Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

For "a human being, the question 'to be or not to be,' is the question 'to think or not to think.'" Ayn Rand

28 February 2011

The Real American Energy Opportunities

Gasoline prices are rising at the gas pumps and look as though they will continue to do so for some time.  There are many predictions that the price of regular gas will rise above $4.00 a gallon.  The present recession occurred when it did because a sudden oil price surge was the pin that popped the housing credit balloon.  Ten of the eleven U.S. recessions since the end of WWII were precipitated by a sudden rise in oil prices.  In addition to the instability of the Middle East and the fact that Obama by design has no foreign policy to deal with it, Obama is determined to force fossil fuel prices upward drastically.  Such an action must have an effect similar to an international upsurge in the price of oil.  Our fragile economy may not be able to survive his efforts to rapidly reduce the use of coal, to virtually end exploration and drilling for oil and gas in America and its waters, to penalize CO2 emissions, and to misdirect the economy into expensive and unreliable wind and solar generated electric power.  It will certainly not prosper and generate the millions of jobs we desperately need it to, especially in view of our huge national debt and the unfunded looming liabilities for Social Security and Medicare for the retiring and politically blind Baby Boomer generation.

American energy policy is absolutely critical and should be founded upon the following facts:
  • Catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is a scientifically failed hypothesis.
  • Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, but is plant food which will only promote plant growth should its concentration in the atmosphere continue to increase due to the warming of the oceans since the end of the Little Ice Age.
  • It is not practical and economic for the U.S. to pursue energy independence.  We presently import over 60% of the crude oil we refine.  This imported crude and other petroleum products cost $453 billion in 2008.  Decades of Presidential declarations of our pursuing energy independence have failed to make progress toward the goal.
  • The best way to assure the availability of adequate oil and gas supplies is to have as many sources of them in as many areas of the world as possible.  The resulting competition for income will do more to relieve price and availability concerns than any other approach to the problem.
  • Presently, 77% of wold oil reserves are owned or controlled by national governments, some of which are unfriendly and many of which are subject to instabilities.  Nationalized oil companies are also inclined to be inefficient, often under-capitalized, and to lack innovation.
  • The U.S. has 22.6% of the known world reserves of coal, which leads the world.  Russia has 14.4% and China has 12.6%.  In 2010, despite increases in natural gas use for electric power generation in the U.S., coal still produced 45% of American electric power.  Coal power stations require scrubbers and generate fly ash, but their problems are exaggerated by many environmentalists and Progressive Elitists.
  • Ethanol additions to gasoline only provide corn-growing farmers and ethanol refiners with welfare payments and drives food prices upwards.  Ethanol provides neither net energy nor pollution benefits, despite claims years ago that it did both.
  • Wind generation and solar power plants are very expensive and exist on the power grid only due to government mandates and subsidies.  These power sources have little utility except in remote locations far from the electric grid or for temporary setups to avoid power hookups.  They are also unreliable and use the land inefficiently.  When on the grid, they require expensive gas-fired power plant back-up.
  • The U.S. has huge oil and natural gas reserves compared to those acknowledged by the U.S. government.  The government estimated that Alaska's Prudhoe Bay held 9 billion barrels of oil, but it has already produced 15 billion barrels and is still producing.  The Bakken Formation of North Dakota and Montana is now thought to have up to 4.3 billion barrels of oil, but the government had previously thought it had 25 times less than this amount.  Much of America is effectively unexplored for oil and gas and there are many, many areas worthy of exploration and development.  This situation exists because the government has not allowed exploration in many areas.
Let us discuss a few of the exciting oil and gas opportunities that the U.S. has, if only the Obama gang were not so determined to stifle them.

Northern Economics and the University of Alaska - Anchorage's Institute of Social and Economic Research has just recently released a study concluding that Alaska's Outer Continental Shelf could make Alaska the 8th largest oil-producing region in the world.  This would place it ahead of Nigeria, Libya, Russia, and Norway.  Alaska could produce 10 billion barrels of oil and 15 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.  About 55,000 new jobs would be created and add payroll of about $145 billion nationally.  Because oil royalties are very high, government revenues through the year 2057 would be increased by $193 billion.  The operating life of the 800-mile Trans-Alaska Pipeline System would be extended by such production.

The development of the many oil shale deposits in the United States holds huge promise and were recently discussed in the Investor's Business Daily article A Shale of Difference.  The known shale oil deposits are shown in the map below:

Late in his presidency, George Bush opened up 2 million acres of federal lands in the Green River Formation to possible development for shale oil and tar sands.  Interior Secretary Ken Salazar of Obama's cadre has refused to allow this to happen, claiming that the leases must be reviewed.  Of course environmental groups have also filed federal lawsuits to prevent its development.  The area is thought, by the U.S. Geological Survey, which commonly makes underestimates, to hold 1.5 trillion barrels of oil.  This is six times the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia and would supply the U.S. with enough oil for 2 centuries of use!  But, despite the recession and the soaring costs of oil, the Obama cadre sees only reasons to prevent the development of this oil source.  After all, it would only make it too easy for Americans to pollute the atmosphere with CO2!  The consequences of such wrongheadedness mean that we will not be producing 2 million barrels of oil a day from oil shale fields as we could have been doing by 2015.  That production would have exceeded the production of the Gulf of Mexico prior to the Deepwater Horizon event.  The now booming Bakken formation of North Dakota could have had some good company and America could have been much richer and had many more jobs.

An ICF International study claims that opening up the federal waters off the Pacific Coast, the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Coast, and the Atlantic Coast for development of oil fields would increase domestic oil production by nearly 1 million barrels a day and 3 billion cubic feet of gas a day.  Allowing efficient and innovative American oil and gas companies to tap these resources as the economics allows would provide a strong steadying hand to the problem of oil and gas availability and price stability for Americans.  The benefits for the American economy over the next several critical decades would be huge.

Yet faced with an exemplary environmental track record in recent years, a fragile economy due to many government interferences, a 13% real unemployment rate with many more Americans underemployed, a lack of good jobs for those without a college degree, an entire Middle East unstable and in revolt, and all of these opportunities for wealth creation, our Progressive Elitist overlords have decided we are best put on a severe energy diet.  Energy Deprivation is Good, say our all-knowing federal and many state masters.

We the People clearly need to mount an Energy Plenitude is Good campaign!  Drill, Baby, Drill!!!!

ObamaCare Now Seen as so Bad, Democrats Consider it Disparaging

Recently, Representative Tom Graves, Republican of Georgia was speaking on the House floor in favor of an amendment to defund ObamaCare.  He describes how it is so expensive that 915 companies and union health plans have received waivers, letting 2.5 million Americans off the hook for ObamaCare.  A Democrat Representative from Florida rudely interrupted him several times claiming she wanted a ruling on a parliamentary inquiry.  She was allowed to make that inquiry only after Representative Graves finished and yielded the floor.  Her point was that members of the House were not supposed to make disparaging remarks about the President.  She claimed that by calling the Affordable Care Act by the popular shorthand name ObamaCare, that Rep. Graves was being disparaging.  It is very interesting that this great triumph of the Obama presidency is now seen as so bad that Obama's being associated with it is seen as disparaging.  What an amazing admission by a Democrat in the House of Representatives!  The brief Graves talk and the "lady" from Florida can be watched in this video clip: