday to church! Now I go twice a day! It was only 3 1/2 miles then and it is 9 miles today!!!

    May have to stay home and read and work vs. buying all of everything!!!

  24. Fred

    Dan. All of our elected Congress gets a salary for doing their job. Giving them an incentive for doing their job is self defeating to us citizens. Those that will do their job will get re-elected based on their merits. Those that cater to special interest groups will get theirs in the end. It is complex beyond our imagination.

  25. Fred

    Harold Leggett. In reference to your response to point (3), when looking on the proper Government website, I found that the BLM holds the leases with the oil companies in Alaska. The BLM is, of course a bureau of the Department of the Interior. The Secretary of the Interior is a cabinet member and was appointed by President Bush in 2005.

    The Secretary of the Interior, at Bush’s and Chaney’s request, made the oil companies, ARCO for one, cap the wells and put the current moratorium on those active wells in Alaska. There are over ten thousand capped active wells on the north slope. Neither Nancy Pelosi nor the Congress, Republican or Democrat, had anything to do with the above action.

    This is just one more reason the oil companies and our government are a part of the big picture of why the high prices. Shut done the wells, reduce the supply, raise the price.

    By the way, there is a new oil field on Gull Island, 5 miles off the coast from Prudhoe Bay, that by ARCO’s own estimate, would swallow the entire country of Saudi Arabia. ARCO and the U.S. Department of the Interior are keeping it a secret from the citizen’s of our country. I don’t know the motive.

  26. Scott S

    One thing I have not seen written about it that the Russians are drilling up in the north with no one to stop them and with the new drilling ways going sideways who’s to stop them from getting what is under our area. They are already drilling off Florida, should we just give them our oil?

  27. Jeff

    Take a look at this alternative website from GasBankUSA that I found while looking on the web to try and see if anyone offered a solution to the rising cost of gas. The website is located at http://www.gasbankusa.com and discusses a fixed price gas solution and a way to lock in a price for gas and diesel fuels.

  28. Jking

    article from the WSJ just on this subject.

    Quest for Oil:
    Where to Look
    Is the Question
    Drill on New Lands
    Or Existing Fields?
    Fueled by Gas Price
    June 16, 2008; Page A4

    The oil industry is turning up the heat on Congress to open up more federal land to oil and natural-gas drilling, arguing that will do more to cut energy prices than new taxes on industry profits. But environmentalists and Congressional Democrats opposed to that tack are firing back with a new challenge: Drill what you have.

    For years, political and environmental obstacles have limited the oil industry’s access to large swaths of U.S. territory, most notably the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northern Alaska.
    Democrats have tended to support restrictions on access to sensitive lands and focused on other ways to drive down prices: reining in speculators; punishing the OPEC oil cartel; and funding research on alternative-energy sources, possibly via a windfall-profits tax on oil companies.

    Industry backers, including many Republicans, say the answer to high prices is increased supply and that the way to do that is to drill in areas now off-limits.

    Now, voter anger over soaring gasoline prices is shoving this perennial dispute to the top of Washington’s energy agenda. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, benchmark crude for July delivery fell $1.88 Friday to settle at $134.86, near its all-time high. Last Monday, the average retail price for a gallon of regular unleaded was $4.039, according to the Energy Information Administration.

    A recent Gallup poll shows 57% of Americans support opening up new territories to drilling, while a Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll conducted this month shows 59% of Americans saying Congress should take the lead on responding to high gas prices.

    Although high prices are giving the oil industry a new opportunity to make its case for greater access to domestic petroleum, the industry’s allies in the Democratic-controlled Congress have so far had little success. Last week, a House panel voted against lifting a decades-old ban on drilling in the outer continental shelf.

    Complicating matters, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has broken with many members of his party, including President Bush, in saying he would oppose drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He has indicated he would defer to the wishes of coastal states on drilling in the outer continental shelf.

    Democrats are looking to shift the terms of the debate by arguing it is possible to increase domestic oil production without opening up new lands. The government, they point out, has leased some 91.5 million acres of land and waters for drilling, but federal data show only about a quarter of that is producing oil and gas. Moreover, the portion is shrinking; about 27% of the onshore acres were producing oil and gas in 2007, down from an average of 30.5% in production over the preceding decade.

    The industry and its backers say such arguments reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of the oil industry. Companies don’t know how much oil is under the lands they lease, so they buy up large swaths in the hope that a fraction will work out. Much of the area that isn’t producing, they say, doesn’t have oil or gas in commercially viable quantities.
    Moreover, bringing a new field into production can require years of mapping, testing, drilling and construction — during which time the land would show up in statistics as being “not in production,” even as companies spend millions or even billions of dollars to bring it online.

