Environmental Protection Agency

The Case for Increasing Domestic Oil Production

Why America can and must produce more oil

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Oil is the world's most critical and scarce energy resource. Only oil is easily divisible, transportable, and vital for most transportation. Japan's shuttered nuclear plants mean new demand for more millions of barrels of fuel oil to generate electricity for its cities and factories. Libyan oil production will now be shut down for months or years.  There is almost no spare capacity in world production.

Here's a tough fact to face: World prosperity is critically dependent upon the stability of a single decrepit, corrupt dictatorship in Saudi Arabia. While the regime there has been quick to put down calls for expanded rights, the protests for political, civil, and economic rights continue. Chaos in Saudi Arabia, which produces about 12 percent of the world's oil, would cause such shortages of oil in Asia and Europe that the whole world could be thrust into major economic crisis. Closed factories in China, Japan, and Korea would crash commodity prices and world trade. Banks would again be tottering and calling in loans. Russia with its supplies would have a stranglehold over a dependent Europe. And Americans might be lined up for hours at gasoline stations, maybe with ration cards.

Saudi Arabia's status quo hangs by a thread on the lives of an 86-year-old king and an 85-year-old prince. They are the last surviving direct heirs of old King Ibn Saud. After them will come jockeying and infighting among thousands of princes descended from Saud's many wives and concubines from different tribes, none with a clear mandate to become the new absolute monarch. The Economist explains the complicated maze of palace intrigue and notes that there are no rules for succession except for the ruling family to chose the "best qualified" prince, which in Arabic can mean "most capable" or "most virtuous." There's no way to know exactly how succession will play out, but even the present government is more vulnerable than it appears. The sick king's hurried promise last week (finally) to allow first time municipal elections and his offer to create 60,000 new public sector "jobs" shows weakness, not a position of strength.

Yet for America, there is a way to greatly minimize, if not fully end, our dependence upon shaky Middle East dictatorships, including Saudi Arabia. With dependable Canadian production and using our own shut-in resources, we can vastly reduce our need for imports. This should be a vital, immediate national interest. America imports some 10 million barrels per day (bpd). Of this Canada sends us 2 million bpd (the amount is constantly increasing) and Mexico sends about 1 million bpd. Nigeria, Angola, and Venezuela send another 1.5 million bpd, all of which is pretty reliable. That comes to around 4.5 million bpd, which means that there's 5.5 million bpd coming from less-reliable sources, including the Middle East.

If it were able to produce more freely, American oil production could ramp up significantly, reducing reliance on Saudi Arabian, Libyan, and other similar sources. Instead our oil industry is stymied, delayed, and denigrated by a president and Congress that continues to daydream about tiny and very expensive amounts of energy from solar power, windmills, and ethanol. Even with vast subsidies (Obama's stimulus bill tossed $80 billion toward alternative energy), these sources produce a tiny fraction of American energy usage: One percent for windmills, and 1 tenth of 1 percent for solar. Most renewable energy comes from aging hydroelectric dams. Electric cars are expected to sell a few tens of thousands this year, compared to over 250 million registered gas-dependent cars on the road. These figures show some of the absurdity of most alternative energy hype.

In the Gulf of Mexico, deep-water drilling and exploration has been shut down for almost a year while permitting shallow wells in known fields is agonizingly slow. On land, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar revoked oil drilling permits issued under the Bush administration, retroactively canceled already approved coal mining permits, and has thrown many new investments under a cloud of risk as companies fear more retroactive permit revocations. Environmental extremists file crippling, unending lawsuits precisely to cause costly, interminable delays and frighten off investors. As Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell's recent speech to the National Press Club makes clear, environmentalist proposals to further limit oil drilling have been picked up by Obama's appointees.

Here are six things the federal government could do to increase domestic oil production:

1) The Alaska pipeline now runs two-thirds empty. It alone could carry 1.5 million barrels more per day if Washington was to allow drilling at ANWR and in the shallow, 100-foot-deep waters close in offshore from fixed platforms or manmade islands. Instead, for example, Shell Oil has been sandbagged with purposeful delays, including a five year wait for a clean air permit over the Arctic Ocean.

2) The Gulf of Mexico could be producing another half million barrels per day within five years if permitting were expedited by the Department of the Interior. The catastrophic spill last April came after thousands of successful and safe deep water wells have been drilled. It was a freak accident compounded by serious human errors committed by BP, the (foreign) drilling company with one of the highest large company accident records in the industry. Various new procedures have made deep drilling even safer.

3) A crash program to provide abundant LNG (liquid natural gas—compressed to reduce its volume by a factor of 600) pumps at major interstate truck stops would encourage conversions from using diesel oil, which is imported. A thousand cubic feet of (compressed) gas equals the energy equivalent of seven gallons of diesel oil costing some four times as much. Merchandise transport accounts for 18 percent of oil usage. Already municipal trucks and buses are converting to natural gas; taxis could too. The price spread between diesel and compressed gas is very unlikely to change for many years, so there is plenty of incentive for truckers to buy their new trucks with LNG engines, but they need to be assured of fueling stations. For peanuts compared to all the subsidies for ethanol and solar cells, the government could help pay for these costs.

4) Modern oil production allows drilling horizontally miles and miles out in all directions from a single platform. Formerly wells could only drill straight down with a single pipe. Just a few platforms can now drill and produce from a wide area. They are not the eyesore of years ago. Allowing coastal states some of the royalties from offshore drilling would do wonders for curtailing opposition. Reasonable permissions for drilling off our Atlantic and Pacific coasts could produce more billions of barrels of oil. New technology is constantly triggering higher production, for example, with previously unusable oil shale (such as the Bakken fields in North Dakota) which actually caused an increase in yearly U.S. production. The prolific oil off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, scene of a spill 40 years ago, is in waters only 300 feet deep with wells 3,000 feet deep. Oil companies now routinely drill in 5,000 feet of water down to over 20,000 feet. Within a year California could be producing from fixed platforms which have a 15 year record of almost no serious spills out of 11,000 wells drilled.

5) Allow building of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline from Canada's massive tar sands, which would bring in another half million barrels per day as production ramps up. However, environmental groups are fighting the project tooth and nail, arguing that it would contribute to global warming, because the sands need heating to separate out the oil. As the debate unfolds, China is already offering to buy the oil instead.

6) Congress needs to correct the Environmental Protection Agency's rules to force it to make decisions within 30 days and to use rational measurements instead of a few parts per million as grounds for declaring any product hazardous and illegal. Special fast-track courts for environmental issues, as suggested by Tea Party leader Rep. Michele Bachman (R-Minn.), could be established to expedite environmental lawsuits.

