Monday, June 30, 2008

Florida Crude

Kevin Spear of the Orlando Sentinel does a good job of presenting both sides in the debate regarding off shore drilling on the Florida gulf coast. Reasonable people who are tired of hearing all the crazy talk would be well served to check it out.

My two favorite "myths" each side rolls out:

Oil rigs in the Gulf will disrupt the pristine view from the beach - The rigs are at least 50 miles out. On a good day you can only see 20 miles to the horizon. No snowbird basking on the sugar sand will ever know they are there.

There's plenty of oil in the gulf - According to the article one estimate has the entire east Gulf reserve containing a whopping half year supply based on current consumption rates. Those in certain talk radio circles would have you believe all that is required is sticking a straw through the silt to slake our thirst. But on two things everyone with sense agrees - we don't really know how much is out there and it will take a minimum of five years, more likely ten, to reach production. Consider these factors the next time you hear some loon ranting that drilling in the gulf will cause the price of gas to magically drop.

At the end of the day, it is a complex issue where both sides tend to roll out their pet myths. The only defense against the vapors of fear is education. Use it.


Pokerista said...

I can remember years ago when I was still in college and they did a study of estimated oil and gas available and collectible off the FL coast--it was a lot more natural gas and not very much oil at all, at least not in places where it is reachable. That info has been around for awhile, those who want to drill drill drill just simply ignore it.

Sara said...

Also, that link no work.

griftdrift said...

Link fixed

Felch Dumas said...

It seems to me that the gulf shore and artic circle drilling efforts are more of diversionary tactics. The drilling efforts represent the easy way out, or just a stop gap measure. The root of the problem lies with the ever increasing demand for crude oil.
Even with the drilling, the oil companies do not have sufficient capabilities to process more crude oil since the record profits of the oil companies are not being re-invested into increased process capacity. Therefore any increased demand will not be met, no matter how much oil is available. It seems, by this action, that even the oil companies are tacitly admitting the end of the oil age. There will be no return on investment for increasing processing capabilities since, at some point and time, there will be only reserves that are too difficult or too expensive to harvest.
At some time in the near future, the demand for refined oil products such as gasoline and diesel will not be able to be balanced with the demand for heating products such as natural gas and the prices will again spiral upward.
But the politicians and media ignore these points of view to focus on the re-election ramblings and knee jerk reactions.
Since the last gas crisis we have had thirty years to formulate a solution to the world energy crisis. The solution was to offer more crude using more efficient means of extraction. No viable alternatives were strenuously sought. Only recently have the electric automobile, hybrid automobile, or hydrogen automobile been rolled out in a mainstream environment. And the limitations on these lie within the battery design and the dependence on electricity generation.
What, especially in Atlanta, have we gained in regards to mass transit in those thirty years? A fragmented attempt in the early 80s to provide a bare minimum. No significant expansion outside of the perimeter was seriously attempted due to politics and economics. When the time came for expanding a single or harmonized mass transit system to all of what is considered metro Atlanta, gas was cheap again and the need was not seen as a priority as everyone could afford to drive 60 miles to work. Now we pay the price for this stagnation.
It is time for the mainstream media to quit pandering to the politicians and start demanding the hard answers. And I am not just talking about cheap gas. It is time to become sustainable.

rptrcub said...

In the end, the increasing demand for oil abroad is the main reason, in my mind, why oil prices will continue to climb, no matter how much America decides to drill.

@Felch Dumas: The last American politician who tried to get the country thinking ahead of the curve went down in flames in 1980.

BTW, Grifty: thanks for the blogroll ad.

Felch Dumas said...

I guess I am just the loon ranting about why the prices will never go down, magically or otherwise!

@rptrcub: I know. My vote was on that plane going down in flames. Instead we got some actor. Politics have been hell ever since.

Anonymous said...

Back when I remembered High School Trig, I figured that a normal-sized person standing at the water's edge can't see more than maybe 8 miles.

The higher above the water you are, of course, the farther you can see.

So the problem isn't the oil platforms--it's people hanging out on the balconies of hideous high-rise condos and hotels that displaced quaint, run-down pre-WWII motels and beach houses along the Gulf Coast.

Which spoils the pristine beauty of northern Florida more? Platforms 20 miles out, or waterfront developers?

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