Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Friday, April 30, 2010

Deep Sea Drilling, the Oil Supply and the Environment

OK, I'm not an expert on oil drilling or the world's oil supply. But I have heard (on the radio, news etc), that one of the things that make some people say that world oil reserves are not going to start running out soon is the kind of new technology involved in deep sea oil drilling.

There is a lot of speculation about oil reserves under the Arctic Ocean (which is about to be conveniently less ice filled). To get at that oil - like the oil in the Gulf of Mexico - oil companies need to drill in really deep water just to get to the ocean floor, let alone down to where the oil is.

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is looking to be the worst ever. The reason is because it is extremely difficult to cap broken well heads when they are under thousands of feet of ocean water. Does this crisis off the Gulf Coast give us a preview of things to come? Will these kinds of deep sea oil spills be more likely in the future as more and more deep sea rigs are built?

The specter this raises for me is a period of intensified sea drilling as oil reserves in the easy to get areas dry up. This, in turn, would lead to intensified environmental problems. The talk now is about a catastrophic environmental disaster even worse than that caused by the infamous Exxon Valdiz spill.

I think this incident shows that "drill baby drill" is not a realistic solution to our energy needs. As oil supplies level off and demand continues to increase, drilling in ever more difficult to reach places (with the related safety and environmental complications) will only increase the ultimate costs of the inevitable transition away from fossil fuels. But I doubt the "drill baby drill" crowd will care much about the environmental damage or see it as anything but a random fluke event.


The Law Talking Guy said...

I'm sure that Barack Obama has called before him whatever politico thought that he should make a pre-emptive compromise on offshore drilling and reamed him a new one. The Obama administration wishes so much that they could say "we told you so" along with every other environmental group.

The bottom line is that oil reserves are finite. We may not know how big, but finite they are. The sooner we wean ourselves from them, the better.

Raised By Republicans said...

No kidding. And it would have been a symbolic thing at best anyway because the big oil companies have not fully exploited the areas they have access to now. It's not as if the oil companies have exploited all the resources they have and are being held back - they just want to put the drilling rights on their books so they count them as future assets.

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