The above projects could cut imports roughly in half from their current 10 million barrels per day and end dependence upon Middle Eastern oil. They involve very little cost for taxpayers, unlike alternative-energy schemes, and would produce hundreds of thousands of new jobs and tens of billions of new tax revenue for Washington. Admittedly, we may have to wait until Americans are waiting in gasoline lines to consummate any or all of the above, but these measures are the way to save ourselves and possibly the world economy from an oil shortage catastrophe. Additionally, it would undercut the rationale for the seemingly unending wars we're now waging while trying to secure Middle East oil.

Jon Basil Utley is associate publisher of The American Conservative. He was a foreign correspondent for Knight Ridder newspapers and former associate editor of The Times of the Americas. For 17 years, he was a commentator for the Voice of America. In the 1980s, he owned and operated a small oil drilling partnership in Pennsylvania.

Editor's Note: The Obama administration's $80 billion alternative energy subsidies were part of the stimulus, not a proposed budget.

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  1. Curiously there is no mention of solar charged three wheel electric trikes.

    1. Repugs can’t operate one

    2. We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy ? sun, wind and tide. … I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.-Thomas Edison

  2. I’m sure the Windmills will keep us cool.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uuQQGnYY2o

  3. I agree with many of these points, particularly opening up areas to drilling and expediting the whole process of tapping into oil deposits, as well as ending subsidies for “alternative energy”. However, he leaves out that the government should end special subsidies and tax breaks to the oil industry.

    1. Please be specific – I hear about those breaks all the time. I just looked up Exxon’s 2009 Income Statement. In $ Millions:

      Total Revenue: 310,586

      Among their expenses against revenue:
      Sales-based taxes: 25,936
      Other Taxes and Duties: 34,819

      Then,
      Income before income taxes: 34,777
      Income taxes: 15,119

      So a company that paid almost $76 Billion in total taxes to various states and nations in a single year, and handed the U.S. government 43% of their income is getting “special” treatment?

  4. Yeah, I agree: drill baby, drill. But it’s never going to happen as long as the left controls America; liberals are absolutely obsessed with their notion that oil is icky.

    1. no even the gobp is stupid enough to push “spill baby spill”.

      1. It’s a pity your father didn’t spill his seed.

    2. No, liberals are absolutely stupid!

    3. Okay, so what do we do after we use up all the domestic oil? If your answer is, “Switch to alternatives then,” then why don’t we switch to alternatives NOW and save the oil for an emergency?

  5. The author is forgetting to mention another reason that the Alaskan pipeline does not run at full capacity. The majority of the line is about 30 years overdue for replacement and every drop that is leaked from the aging system causes a partial or complete shutdown for cleanup and repairs. The pipeline needs a complete overhaul, and while they are at it they should build a parallel NG line.

    1. All it needs is a liner.

      1. One of those flexible polymer liners that gets expanded through the inside of the tube and looks like someone’s own pink sock getting forced out their ass. Its really fascinating technology.

  6. Hey, this is an answer to Tony’s stupid comments yesterday about domestic oil production. Who says the Reason contributors don’t read the comments section.

    1. What stupid comments, where?

      I really doubt there’s all that much oil available, even if it were produced. Production went up last year thanks to large discoveries in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, but those are all backfilling against much larger declines in older fields elsewhere. The Alaska pipeline will fairly soon (IIRC around 2018) have to cease operations because they can’t move enough oil through it.

      1. Yesterday’s article

        https://reason.com/blog/2011/03…..s#comments

        Comment Section

        Tony|3.29.11 @ 5:35PM|#

        “How would domestic drilling reduce our reliance on Middle Eastern oil? It all goes to the same place, and we really don’t have that much.”

        BTW the biggest reason the Alaska pipeline may have to cease operation is (see item 1) above)

      2. I know your arguement is stupid, but are you advocating do nothing???

        1. No, I think they should allow drilling in ANWR and elsewhere. It’s just that the expectation that American oil production can be materially increased to meet domestic demand is fundamentally unrealistic.

          1. We should increase drilling to give us a cushion while we transition to something more practical. Geothermal might be a serious proposition on the west coast and Alaska, and third generation nuclear plants will be much safer than the Japanese ones. Plus, thorium plants would use a more common fuel, that’s much less radioactive, with almost no risk of failure.

            1. That’s a nice thought, but until oil and energy companies start investing billions of dollars in renewable and non-polluting energy, instead of sitting on every opportunity and using all the leeway they’ve been given to just sell more oil, I will remain skeptical. Are we going to keep saying, “Fine; but after the NEXT environmental catastrophe you’re really going to have to start moving away from oil!” until the economy collapses?

          2. Rob, this same argument has been made for 35 years. If policy makers had pursued domestic developement all this time the situation would be very different. Listening to people like you has us where we are today & where we will continue to be if common sense doesn’t soon prevail.

            1. Different, yes, but not very different.

  7. But, but, but…what if a rare bird dies?

    1. I ran over a possum this morning. I actually tried to give it some room in the road and it ran right to the middle of my car. Thumpity thump under my car it went. You can blame oil for road kill.

      1. KILLER!

      2. Possums actually prefer to go out big. There’s nothing you can do except make plans to clean your undercarriage.

  8. World prosperity is critically dependent upon the stability of a single decrepit, corrupt dictatorship in Saudi Arabia.

    Does “corrupt dictatorship” mean anything different from “dictatorship we don’t like”? Or, for that matter, from “dictatorship”? (After all, I don’t hear too many people talking about incorrupt dictatorships.)

    (I have the same problem when I hear that an event is an “unmitigated disaster.” Since I never hear about any mitigated disasters, I’m guessing that the adjective is just something added to make the statement sound more impressive.)

    1. “I’m guessing that the adjective is just something added to make the statement sound more impressive.”

      What an extreme claim!

      1. That did not work. There can be such a thing as unextreme claims. Like that one.

  9. Really, Reason, pitching subsidies for LNG consumption?

    1. That irked me too. How about this: pull all our $$$ off solar and wind, funnel 90% of it to debt payments, and the other ten to LNG and whatever else we want. Phase out in five years.

      1. Only if tax breaks and subsidies for oil, coal, and gas are made the same as solar and wind, and government restrictions and regulations on wind siting are mostly removed. For example, in Wisconsin, the Republicans demand that new wind turbines can’t be closer than 1800 feet from the next property line! If wind was given a fair shake, we wouldn’t even need to be having this discussion.