    “I guarantee you, anybody who’s got a commercial discovery today in the United States has got it under development. They’d be silly not to at these prices,” Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Rex Tillerson said in an interview.

    Such explanations aren’t winning over skeptical Democrats on Capitol Hill. “Why should we expect oil-and-gas companies to rush into new areas to begin production when they are sitting on literally millions and millions of acres of existing leases without doing any production on those?” Sen. Jeff Bingaman, a New Mexico Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, said in a speech last month.
    Mr. Bingaman added in an interview, “If there have been a lot of leases let that are not produceable, that’s information we need to have to determine whether we should renew those leases. There’s no reason to renew leases if they’re not produceable.”

    Some lawmakers are mulling ways to change the industry’s incentives. Wall Street increasingly values oil companies — especially the smaller ones that dominate onshore U.S. production — based on their reserves, not just their production. That gives companies an incentive to snap up land even if they won’t be able to drill it for years.

    On Thursday, House Democrats introduced legislation that seeks to compel energy companies to either produce or give up the federal onshore and offshore leases they are holding, by barring them from obtaining any more leases unless they can demonstrate that they are producing oil and gas, or are “diligently developing” the leases they hold.

    Currently, companies must give up nonproducing leases after a set period of time — usually five or 10 years — but they can often get extensions, and there is no limit on the number of leases a company can hold at a given time.

    The bill is modeled on a 1976 law that attempted to discourage speculation on federal coal as a result of the energy crises of the 1970s.

    “If they’re bidding on these leases, we’re assuming they’re bidding on them because they believe there’s a high-percentage likelihood that there is oil there. And if they don’t, then they should not have bid on them,” says Rep. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who is chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

    Red Cavaney, president of the American Petroleum Institute, a trade group, called Mr. Markey’s remarks, “naive.”

    “They call the first step in the oil business ‘exploration.’ If every bit of land had oil and gas, you wouldn’t need to explore,” he said.

    High prices have driven new interest in fields that weren’t economical when oil was selling for less than $60 a barrel three years ago. If prices stay high, Mr. Cavaney said, the percentage of leased land in production will rise.

    Even if the lands are opened to drilling, however, most experts don’t expect immediate relief from high prices. The more-accessible reserves off the coasts of California and Florida would take several years to bring into production, and the remote Arctic refuge would take a decade or more. Even once those fields did come online, their impact on prices would likely be limited. The largest field in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is believed to contain about 1.4 billion barrels of oil — roughly half what Saudi Arabia exports in a single year.

    As oil prices have hit records, proponents of drilling in new areas have increased pressure on Congress. A group led by the former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Wednesday that its “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” petition drive had netted half a million signatures.

    Industry supporters say they can’t be sure how much oil exists in areas they haven’t explored. But they say there are good reasons to think large reserves exist in areas now closed to drilling. Closed areas in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of California, for example, abut areas that have been drilled successfully for years.

    The industry also complains that efforts to produce on leased land are sometimes slowed by environmental groups. In the West Tavaputs field in Northeastern Utah, Denver-based Bill Barrett Corp. is producing natural gas on only 30% of the more than 40,000 acres of federal land it owns the rights to there. The company says its progress has been stymied by legal challenges from environmental groups.

    Steve Bloch, an attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, says his group and others have been trying to slow drilling in the area but they have often been unsuccessful. State-wide, he adds, his group has objected to only a small fraction of drilling-permit applications.

    Write to Stephen Power at [email protected] and Ben Casselman at [email protected]

  29. bob dawson

    I keep hearing the elected officials talk about the time to get oil and or other enegry.
    It seems to me we voted for the wrong people for the past years because if they had started alternative energy policies in the 70s we would be in fine condition.

    Remember this year to vote all current members out and try again till we need to vote them out.

    bob retired in mo and stuck with empty diesel tank

  30. Richard Flynn

    Well that’s all and good … but until an alternative is up and running you had better
    start drilling in Anwr and besides if you quit reading the far left newspapers and
    magazines you would know that where they want to drill is in no mans land and no one in his right mind would call this pristine and beautiful In the summer it’s an uninhabitated swamp and in winter it’s an absolute desolate place that even Polar bears infrequently visit

  31. chili

    Oil is a dead end. We need to end our addiction sooner, rather than later. I love my PSD, but we as a country can do better. We have the most inventive, resourceful, brillant, and dedicated people in the entire world. Let’s open up the floodgates and create an energy revolution. ANWR perpetuates the status quo. It’s time to make a change.

