Thursday, April 02, 2009

To Drill or Not To Drill

Bloomberg is reporting that the Interior Department estimates there are 115 billion barrels of oil that is technically recoverable on the Outer Continental Shelf. The estimate is just that, an estimate. However, of even more importance is Interior's estimate as to what the pricing would be to make the oil economically recoverable. That's an eye-opener for sure, and should tame anyone's urge to dance in the streets and cheer "Happy Motoring."

Technically recoverable means we have the capability to do it. Economically recoverable refers to how much can be recovered, given the costs, at a specific price range. The difference is important. How much would you be willing to pay for a gallon of gas?

1 comment:

The North Coast said...

We're going to be paying more for gas whether we want to or not.

The question is just what kind of adjustments we are willing to make to accommodate the higher cost of fuel, which is going to drive up the prices of everything dependent upon it- in short, just about everything we use.

Until the public demands that our leadership make policy changes that will make driving less necessary, we can count on escalating fuel prices being very disruptive and quashing any economic recovery. And the public is not going to demand that, because the citizenry doesn't want to change anything about the way we live.

Necessary policy changes would have to be made at every level, especially the local. They would mean ending single-use zoning, diverting money from street-widening and highway-building to expanding rail and bus transit, and they would mean passing more of the costs of auto transportation onto the users.

These changes are NOT going to make people happy, so they aren't going to be made until they're absolutely necessary, and much too late to make a difference for the tens of millions of people trapped in totally auto-dependent lifestyles. These people will be trapped in their subdivisions in outer burbs, 50 miles from work, and nowhere near cheap transit. Businesses will be mired in office parks that workers can't get to and that can't be sold for anything like what they cost to build. We will have extreme difficulty growing and shipping enough food as the demand for plant fuels escalates, and food costs will go out the roof.