  10. So, even if we do all that and maximize our capacity to produce fossil fuel, the author concludes “The above projects could cut imports roughly in half from their current 10 million barrels per day”.
    So, we’re still importing 5 million barrels a day, and still dependent on the whims of Saudi kings. Nice try!

    1. Most of our imported oil comes from Canada and Mexico. I think we’re on pretty decent terms with the kings of those states.

      1. On average, we import just around 5 million bpd from OPEC countries, and another 5 million bpd from non-OPEC countries.

        If we opened up our domestic production, we would be able to eliminate the importation of Middle Eastern oil.

        1. Free,
          How many of the 5 MBPD from OPEC countries are from Venezuela, Angola, or Nigeria and how many are from the MidEast members? I thought most MidEast oil went to either Europe or Japan, whereas the vast majority of the road tar they call Venezuelan crude came to the U.S. (mainly because most of the only refineries that could handle it were here).

          Consequently, I never understood why we were always expected to do those countries’ dirty work when there was a crisis in the MidEast. I guess the expense of doing so was better than worrying about a rearmed Japan or Europe.

          1. Read the article. This is answered there.

          2. I don’t think we have to worry about Japan for awhile, if ever. And Europe is in no position politically to start any wars, unless Russia invades. But I don’t think they’ll take a risk on Belarus or the Ukraine.

      2. There is a world market for oil.

        Reason has been decrying gov’t support for new nuclear reactors for economic reasons on one hand, while this article argues for gov’t intervention subsidizing fossil fuel production. Make sense of that!

        1. The guy is not a regular Reason writer. You’re being an idiot for accepting it 100% as a libertarian point of view, because its not.

          And introducing competition (preferably free market) to the world market for a-rab oil can not be a bad thing, the reduced shipping costs make domestic oil particularly economical and could very well displace much of the middle east stuff.

          1. Nice way to argue….call me an idiot. Yeah, clearly it’s not libertarian, and I thought that was worth pointing out.
            Competition is fine and all, but oil is a finite resource which will start dwindling in supply and become very expensive at some point in the future.

  11. Point Number 3 in the article sounds more like business proposal than a plea for government investments.

    Besides, I wouldn’t want them close to funding and spec’ing out my LNG infrastructure. If the government had a technical input with LNG for truckers, each pump terminal would be eleventy billion dollars and powered by a windmill built by GE for some reason.

    Don’t let the government within ten feet of a good idea or they’ll ruin it.

    And another thing, given how ‘easy’ it is for even President Nobel Peace Prize to let the JDAM’s rain, what do you think happens in Saudi Arabia if the monarchy collapses? 82nd Airborne helps make ‘Greater Bahrain’ if you know what I mean. And all those shiny F-15’s and Eurotrasher Typhoons will be black spots on a desert runway somewhere.

    If push comes to shove with strategic assets like that, I don’t have any illusions the USA will ‘push.’ And outside of the Russians, everyone would be silently applauding. Especially in places like Beijing and Tokyo where energy independence is either decades away or not even a realistic physical possibility.

    1. + eleventy for “Greater Bahrain”.

    2. Why don’t we just convert natural gas and coal to gasoline and diesel?

      It can be done and we have plenty of both fossil fuel sources.

      Then there wouldn’t be any need for service station infrastucture changes.

      1. Because the processes are incredibly cost and energy inefficient.

        1. So’s most of oil. Your average internal combustion engine converts only 30% of the gasoline’s chemical energy to motion. The rest is heat. I read in Popular Science a few months back that someone had made a small motor that converted 48%, but I wouldn’t expect it in cars any time soon.

          1. I think you just made Doc’s point… lets say to convert coal to gas is 50 percent effective (which it is not), and converting that gas to energy is 30 percent effective, you now have only created 15% of the original substance to energy… if my math is right.

        2. And ridiculously filthy. Anything approximating an appropriate price on pollution kills any coal-to-liquids scheme deader than a doornail.

          Of course, as a good libertarian, you probably believe in the “liberty” to freely spew shit onto my property without compensation.

          Of course, I believe in my second amendment rights to defend my property, so we appear to be at loggerheads. As a fair warning, I probably have the bigger second amendment rights…and know how to use them.

          1. “As a fair warning, I probably have the bigger second amendment rights…and know how to use them.”

            You couldn’t fight your way out of a wet paper bag with a 105 howitzer.

          2. Considering externalities? That’s for liberals!

        3. Says who?

      2. Why not just buy a car that runs of natural gas…..or electricity?

  12. Or we could just shoot every member of the House of Saud, take the joint over, and pump away.

    Blowback? What’s that?

  13. The fact is the US hit peak oil production decades ago. That’s never going to change. Saudi Arabia, which produces the cheapest oil (thus who will continue to be a supplier if you believe in free trade), is increasing offshore drilling, which at like 10 times the expense of onshore, means that the we are obviously not looking at robust supplies for the foreseeable future. The single best way to reduce dependence on foreign oil is to reduce the demand for oil. The longer we wait, the more unstable the situation will become. It makes absolutely no sense to wait until after we’ve mucked up north American coasts and wildlife refuges to do anything about it.

    1. The best way to reduce demand for oil is for there to be less of it. Since you basically say we’re running out, the solution is already there. The producers will have much more incentive to not lose any to spills or disasters since they can’t sell it. You’re a genius, really.

      1. I’m saying that attempts will be made to prolong the illusion that oil is cheap as for as long as possible.

        As rational thinking animals, we can begin the process of transitioning out of fossil fuel energy now instead of waiting for when it will be the most painful.

        1. Don’t you ever get tired of repeating the same BS day after day?

          And on that note:

          Go suck a diseased cock, Tony.

        2. I don’t think anyone is under any illusion that oil is or will be cheap in the future. But we aren’t going to run out, the oil will just get harder and harder to recover, probably along a linear curve. This will allow other technologies to prove themselves in the marketplace. Which they should have to do.

          1. Should they have to prove themselves against a heavily subsidized fossil-fuel based status quo?

            1. No, they shouldn’t. Is the fossil fuel industry heavily subsidized? Because they pay a lot more in taxes than a million of you will pay in your lifetime.

              1. Really? Getting millions of dollars in tax credits is paying more taxes than I ever will?

                1. Who are you talking about?

                2. Who are you referring to?

                3. Tony — it is worth repeating that to the end user, those subsidies are meaningless. The bottom line is that people would not use gasoline and diesel fuel unless they had substantial advantages over other types of fuels.

