Why “Drill Baby Drill” Advocates Are So Wrong

 

The “drill baby drill” advocates are at it again. This time, the cry for more drilling is coming from the American Petroleum Institute (API). The API released a report recently that outlined a plan to open up the Outer Continental Shelf, the Gulf of Mexico, onshore and offshore in the Arctic and other public lands to oil drilling. The report states that the plan would increase oil production by almost 50 percent.

There is a problem with the report’s premise that drilling like mad will supply enough oil to eliminate imports: it’s impossible. Even if the Pacific and Atlantic Coasts plus the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico were opened up to drilling, the U.S. would still import 41 percent of the oil used in 2030, according to a 2009 analysis by the Energy Information Analysis (EIA). In other words, destroying our oceans through massive oil drilling would only make a dent in how much oil we need to import to keep up with demand. The EIA estimates that by 2030, the daily U.S. oil demand will be almost 23 million barrels.

Phyllis Martin, a senior EIA energy analyst, told Scientific American in 2008 that offshore drilling doesn’t make much of a difference when it comes to oil prices. “The amount of total production anticipated — around 200,000 barrels a day — would be less than 1 percent of the total projected international consumption,” Martin said.

When Media Matters asked energy analyst Chris Nelder a few years ago if the U.S. could achieve true energy independence through only drilling, he answered, “Not even close.”

Oceana’s plan to eliminate the need to drill for oil

Last spring, Oceana released its 2020 Vision Plan to eliminate the need for drilling by 2020, the need to import oil from the Persian Gulf by 2023 and all imports by 2030. The plan consists of the following:

  • Improving efficiency in commercial ocean-going ships by slowing down 10 percent which would decrease their fuel use by 23 percent
  • Shift residential and commercial heating from oil to electricity. Shifting only 25 percent of the homes and businesses that use oil for heating to electricity would alleviate the need for about 228,000 barrels of oil a day
  • Stop using oil to generate electricity which would alleviate the need for 200,000 barrels of oil a day
  • Power light-duty vehicles with electricity and celluslosic ethanol which would eliminate the need for about 1.4 million barrels of oil a day

“Rather than being held hostage by the status quo, Oceana devised a practical plan to end America’s oil habit. We can make major changes within the next 12 years,” said Oceana senior campaign director Jacqueline Savitz. “Our plan focuses on four sectors: heating, transportation, shipping and power generation, and substitutes clean energy for current uses of oil. With conservative projections of renewable energy generation potential, we show that there are safer ways to meet our nation’s energy needs,” Savitz added.

Photo: Flickr user, mrpbps

191 comments

Alan B.
Alan B5 years ago

Shirley M.the dudes who would oppose the very idea of "free electricity" are the mega -rich shareholders in power companies,who wrested control of said power utilities from public ownership,so they could receive a lot of money from us per year,& put up prices if they were not satisfied.I can see that the only real possibility of pollution free power,is SOLAR,with research funds such as those provided to the coal & nuclear industries I,m sure we can do it.

SEND
Shirley Marsh
Shirley Marsh6 years ago

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. How true. There are enough examples around the world demonstrating going green actually stimulates economies, creates jobs, and encourages new technologies focused on cleaning up our world and making life worth living again, but there are still those who cry 'won't work'! You could demonstrate the facts to them 'til you're blue in the face, but there's none so blind as those that won't see (sorry about all the quotes!).

Here's hoping these people are in the minority and the majority will take up the challenge and support innovation and 'outside the box' thinking. We can all help individually by making the installation of solar power in our homes a priority. What's so bad about free electricity?

SEND
Roger B.
Roger Bird6 years ago

Brian, an "aggressive program" for anything, including solar, means that someone else is paying for part of the cost of the solar that goes on one's roof. The cost of roof top solar in the USA for every family would be roughly $2.66 trillion dollars. Someone will pay for that, even if you think that the government has unlimited money, which they don't. The money comes from somewhere. And that solar, from what I understand, and I hope that I am wrong, deteriorates at roughly 6% per year.

SEND
Brian F.
Brian F6 years ago

ctric car cost $32,000. But the price will only come down if we mass produce the batteries and the cars. Also, we need to put charging stations everywhere. The same is true for solar, we need to mass produce solar panels to compete with China and drive the price down. We could all drive electric cars and charge them up at our homes with our own home solar power systems if the dirty mendacious republican party, that is bought and paid for by the oil, coal, and gas industry would let us. But that will never happen, because if we did that the dirty oil, coal, and natural gas industries would go out of buissness, and the republican crooks and liars wouldn't get the millions of dollars they get paid to allow the oil, gas, and coal companies to pollute and destroy our enviroment.

SEND
Brian F.
Brian F6 years ago

First of all, I hear alought of negativity and misinformation from Marc C, Joe V and Diane O. Solar power has come down 75% in the last 4 years and will continue to drop. The average home system, a 5kw system cost about $30,000. But by 2015, it is predicted to cost $15,000. Germany leads the world in solar installations even though they have less sunshine than our state of Maine. Why. Because they have an agressive feed and tariff system that forces the government to get involved, purchess the excess power, and help homeowners, install and finance solar power on their homes. If we had an agressive government program like Germany has, we could put a solar power installation on every home in America. Solyndra failed because our government does not back solar and wind power as much as it should. China is spending 5 times more money than us in solar and wind power. The result, China produces far more solar panels, driving the cost down, China surpassed us in wind power installations, largely because the republicans blocked a national energy standard. China will crush us in wind and solar power in the next 5 years because they have a 5 year plan and they don't have greedy republicans in their government that are bought and paid for by the oil, coal, and gas industry like we do here. We could lead the world in solar, wind, and electric cars if the dirty republican party would allow us, and stop sucking up to the oil and gas industry. The Chevy Volt cost $40,000, the Nissan Leaf ele

SEND
Roger B.
Roger Bird6 years ago

Diana, despite your sarcasm, yours was a good question. The price may or may not go down. The price relative to oil, gas, and coal will go down. First the price of the carbs will go up as they get more rare. Gradually, people will start switching over. Some of that switching over will happen because of idealism, which we are already seeing with the Volt, etc. My house is filled with CFLs because of idealism. As the science of sustainables gets better, and the market gets bigger, the price will go down (relative to carbs). When the upward moving price of carbs crosses the downward moving (relative to carbs) price of sustainables, then people will start switching over much more and we won't have to depend upon idealism or government mandate.

Roger

SEND
Frank Dubovik
Frank Dubovik6 years ago

Elizabeth K. only a fool would think you could get enough wind a solar to power everything and then there is the hazardous waste after the cells and battery's wear put got an Idea on handling that. May be you can figure out how to rig a semi with a sail.

SEND
William Baylor
William Baylor6 years ago

John H, tipical scum, don't show you face do you! Scum bag!

SEND
Diane O.
Diane O6 years ago

Roger and JohnH, I hear you! So, when do you think we can expect the cost to go down? Don't you think the cost is only going to go up? What goes down these days other than the value of your car when you drive it off the lot? LOL!

Help me understand...

SEND
Roger B.
Roger Bird6 years ago

Drilling for gas and oil and mining for coal is just recycling. Plants desperately need the CO2. I know; they told me.

SEND