  32. calypso

    … and if we elect a Democrat Executive to go with the Democrat Legislative, we will soon have (more of) a Democrat Judicial and finally all our problems will be solved. We will really start seeing things happen in government!

    Raise everyone’s taxes and Washington will have the resources to fix everything. They know better than we do.

    Uh huh.

  33. Dan

    Greed… politics… and stupidity! Everyone says it will take 10 years to see any benefit, well, it seems 10 years from now we will be still saying it’s going to take 10 years. The clock is ticking while we stand with one foot on top of the other foot and say “I can’t move!”Some of us so called “boomers” probably won’t see the end of this. What legacy do we want to leave our kids and grandkids? We need to do something about the “BS” in Washington. Let’s dock Congress some pay until they figure out something. Put them on an incentive program, where if they come up with some kind of solution they get a bonus. I think we should all say that we are “tired of this, and we don’t want to take it anymore!”

  34. Harold Leggett

    Bob, to answer your questions:

    (1) If we need ANWR’s oil so much, why haven’t the oil companies drilled the 65 million acres they already have leases on?

    It’s 68 million acres, and (2) they have. Some leases are producing, but only a small percentage are economically viable. Most of the acreage is dry holes. Which everybody knows going in …

    (2) The oil companies answer is that they don’t have the people or the equipment, that it is all busy in other places.

    That is not their answer. Viable acreage is being drilled and, in most cases, over-drilled. If more economically viable areas are available, of course assets can be relocated. I do not know the source of your “information,” but I would query the fundamental validity thereof …

    (3) If that is the case, where will they get the people and equipment to drill ANWR?

    Buy it. Write the checks. Just like with Prudhoe Bay. It’s not hard. Why do you imply that this would somehow be over-difficult? The only hold-up is that drilling of these PROVEN reserves is prohibited by the government, more accurately the U.S. House of Representatives, controlled by the Democratic Party under Speaker Nancy Pelosi. That is the SOLE obstacle.

    (4) Will they pull it from other locations that are already pumping oil? Best to get the oil in ANWR if and when they can get it, before public mood changes. After all, they will still have the leases, even after they drill ANWR.

    That’s a statement, and a fundamentally falacious one to boot.

    (5) Why should the oil companies look for more oil, when that oil would increase supply and could lower the price. Is lower prices what they want?

    You can safely assume that the PUBLICLY-owned oil companies seek to maximize profits. I own multiple oil companies, or pieces thereof, and that is the proper business behaviour for any company.

    Are you a socialist?

    (6) Do you think oil prices will ever come down while China’s and India’s economies are surging ahead and they are willing to buy oil at any price to keep their economies booming? And don’t forget, they subsidize their fuel, so their citizens don’t pay market prices for gasoline. (Check fuel prices in India or China).

    Certainly, with sufficient supply. Demand-supply curves and all that. Economics 101.

    (7) If the oil companies do produce more oil, will they, in their patriotic fervor for the USA and their altruistic feelings toward producing cheap fuel for our RVs, sell the oil cheaply for domestic supply, or will they instead sell it on the open market at current stratospheric prices. Guess.

    Again, a statement. If that is your considered position, you might want to bolster your conclusion with a bit more data from reading up on the subjects of (1) business, (2) energy, and (3) peak oil theory (or practice, for that matter…).

    (8) Can anybody produce a credible source that feels that we can satisfy our domestic needs with domestic supply?

    Yes. But it is not a “feeling” … I don’t make decisions or draw conclusions based upon feelings, even though I understand this behaviour pattern is very popular in liberal academia, in labor unions, and in the left / liberal wing of the Democratic Party.

    (9) We will still need to develop alternative sources of energy if we want to stop depending on foreign oil and the whims of OPEC countries. Then why aren’t we subsidizing those new sources, rather than continuing to subsidize the oil companies whose profits are already ridiculously obscene.

    Again, a statement — the sole difference being that your fundamental premise is closer to correct than incorrect.

    Oil is efficient. The alternatives are less so, in some cases (nuclear) much exacerbated by inordinate government interference / barriers / regulation based on old data.

    Just a few simple questions to ponder.

    Consider them pondered.

    Happy trails, and safe arrivals …

    Best regards,

    Harold …

  35. Rick

    Term limits………Term limits………Term limits!

  36. Julius

    No one seems to understand that the price of oil is quoted in US Dollars. All countries pay for their oil no matter where it comes from in US Dollar prices. Therefore, sense the US Dollar has decreased in value ( & is continuing to do so), the oil producers expect, rightly so, to charge more for their oil. So, until the US Dollar returns to is former value, there will be no drop in oil prices. Admittedly, the “future speculators” also are driving the price higher & so is the new consumption by China & India. But over all it is the value of the US Dollar that is having the greatest on the price of oil.