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium-ion_battery
                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasoline

                  Gasoline is an order of magnitude more energy dense than lithium-ion batteries (34.8 MJ/L vs 2.23 MJ/L), currently the best available electric energy storage available. Even accounting for the radically improved efficiency of electric motors (~80%) over internal combustion engines (~20%), at best that means four times the space needed to store the same amount of energy. The Tesla electric car is basically a battery on a roller skate. All this yowping about subsidy is bilge, really.

                  1. Two more points:

                    1) End users pay road fuel taxes.
                    2) I’m not accounting here for inefficiencies in charging; up to 50% of the input energy to a battery can be lost as heat.

                    1. Still though, isn’t the argument that electric cars don’t pay their fair share of road taxes really a red herring, considering the vast majority of road damage/wear is caused by heavy trucks?

                  2. Gunpowder is more energy dense than gasoline. But no one will put in the effort to make a good gunpowder engine.

                  3. Tony — it is worth repeating that to the end user, those subsidies are meaningless.

                    Yeah isn’t that the point? It’s only falsely cheap. Government is creating demand for it, and it should stop and instead create demand for sustainable energy.

                    And it’s always odd when a libertarian suddenly becomes so skeptical of human innovation. In defense of the same energy paradigm that contributed to the industrial revolution more than a century ago!

                    How long until it will be necessary to have a new industrial revolution? Oil and coal won’t last forever. Why is now not the time? Are oil industry profits all that important to the world?

                    1. No, Tony. The point is that the “subsidy” is only visible to the oil company. The end user still pays oil taxes. So the claim that somehow there’s a “subsidy” that means something to the end user is just false.

                    2. It doesn’t want to understand Rob.

                    3. As to this —

                      And it’s always odd when a libertarian suddenly becomes so skeptical of human innovation.

                      I’m not skeptical of any such thing — I’m skeptical of the ability to take diffuse energy sources (sun and wind) and do with them the same thing we do with a concentrated energy source (power cars and an industrial civilization more generally). There is a reason that every single pitch for renewables ends with a call for subsidy; it’s prima facie evidence that the thermodynamic arrow is pointed in the wrong direction, i.e. that solar and wind require more energy inputs than they will ever harvest.

                      We have gone from wood to coal because of availability, and from coal to oil because of energy density and ease of handling. We have never intentionally gone backwards on energy density, but this is the direction the proponents of solar energy would have us go. As just one example, consider the energy derived from the Fukushima nuclear plants:

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F…..ower_Plant

                      4.7 GWe * 24h = 112.8 GWh

                      112.8 GWh / 5.6 kWh/m^2 * 10^6 kWh/GWh/30% efficiency = ~7,000 hectares of solar panels.

                      The figure for daily insolation is something of a guess based on California, which is roughly at the same latitude, but it may be higher or lower. And the efficiency rating I’m giving quite a bit of latitude to solar, because the theoretical maximum efficiency of silicon cells is 30%. And, I haven’t even figured in spacing that would be necessary to maximize energy capture. My point here is to show that solar requires enormous amounts of land even under ideal conditions.

                    4. Take a poster-sized map of the US. Stick your index finger somewhere in the Nevada desert. That’s enough land to power the entire country with today’s technology.

                      Is it possible economically? Sure. If we were to increase the size of the solar industry at 40% per year until it reached the size of the auto industry in terms of sales, and assume that neither cost nor technology improved, we could replace 100% of our current generating capacity and provide all new generation with solar in about 25 years.

                      There is nothing stopping us but will and stupid conservatives.

                    5. That’s enough land to power the entire country with today’s technology.

                      And the environmentalists.

                      We are talking about a huge freaking amount of land. Not included in any of this calculation above are additional I^2/R losses due to resistance and distance, or losses due to inefficiency in storage, or any of a zillion other things.

                    6. There is nothing stopping us but will and stupid conservatives.

                      And stupid Greens.

                      Seriously — this is a huge freaking amount of land.

                      I haven’t even started calculating the losses: I^2/R transmission losses, losses to storage due to inefficiencies, losses from AC conversion … it looks worse and worse with every step.

                    7. There is nothing stopping us but will and stupid conservatives.

                      That and stupid Greens.

                      http://bit.ly/f7WIRE

                    8. No, Tony.

                      http://bit.ly/f7WIRE

                      There’s plenty of environmental opposition to solar, too.

                      We are talking about ENORMOUS swaths of land.

                      Your argument about solar being economical is 100% wiped out by your claim that “will” is what separates us from doing this. If solar is such a great deal, it should also be a fantastic business proposition. Many great fortunes are based around energy; governments across the world derive much revenue from it.

                      So let’s see this great, “economical” energy source take off on its own.

                      We will know if an energy source is worth a damn when governments seek to tax it.

                    9. No, it isn’t remotely possible economically. Unless you’re willing to lose a lot of money.

                4. A tax credit may be different in a subsidy in the sense that they are paying fewer taxes than the IRS rules require. Some of those taxes could be set too high anyway and some of the tax credits are necessary to allow the industry to stay healthy.

                  Not much different than allowing people with kids to have more credits than those without kids since the taxes would be too high for those with kids without the credits.

                  In general I would prefer a much, much simpler tax code with low, rates and easy to understand rules instead of millions of credits and deductions that are hard to understand and end up misallocating economic resources to help congressmen get votes.

                  Credits are different than just throwing money at a new technology.

                  Of course, many of the items to support alternate energy will be in the form of credits as well but the main problem is that these industries would not be financially viable without the credits and instead of just funding basic research and development, these credits will allow people to play at businessman at the taxpayer’s expense with very little real benefit.

              2. The fossil fuel industry receives hundreds of billions in direct subsidies every year worldwide, and literally trillions in free rights to pollute other peoples’ property.

                1. But not, yet, operational subsidies that matter one whit to the end user.

                  Yet this, precisely, is what the Greens demand for solar and wind.

            2. The subsidized status quo being the previous mistakes of central planning, such as highways and public airports.

      2. The amount of oil lost in a spill is tiny compared to the amount of efficiency gained by cutting corners… but it’s enough to be extremely environmentally destructive. Considering that the corporate model is to make money as fast as possible so the stock price keeps going up, there’s actually incentive TO take risks. If a billion dollars can be saved by taking risks that result in a million gallons being spilled every couple months, are you telling me they won’t do it?

