Thursday, November 03, 2005

Laying this to Rest... finally

For over a year now, ANWR has been cited as being at the top of our President's agenda. He has relentlessly pushed for the drilling in ANWR, and has been echoed by a great number of the conservative side of this nation. However, there is indisputable evidence that the goals he hopes to achieve with the drilling in ANWR are not possible given the size of the oil field that is believed to lie there. In February, 2004, Rep. Richard Pombo, R-CA, and Chairman of the US House Committee on Resources, asked the Energy Information Administration, a government organization, to form a report on the prospects of ANWR drilling. They responded with a report in March of that same year, and here are highlights of the report. If you would like to read the entire report, you can find it at

* "Opening the coastal plain of ANWR is projected to reduce 2025 oil import dependence from 70 percent in the AEO2004 reference case to just 66 percent in the mean resource case. The high and low oil resource cases project a 2025 oil import dependency of 64 and 67 percent, respectively."
MEANING: if we open up ANWR, the best-scenario case illustrates that we will decrease our oil dependency by just 6%.

* "The opening of the ANWR 1002 Are to oil and gas development is projected to increase domestic oil production starting in 2013."
MEANING: if we start this now (2004 when the report was written) it would take 9 years to even start to see the oil emerging from these fields.

* "It is expected that the price impact of ANWR coastal plain production might reduce world oil prices by as much as 30 to 50 cents per barrel, relative to a projected price 2025 world oil price of $27 per barrel (2002 dollars) in the AEO2004 reference case. Assuming that world oil markets continue to work as they do today, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries could countermand any potential price impact of ANWR coastal plain production by reducing its exports by an equal amountl."
MEANING: If we develop oil in ANWR, we will reduce the price of oil by 1.1 to 1.9% per barrel of oil. But that prediction is not final, as OPEC could shift production to keep prices where they are.

* "Expenditures on foreign oil and petroleum products are also projected to be lower in 2025 by $8 billion (2002 dollars) in the mean oil resource case, and by $15 and $6 billion in the high and low oil resource cases, respectively."
MEANING: By 2025, we will spend approximately $200 billion on foreign oil imports. This development would reduce that figure by 4%.

This report was generated by a federal agency under this administration. It also make references to the fact that transportation of the oil, via a pipeline, could run over budget (as the TAPS - Trans-American Pipeline System did in the 70s and 80s when developping Prudhoe bay), and the timing effect of getting the oil to market is approximate... it could be longer or shorter, depending on the actual discoveries and production process.

However, this report demonstrates the fact that it is a waste of energy to try and hold all of our hopes on this solution to the problem. The solutions that need to be sought are increased fuel economy (Carter's CAFE standards of the 70s), new fuel products (biodielsel, electric, hydrogen, etc.), and better city planning (increased usage of public transportation and walking/biking/etc.).

I suggest you write to your Congressman/woman, highlight the facts of this report, and make them aware of the importance of seeking real solutions to this problem. Drilling in ANWR will not solve our energy dilemma, and this report should be the final nail in the coffin of the drilling proposals. Please try to spread the word.

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