  37. calypso

    Bob, the language you use in your posts, especially point (7) above, tips your hand. You are more about bashing “big oil” than finding solutions.

    Who was the moronic member of congress from California who let it slip that she favors “socializing” (read nationalizing) the oil industry? Do you agree with her?

    The Democrats absolutely will not do a single thing to mitigate the energy crisis until after the election, because McCain is on the side favored by most logical minded voters. To hell with the electorate. Winning in November is everything. They can deal with energy later. And the voters will once again forgive them.

    This is no longer science. It’s politics. And radical environmentalism.

    I’m not on your side Bob.

  38. willie

    having the rights to land does not mean there is oil there. The oil companies lease large section hoping that the one area out of 1000’s of acres leased may pay-off. Working in ANWR is simple because there is work already being done in the area, pipelines exist ready to flow the oil. It easy to look at oil companies when they report earnings based on the milliion’s of gallons of oil sold on the market, nobody is aroun when they spend 10-15 million dollars on a dry hole. Even with toda’s modern GPS and survey equipment every hole drilled is not an automatic moneymaker. The footprint which in scale is a postage stamp to a football field in proportions is worth the gamble. It is time to tell our congress to Drill here Drill now, open up the areas along the coast for drilling.

  39. John – that’s an absolutely brilliant idea – and that’s why it probably will never see the light of day. I have an idea – let’s get a movement going to suggest everyone vote to replace every standing member of congress – no one currently holding office should bre re-elected. Newly elected members won’t be in someone’s pocket yet and might actually vote for some new ideas!

  40. John Johnson

    Rather than waste time and energy, no pun intended, arguing which additional energy sources to choose, why not realize that we need as much additional energy from as many sources as feasible? Nuclear, ANWR, bio, fuel cells, wind…turn them all loose to produce as much as possible as quickly as possible. If it’s 10 years before ANWR comes on stream, that’s OK because we’ll need the energy then. If it’s 10 years before a new nuclear plant can operate, that’s OK because we’ll the energy then. We don’t have the luxury of selectively choosing additional energy sources. The facts are that given our continuing need for energy and the increasing need for energy from the developing economies in China, India and elsewhere, how can we think we can pick and choose which additional/increased eneregy sources we will encourage. Encourage them all and let the market decide which is the favored source.

  41. How about this as an idea? How about our marvelous Congress getting off their collective behinds and change some laws – legalize only our very own U.S. oil companies drill in our very own U.S. oil fields, and sell it only to our very own U.S. citizens? and no one else.

  42. John – What I can’t answer is whether the amount of anticipated oil in ANWR and along our coasts is enough to affect the total world supply. Also, I suspect that the oil futures markets won’t start adjusting prices until this anticipated oil might actually reach the world markets, so in the short term I wouldn’t expect any lowering of prices. Even the oil companies admit that it would be years until that oil became available, and by that time the demand from India and China will probably far surpass the extra oil obtained. The demand for oil is far greater than the supply and will remain so as long as the economies of India and China continue their growth, and I can’t imagine oil prices ever coming down by much–and staying down–until alternative sources are found and brought into mainstream supply. Bob

  43. Jim, I don’t buy into the conspiracy theory, and Al Gore is a politician first and formost, so you can guess how far I trust him. Particularly when more and more climate scientists are coming out of the closet and saying that we’re going overboard with our global warming concerns.

    But look at my post athttp://ahrensadventures.com/blog/?p=127 to see one of my favorite solutions from the RVing perspective. Of course, using fuel cells means we need inexpensive electricity, which means we need to be encouraging nuclear power. Solar and wind will never be inexpensive, with the exception of orbital solar could be less expensive if allowed to develop.

    Bob, part of my suspicion of the oil bubble comes from an analyst who spent a number of years in the oil industry, now following technology. He expects the prices to come down significantly even without the ANWR and offshore areas opened up.

  44. Jim

    To believe is fine, to think is better.
    Al Gore is correct on many levels. But the price is not artificial. This government is in cahoots with the oil companies and the selfish suppliers.
    High prices,though painful, will bring innovation in alternative energy.
    The genuine patriots of our great country can find the solutions.

  45. Since oil is a world commodity with price driven largely by expected future supply and demand, don’t you suppose that just the act of announcing opening up the ANWR and Pacific and Atlantic coasts to drilling would bring the price down?

    Of course, since Al Gore thinks government should artificially push the price to $5.00/gal, don’t expect the current crop in Congress to do anything to bring the price down, other than shout about the “EEVIL OOIL COMPANIES!!”(tm).