      1. Too bad so much of it is thermodynamically unrecoverable, and/or so low-quality that it’s not worth it.

    2. “The single best way to reduce dependence on foreign oil is to reduce the demand for oil use it so that other energy become economical as oil becomes scarce.”

      1. Fuck the Earth!

  14. Here’s a possible major bit of news that is sure to upset Tony, OhioOrrin, and other stupid liberals: researchers at the University of Minnesota may be closing in on a new technology to make renewable petroleum fuels using bacteria, sunlight, and carbon dioxide.

  15. As is so often the case, science and technology is likely to offer a solution. It turns out that researchers at the University of Minnesota may be closing in on a process to make renewable petroleum fuels using sunlight, bacteria, and carbon dioxide.

    1. You should look up the Sabatier gas-shift process if you like what you see in the article you linked. Lots of ways to catalytically cycle CO2 back into hydrocarbons.

    2. Any time someone brings up solar-powered anything, I am inclined to remind them of the 1 kW/m^2 insolation at the earth’s surface on a sunny clear day in high summer (or at the equator if that’s your equivalence). It takes a LOT of land to make these schemes work, and for that reason I doubt they ever will.

      1. Assuming perfect conditions and 100% efficiency converting solar energy into electrical energy.

        In reality, your looking at about 20% conversion, or 200 Joules/second. To put things in perspective, your a microwave over uses around 1800 Joules/second.

        1. Can I have some square footages to go with that? If it takes a square inch to make 200 Joules/second, that sounds like a good idea. Obviously it’s much worse than that, or else we wouldn’t be using anything else.

          1. 1 W = 1 J/s. So, one square meter to make 200W.

        2. Don’t forget (and you may have included this in your efficiency number) that that 1 kW consists of a wide spectrum of wavelengths and that (so far, anyway) we don’t seem to have something sensitive in all of them.

      2. Would a geosynchronous space lens/mirror setup help?

        1. In theory, yes; in practice, no, because it would be really hard to get the stuff up there and then transfer the energy. You’re working with slightly better energy (1.3 kW/m^2) but not inordinately so. The point is you still have to cover an enormous area.

      3. All the energy needs of the US can be supplied by a few counties in AZ or NV. “Huge” is a matter of perception. If that is huge, what about roads, farms, or suburbs?

    3. Any time someone brings up solar-powered anything, I am inclined to remind them of the 1 kW/m^2 insolation at the earth’s surface on a sunny clear day in high summer (or at the equator if that’s your equivalence). It takes a LOT of land to make these schemes work, and for that reason I doubt they ever will.

    4. How scalable is the process? How much does it cost? And, even if it’s economically feasible, this does nothing about concerns over global warming, which I would argue will weigh heavier and heavier on voters’ minds as time goes by.

      1. Eh, global warming is a boogieman that wealthy countries can afford to live in fear of. As the hightailing the Euros have done from Kyoto shows, nobody cares for the environment if they’re broke.

        1. Fuck science!

  16. All that’s nice, and of course post-2008, U.S. oil consumption is down significantly (2 million barrels per day, last I looked). But given environmental/lefty shibboleths, a quicker solution might be to increase pipeline/rail capacity to The Bakken/Three Forks, and keep the gubmint out of the way in The Niobara (AKA Bakken III).

    ND’s already at 500k BPD, avg., which most “experts” figured they wouldn’t hit ’til 2015, if ever. There are something like 1k rigs drilling this year. In a decade, The Bakken and its brethren may do for U.S. oil production what the Marcellus has done for U.S. natural gas production (seriously, make us an exporter again). Bakken’s actually under-performing. As Exxon comes to Minot, smaller producers are having difficulties getting their produced oil shipped to refineries (pipeline’s full; new pipeline’s only gonna add 60k barrels per day.)

    Additional freight rail facilities should help ease the glut in ND somewhat. For the little guys with Bakken acreage (i.e. not Exxon/BEXP), another problem is getting already-drilled wells fracked. There are a number of wildcat-type firms that have sunk holes into the ground and are just kinda waiting ’til folks with expertise can get there to suck that light sweet crude out.

    /Used to be a biotech investor, but FDA won’t approve nothing; am a sophisticated internet investor, but SarbOx means good ideas have to sell out long before they hit the market… I went w/ oil after the crash. I figure government will leave these guys alone, and if not, the producers’ll just set the wells on fire as society collapses. My two biggest holdings were below a quarter a couple years ago, so not much point in bragging… one of ’em, Kodiak, didn’t really take off ’til they got a secondary done at 6 bits.

    //Also, apparently the closest strip bar to the Bakken is over 60 miles away, and supposedly of horrifically poor quality. A free-market solution is clearly needed.

    1. I know a stock broker who has set his clients up to make a KILLING in the Bakken long-term. Nice to see other folks are starting to notice the minor-revolution going on up there.

      1. Yeah, there’s still deals, but these companies are just slightly removed from penny stocks, typically with only 10-15 full-time employees and enormous market capitalizations (Kodiak’s over a billion at $7 a share).

        Ya gotta be wary. One firm, NOG, entire board has mob ties or something. Best case for them (IMHO) is Imclone, the Martha Stewart Stock; worst is Enron. I pray they don’t take down the entire sector when they go off.

        /Still don’t trust anything else in the market.

      2. Yeah, there’s still deals, but these companies are just slightly removed from penny stocks, typically with only 10-15 full-time employees and enormous market capitalizations (Kodiak’s over a billion at $7 a share).

        Ya gotta be wary. One firm, NOG, entire board has mob ties or something. Best case for them (IMHO) is Imclone, the Martha Stewart Stock; worst is Enron. I pray they don’t take down the entire sector when they go off.

        /Still don’t trust anything else in the market.

  17. The problem is not that the U.S. is dependent upon Saudi oil, but that the rest of the world is. I agree that U.S. production should be increased, and that Obama is stupidly opposing this, but 1) I wonder if all of Mr. Utley’s proposals (including the “crash” program for natural gas) would provide half the payoff he claims and 2) even if his wishes came true, it would not alter the fact that Europe, Japan, China, and India still must look to the Middle East. Because that’s where the oil is.

    Let’s promote drilling in the U.S. and end all subsidies to all forms of energy. That would be a better world (better than the world we’re going to get) but still a long way from a world where oil kleptocracies (is that a word?) don’t exist and flourish.

    1. “Let’s promote drilling in the U.S. and end all subsidies to all forms of energy”

      Why stop with energy?

      End subsidies of all types for everything – and everybody.

