The Truth About ANWR

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: off-shore drilling is the biggest scam since we were told the Iraq had links with al-Qaeda. But, time and time again, the Republicans (and now, their evil twin, the Dems, are supporting it as well) have been saying that it will reduce crude oil and gas prices significantly, and, get this: it can be done in two years! Finally, we’ll be able to break our dependence on foreign oil by… making ourselves dependent on our own oil! Just what the Bushies and the neocon overlords geniuses have been waiting for all these years! Surely these claims aren’t exaggerated, and there’s ample hard data to back the hyperbole up, right? Right?


The Energy Information Administration, or EIA for short, released a comprehensive study in May of this year detailing what would happen should we choose to drill in ANWR… And the results of the study do not show what the conservatives and, to an extent, the liberals want you to think. Wake up America: this off-shore drilling business is just political deception designed to get votes for McCain. It’s so effective at swaying voters’ minds that Barack Obama, too, has had to swing his stance on off-shore drilling in an effort to keep pace, still repeating the lies of the self-proclaimed oil experts who will make false projections so their pals at Exxon or BP can rake in the cash. The EIA report contradicts everything that has been said about off-shore drilling, from the calls that we’ll be able to drill within 2 years, to the claim that it’d drastically shrink oil prices. Hell, it won’t even affect our dependence on foreign oil significantly! Here’s the study if you want it.

Ready to debunk off-shore drilling? Here we go:

On the 2 year lie:

The assumption that ANWR oil production would begin 10 years after legislation approves the Federal oil and natural gas leasing in the 1002 Area is based on the following 8-to-12 year timeline:

• 2 to 3 years to obtain leases, including the development of a U.S. Bureau of Land
Management (BLM) leasing program, which includes approval of an Environmental
Impact Statement…
• 2 to 3 years to drill a single exploratory well. Exploratory wells are slower to drill
because geophysical data are collected during drilling, e.g., rock cores and well logs.
Typically, Alaska North Slope exploration wells take two full winter seasons to reach the desired depth.
• 1 to 2 years to develop a production development plan and obtain BLM approval for that plan, if a commercial oil reservoir is discovered. Considerably more time could be required if the discovered oil reservoir is very deep, is filled with heavy oil, or is highly faulted…
• 3 to 4 years to construct the feeder pipelines; to fabricate oil separation and treatment plants, and transport them up from the lower-48 States to the North Slope by ocean barge; construct drilling pads; drill to depth; and complete the wells.

That’s right, with current estimates, it’d take a minimum of 8 years to get one barrel of oil out of ANWR. John McCain would be out of office in his second term (assuming he got reelected somehow) before we got any oil out of ANWR. It’s not going to work that fast, period.

Okay, whatever, what would happen to world oil prices?

With respect to the world oil price impact, projected ANWR oil production constitutes between 0.4 and 1.2 percent of total world oil consumption in 2030, based on the low and high resource cases, respectively. Consequently, ANWR oil production is not projected to have a large impact on world oil prices. Relative to the AEO2008 reference case, ANWR oil production is projected to have its largest oil price reduction impacts as follows: a reduction in low-sulfur, light (LSL) crude oil prices of $0.41 per barrel (2006 dollars) in 2026 in the low oil resource case, $0.75 per barrel in 2025 in the mean oil resource case, and $1.44 per barrel in 2027 in the high oil resource case. Assuming that world oil markets continue to work as they do today, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could neutralize any potential price impact of ANWR oil production by reducing its oil exports by an equal amount. [emphasis mine]

You heard me. ANWR oil will most likely constitute 1 percent of world oil production, and, consequently, any positive effect can be rendered null by the production of OPEC — meaning that it’s no sure bet that oil prices will sink just because we got some production out of ANWR.

And, finally, dependence on foreign oil:

Every barrel of ANWR oil production reduces crude oil imports by about a barrel (Figure 3 and Table 2). In the AEO2008 reference case, the proportion of crude oil and liquid fuel imports to total supply remains relatively constant during the 2018 through 2025 time period at an average value of 51 percent. After 2025, reference case oil dependency increases to about 54 percent of U.S. liquid fuels supply in 2030. Because U.S. liquid fuels consumption grows slowly during the entire projection period, the lowest import dependency levels occur between 2022 and 2026 across the three resource cases. The mean oil resource case projects a minimum import share of 48 percent in 2024, before rising to 51 percent in 2030. The low and high resource cases project minimum import shares of 49 and 46 percent in 2022 and 2026, respectively.

Translation: assuming we don’t drill in ANWR, the study projects that 54 percent of our oil supply will be imported from foreign countries (in AEO2008 reference case). In the high resource case (maximum amounts of projected oil), we will have 46 percent dependency in 2026, and later on (in a graph), the study projects that we will have 48 percent of our oil be imported (from foreign countries) in 2030 in the high resource case. The bottom line is that the absolute best we can do in ANWR is to reduce our foreign oil dependency by 6 percent.

Can you hear me Washington? All your claims about off-shore drilling are outright lies, and now you can’t say that those who oppose it don’t have data to back it up. Because we do. The data says that we will be able to drill, at best, in 8 years, not 2. The data says that there won’t be a significant effect in global oil prices, not the ridiculous claim that it will drive gas prices down to $2. And it won’t do any magic in really reducing our dependence on foreign oil, since it will only shrink it by 6 percent, which won’t do us any good in the year 2030.

Wake up!

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  1. Agree, agree and agree – but one major problem with what they are saying.

    It is being assumed by the electorate, quite wrongly, that the oil pumped in 15 years time will be for domestic use only. It won’t.

    If that oil is brought online and the price of oil keeps up with inflation – the oil companies will sell to the highest payer – certainly not just to a flooded or baron American market.

    Business is business and the stock holder comes first – so profit will need to be met to pay dividends.

    This is all a scam – and for what cost and price?

  2. rscme

    Well, that was a very long post. I must admin I didn’t read all of it. I “scanned” some of it. But I get where you are coming from.

    I can only hope, and I might be right, that the Dems are saying and doing some of this stuff to pander just enough to get into the White House. Why not, the Reps have been doing it for years.

  3. the oil-craziness makes me sick — especially as its threatening the ANWR, one of the few truly amazing places left unsullied (so far).
    shame on barack for allowing himself to be bundled on that particular bandwagon.

  4. Matthew

    All that is true, but if Bill Clinton had not vetoed a bill about 10 years ago, we would be producing 1.5 million barrels of oil a day right now. Overall, drilling in ANWR will produce enough oil to cut off imports from Saudi Arabia, (who gives us 17% of our imports of oil) for 30 years. Also, the land affected is absolutely. Absolutely singular. In fact, 2,000 acres out of 19 million acres. For those who don’t have a calc near at hand, that’s .00011 percent. Out of the entire ANWR. And the last bit is wrong, sorry. We reduce our dependence by 17%. Yes the oil prices will literally stay the same, but drilling in Saudia Arabia is a threat to our national security, and if we drill, that will just get rid of that security threat! Now that prices have gone down, it does not matter about reducing prices, its more about getting us to green technology. Trust me, ANWR will help get us there. =]

  1. 1 Energy Crisis Information » - crude oil price

    […] The Truth About ANWR By leapsecond Relative to the AEO2008 reference case, ANWR oil production is projected to have its largest oil price reduction impacts as follows: a reduction in low-sulfur, light (LSL) crude oil prices of $0.41 per barrel (2006 dollars) in 2026 in … The 59 Second Minute – […]

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