      1. +1

      2. What do you count as subsidies? Orders to defense contractors? Weapons research? Like it or not, the federal government does have some legitimate interests (e.g. defense) and should have some discretion over how to spend in these areas.

        1. “What do you count as subsidies? Orders to defense contractors?”

          No. Military protection is a legitimate function of government which all citizens benefit from.

          It is, however, a subisdity from those who actually pay the taxes that fund that military protection benefit to the ever increasing percentage of the population who pays no federal income taxes at all despite the fact that they are getting that exactly same military protection benefit as the taxpayers.

          1. And of course, things such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, farm subsides and price supports, protectionist tarrifs on imported goods, regulations designed to favor certain industries or companies over others, etc. etc. most certainly do count as subsidies.

          2. If military defense is legitimate, what about protection against pollution? It kills far, far more people, and is totally done by humans (and often consciously). Is it not ‘defense’ unless the attack comes from foreigners?

    2. Yeah, it’s a word.

  18. This article didn’t entirely convince me that the Saudi’s, who contribute a whopping 12-15% to the US’s total oil consumption is a blip that we couldn’t manage.

    Sure, Europe would be screwed, but they already pay ungodly amounts for gas. I think between Canada and Mexico, the two countries which actually DO get most of our oil, plus a 10% increase in our production would make up the difference easily.

  19. The Keystone pipeline from the Tar Sands does pass directly over the Ogalalla aquifer (the largest fresh water reserve in NA.) and no real efforts have been made by the company to either relocate it or produce sig sigma failsafes against leakage in areas where it flows over the aquifer. Considering how much of our food supply depends on water from this source, and the number of people who drink out of it, and the ease by which this pipeline could be moved to a safer path, I am on the side of the Enviromental nazis on this issue.

    Normally, as a Nebraskan and a frequent visitor to the Elkhorn river (which serves to teach us to never trust these people), I would not be on their side, but the pipeline company has really screwed the pooch on this issue.

    Another area we could work on is bioplastics using lactic acid based polymers to decrease oil dependence.

    Lastly, what about the shale oil in Colorado?

    1. finally, a rational Libertarian.

      Oil shale is a waste of water, and probably doesn’t work out thermodynamically (it does on paper, but when you factor in gas consumed for heavy machinery and transit, energy consumed for construction, etc, it gets fuzzy… considering the environmental destruction involved, it’s best to just leave it in the ground).

  20. Venezuela send another 1.5 million bpd, all of which is pretty reliable.

    Ummm, no. Venezuela is heading deeper into an economic abyss, thanks to Chavez. Counting on that flow of oil to continue without interruption is way more optimistic than the facts admit.

  21. As rational thinking animals, we can begin the process of transitioning out of fossil fuel energy now instead of waiting for when it will be the most painful.

    That’s a fine idea. Unfortunately, by “we” you invariably mean “the government”.

    There are plenty of bright people working on (potentially promising) alternatives who are being hamstrung by the winner-pickers in Washington.

    1. There’s also plenty of us that are being quite nicely funded by government NSF and ARPA grants. The research is out there, we just need a way to get politicians that actually understand technical reports, or have researchers dumb the hell out of our results.
      unfortunately we can’t always just say A is bad, B is ok, C is good, don’t pick A stupid.

  22. When Governor Schweitzer suggested pursuing coal-to-oil fuel conversion, the “enviros” freaked out. You would have thought he wanted to seize the first-born son of every Montana family and have *them* converted to fuel.

  23. So, we’re still importing 5 million barrels a day, and still dependent on the whims of Saudi kings.

    The whole premise of this article is economically retarded. It’s a world market for oil. Ramping up American oil production just means it goes into that world market.

    The oil will continue to pumped out of Saudi Arabia, barring political chaos there, because that is the cheapest oil on the planet to extract. If that supply gets cut off temporarily, production elsewhere will ramp up in response to the price spike.

    1. I am genuinely curious why it is the easiest. Is it because the oil is closer to the surface seeing as how the entire peninsula used to be under water?

      1. B/c the “permitting process” is Saudi is pretty quick. Also, if there’s an oil spill, it just hits a bunch of sand, so it’s not like it’s an environmental problem. And even if it is an environmental problem, anyone who says shit will find themselves in prison or on the next plane out.

        Also, while I mainly agree with prolefeed’s point, the extra supply would still help the market price. Additionally, if there were geo-political instability (for example, a President who decides that were going to not have wars in 14 more countries), it’s better to have higher domestic production.

        1. Well, yes, removing the political barriers to drilling will result in more drilling in the U.S., to the extent that the oil can be extracted at a profit, and would thus displace at the margin some more expensive oil currently being drilled.

          1. It’s just that the more expensive oil displaced would likely NOT be Saudi oil to any significant extent, because the Saudi oil is the cheapest to extract, not the stuff “on the bubble” for not being extracted.

      2. There’s a few causes. Not all oil in wells is really equal, some require much more energy and refinement to get in a usable state (IE tar sands). Saudi Arabia happens to have a few natural advantages that it has a ton of the stuff thats fairly high quality. Also there’s plenty of experience in the market, and they let people drill.

    2. You are correct, it doesn’t really matter if we manage to produce all of our oil domestically, if the Saudi supply is disrupted it will still cause huge price spiking. Exxon is not going to sell oil to Americans for $100/barrel if China will pay $150.

    3. It’s such an easy concept that so many people miss. It really is sad that so many people have a difficulty in understanding this. It’s not like the US is suddenly going to put tarrifs on oil from only specific countries.

      With a global market essentially all oil goes into a big ol’ pot and everyone that pays for it takes their spoonful.

  24. However, he leaves out that the government should end special subsidies and tax breaks to the oil industry.

    I keep seeing people talk about these, but what are they, exactly?

  25. It’s a world market for oil. Ramping up American oil production just means it goes into that world market.

    Well, yeah; and “business reporters” who say, “We *only* get less than two percent of our oil from Libya” neglect to mention that the Italians get a lot of oil from Libya, and will be shopping elsewhere if that supply gets interrupted.

  26. I really doubt there’s all that much oil available, even if it were produced. Production went up last year thanks to large discoveries in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, but those are all backfilling against much larger declines in older fields elsewhere.

    There’s plenty more oil in the U.S., especially in shale fields, but it won’t be extracted as long as it is uneconomic to do so because there is cheaper oil elsewhere worldwide.

    The decades-long decline in U.S. oil production is not due to a shortage of oil in the ground, but due to a shortage of oil that can be economically found and extracted at the current world price and with the current U.S. tax structure and environmental and other regulations on drilling which raise the price of U.S. oil.

    Having the highest corporate tax rate in the world is one factor depressing oil exploration and extracting.

    1. The problem with shale oil is that it requires enormous volumes of natural gas to extract it. I wonder that the economic problem isn’t really just thermodynamic arrow is pointed in wrong direction, and the cost horizon will always be “more than we can fetch for the finished product”.

  27. Are these articles suppose to be informative or timely? Anyone with at least a double digit IQ knew this 30 years ago.

    1. Seeing as how I was a baby 30 years ago, it is informative. 😛

    2. and yet after 30 years it’s still full of the same non sequitor logic and inaccurately drawn conclusions.

      1. Larger supply….lower cost!!!

        1. if supply and demand were the only 2 factors that went into cost this logic would be accurate. But alas they are not.

  28. I heard that Obama regurgitated the old Democratic party talking point about oil leases not being drilled in his energy speech today.

    It is a phony attempt to divert blame from his and his party’s responsibilty for catering to the leftists environmental special interests by blocking any serious attempts at exapnding domestic production.

    First there is no guarantee that there is any actual oil to be drilled on a particular lease. It is merely a hunting licenese. Second, merely getting a lease doesn’t mean the oil companies can start exploring and drilling right away. There are all sorts of additional regulations that must be followed and permits to be acquired. The leftists have been using all these things to prevent as much actual drilling as they possibly can.

    And of course the existence of leases doesn’t negate the fact that the administration has been declaring ever increasing swaths of land off limits. And has done nothing to open up offshore areas for exporation and production either.

  29. Transocean was the drilling company in the BP disaster. Halliburton were the ones who screwed up the cementing in.

  30. Obama’s got the answer: drill, Brazil, drill.

  31. I don’t care that mysterious and heretical foreigners provide this country with massive amounts of valuable raw materials. The quasi-protectionist premise of this article doesn’t seem any more convincing to me than the idea that we need to stop China, Singapore and Indonesia from selling us too many t-shirts.

    I do care that the US government artificially limits the amount of useful raw materials that can be produced. This is basically just a subsidy to oil producers and to people who get an emotional benefit from the knowledge that slightly less oil is being produced.

  32. I post the same thing to every “drill baby, drill” article: Leave American oil in the ground until extraction is less risky and the price of oil goes up. If other countries are willing to sell us cheap oil, so be it. We should buy every drop and once it’s gone, THEN we drill. And profit.

    1. That’s basically a subsidy to Future America paid for by Present America (assuming that oil doesn’t become obsolete by then).

      Fuck Future-America; those assholes can pay their own way. Present-America, #1!

      1. Actually, I’d love to see an economist(or maybe even someone who understands math) calculate the cost-benefit of present extraction of domestic oil vs. future extraction. If we extract now, it might lower the price of oil slightly, and there’s always the ‘time value of money’ to consider. On the other hand, once oil becomes scarce, and to the degree that it is still required as a resource(for plastics, fertilizers, etc), it may become a strategic resource, dramatically increasing its value.

        1. I’ve got a similar opinion on the issue, one of the interesting aspects of this though is when there are oil shortages investments in alternative energy and energy saving measures go up. This is why OPEC has a specific interest to keep oil prices artificially low, so that it can continue to get as much money from its supply for as long as it can before the world transitions to different fuel sources or transportation methods.

          So in essence, there’s the chance that if the U.S. sat too long that it would be stuck with all of the resources that it never capitalized on if there’s a market shift.

          I think it’s worth it as I would much rather us have oil if we need it 50 years from now then draining our supplies and being screwed in the future

          1. It’s not “our” oil. It belongs to whoever owns the reserves and can extract it. If it is economical to extract it at current market prices, it should be extracted, thus keeping prices lower now.

            1. It’s not economical. Not if you are talking about being economically rational on a term longer than the immediate now. That’s what they are saying. You criticize central planning, but that’s exactly why the market isn’t all-powerful: it does not really plan for the future. This is a perfectly reasonable economic case that doesn’t violate any libertarian tenets that I know of.

              If you are in denial about the realities of continued world consumption of these resources, then you are a case in point about why the market can be totally irrational about this.

              1. I like how you assume that having a central plan is somehow a solution. Government plans almost never work and often create a lot of collateral damage.

                Oh yeah, and the market does plan for the future all of the time. You make it sound as if it is the goal of markets to use every resource right now. The market coordinates the use of resources by balancing the costs and benefits to leaving resources in the ground for the future or using them now.

              2. Tony|3.30.11 @ 7:37PM|#
                “…Not if you are talking about being economically rational on a term longer than the immediate now. That’s what they are saying….”

                And an ignoramus like *YOU* presumes to predict ‘longer than the immediate now’!?
                Bite it, Tony.

              3. That’s exactly what futures markets do is plan for the future, get it?

                But ignoramuses always scream about speculators anytime the millions of people around the world jointly try to predict the future supply and price of any commodity.

                It’s nice that you Chony or a few politicians trying to get votes (talk about short term thinking) think that you can plan the economy or any aspect of it. It’s especially interesting that the planning is always proposed by those who are not specialists in the field they think is so easy to plan.

            2. Actually, most of the oil that we are debating about drilling IS “our” oil, because it is on public land. If we sell it, we should be selling it dear, not for some of the lowest royalty rates in the world.

              A true conservative would leave the stuff in the ground, in case WWIII or some other catastrophe occured. It is ludicrous that we spend hundreds of billions per year on a military than China could shut down with a five minute phone call to the Sauds. Who do you think the Arabs will side with when hell breaks lose? The 1.3 billion Hans next door, who are paying cash, or the .3 billion fat lazy Americans on the other side of the planet who are brandishing yet another credit card?

            3. ah yes, the “finders keepers” theory of property.

    2. Except if there is a severe supply disruption in the Middle East or elsewhere for whatever reason there are severe economic consequences in the here and now.

      If we don’t have the ability in place to access those domestic reserves, then we won’t be able to use them even on a temporary basis to alleviate the crisis.

      Future value of oil in the ground isn’t much use if you’ve had the entire world economy collapse in the short run.

      1. The market for oil is a global market. If supply goes down, and global demand stays the same, the price goes up. More supply, no matter where it comes from, will cause prices to drop, not just in the US, but everywhere. It’s not like we can use cheap domestic sources when the price of imported oil is high. Why sell locally at a high price if you can get more by shipping it overseas?

        The only ways I know of to ensure that domestic oil stays here are (1) to subsidize the domestic sale of oil or (2) put high tariffs on imported oil. Both of those are contrary to libertarian thought. So my question to the author is this: how does increasing domestic production lead to independence from foreign sources of oil?

        1. Sorry, Gilbert, I didn’t mean to put that up as a comment to your comment.

        2. “The market for oil is a global market”

          So is the commodity futures market.

          And a lot of the run up right now is not based on an actual oil shortage today but on a fear premium on what MIGHT happen in the Middle East.

          And on the momentum player speculators in the futures market piling in.

  33. here’s a good explanation of how oil prices are really set and the actual status of the supply and demand
    http://www.cpeterson.org/2011/…..not-libya/

  34. If we had a natural law property system, people wouldn’t need permission to obtain resources from THEIR OWN FUCKING PROPERTY. The government does not own Alaska and it does not own the ocean.

    1. Actually, this is false. Alaska mineral rights belong 100% to the federal government, which makes it unique in the US.

      1. First I would have to accept the concept that the federal government can “own” unoccupied property…

        1. I would have to accept to the concept that individuals can “own” property, whether occupied or not. They certainly did not create it, and their only “right” to it is a right based on guns…either the government’s or their own.

          1. Property ownership by individuals is in fact created by occupying or possessing that property, clarifying and defending the boundaries, and making improvements or conducting labor on it. Guns enter the situation when someone else attempts to claim already claimed property. The rightful owner is not the one who is initiating force. If for a reasonable period of time the property is unused and no one is defending it, it ceases to be property until the next round of possession.

            1. So you support putting most of the oil industry in the hands of Native Americans, yes?

  35. There is nothing stopping us but will and stupid conservatives.

    And stupid Greens.

    Seriously — this is a huge freaking amount of land.

    I haven’t even started calculating the losses: transmission losses, losses to storage due to inefficiencies, losses from AC conversion … it looks worse and worse with every step.

  36. There is nothing stopping us but will and stupid conservatives.

    And stupid Greens.

    Seriously — this is a huge freaking amount of land.


  37. There is nothing stopping us but will and stupid conservatives.

    That and stupid Greens.

    http://bit.ly/f7WIRE

  38. Well, Tony, that and the stupid Greens:

    http://bit.ly/f7WIRE

    Seriously, Tony, you wildly underestimate costs and political opposition. But then, you don’t seem too interested in actually doing a whole lot of math — that’s hard, I guess.

  39. I would have to accept to the concept that individuals can “own” property, whether occupied or not.

  40. Every damn thing I post here is getting nanny filtered.

  41. 1. Xenophobia — “BP, the (foreign) drilling company” — Check

    2. Subsidies to favoured groups — “For peanuts compared to all the subsidies for ethanol and solar cells, the government could help pay for these costs.” — Check

    3. “Jon Basil Utley is associate publisher of The American Conservative.” — This explains the xenophobia and support for subsidies.

    Surprised Reason published this article.

  42. Here’s the case for increased drilling and all the other economic activity that is related to the production of oil and its progeny: The folks who do those things are free to do whatever the hell they want to do, alone or in voluntary cooperation with others, to produce whatever product or service for sale, trade, exchange, or giving away to whoever. And they are free to do that no matter what wrong-headed, tyrannical, stupid excuses are used by anyone else to support prohibiting them from doing those things. That is what freedom is: you get to do what the hell you want to do, with whoever agreed to do it with you, without having to get the permission of some bureaucratic wanna-be Hitler (insert your least favorite dictator in lieu of ‘Hitler’). End of story. Remember when we were kids … eh, probably when you were kids, you couldn’t say stuff like this, but when I was a kid, we’d say, “Who the hell died and made you God!!”

  43. The proposed pipeline from Canada to Texas would run across the Ogallala Aquifer. The soils that sit atop this aquifer are porous and sandy, for the most part, and frequently the aquifer is so close to the surface that 10 foot wells can access it, and occasionally, freshwater lakes form. There are also rivers and streams that provide trout, bass, and other fish habitats that use the Aquifer as a source. The aquifer provides the major water resource for SEVEN STATES – most of which supply the beef as well as vegetables and fruits for the US. The residents in the pipeline’s path have been assured that, even though they will use much thinner metals than the Alaska pipeline, leaks “will be minimal”. It is well known that tar sands oil is the dirtiest oil there is.

    The Only REAL solution is to rescind the 1970’s law that severely limits the construction of refineries in the US. (Are the rest of you too young to remember when gas was 35 cents a gallon – back before they restricted the construction of refineries in the US?) Why build a multi-billion dollar pipeline across America, when building refineries at the oil source is so much cheaper and more efficient, and will provide more ongoing employment?

    “reason” has been going downhill in their promulgation of the realities for years; this slanted bit of yellow journalism only further proves that they are in cahoots with the politicians who will “spend a dollar to save a penny”, make us more dependent on foreign imports, are in favor of brief, high paying construction jobs that end instead of ongoing high-paying jobs that would produce something real and static, and lead us all into bankruptcy. When people are sick of and starving on the current service economy, and passing the same tired dollars around (those that we don’t bundle by the cargo ship out of the country) maybe THEN they will realize that “reason” has lost its reason, and has become just another unctuous Kenyesian sycophant.

    “Drill, baby, Drill!” – but refine it where you drill, and become totally independent of other resources.

  44. Good article. I like many of your points, but is this plan only intended to replace Middle East oil? I mean even if we were to do all of this and eliminate Middle East oil then how long can we sustain this production? It is inevitable that many of our existing oil fields and new oil fields production will drop off at some point.

    We MUST have a plan for moving past total fossil fuel dependance for our energy needs.

  45. This article is a lot of baloney. Oil production in America has been declining at a rate of 1.5% per year an is now 50% of what it was in 1970 (see IEA website). Even if we were to open up oil production in all of the environmentally sensitive areas we might slow the decline down to 1% but that would only delay the inevitable. Sure there are lots of tar sands and shale oil, but don’t expect the oil or gas from those sources to be cheap. I find very little difference between today’s libertarians and leftists. Both seem to want some sort of state sponsorship to promote an affluent society. The only difference is that libertarian’s and leftist have different approaches to achieving that goal. Somehow libertarians have lost sight of the fact that an affluent society is a byproduct of creating a free society with individual rights. Modern libertarians equate technological progress with a free and open society and they are two different things.

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  47. The USA should go solar/electric

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