Sunday, October 05, 2008

Chill, baby, chill

God, the sound of that idiotic chant. Hearing it on national television is exactly like hearing the sound of your country flaunting its shameless ignorance on national television. I mean here we are mired in a war where tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of people have DIED, and let's not bullshit here, people, there's a perception in many parts of the world that our actions in Iraq were heavily motivated by our need to control OIL, and we're chanting "drill, baby, drill."

Yes, I say idiotic, because I feel that the people who chant "drill, baby, drill" are behaving like idiots. It makes me very angry. That's the feeling I get, which is probably a fight or flight reaction to a mob chanting something I instinctively disagree with, and percieve as a flagrantly ignorant position on an very nuanced issue. (However, I'm sure they're really nice people with families, and that they're most guilty of being swept up in an idiotic chant, although I saw many people at that convention just looking around like "seriously?", and I can only hope that the chanters really do care about the thousands of families in Iraq who have lost everything because of oil, and given some degree of enlightenment, would find shame in chanting something like that in front of the whole world, considering the current context.)

But on the topic of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, here's the bottom line: even if we get extremely lucky with drilling in the ANWR, WE MUST reduce our daily consumption of oil by 6 million barrels if we're serious about getting off of OPEC oil. That is a 29% reduction in daily oil consumption.

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), an administration whose mission is to provide official statistics to the US government, a BEST case scenario for drilling in the ANWR would result in a peak capacity of 1.9 million barrels per day for about 1-2 years. By BEST case scenario, I mean they estimate a 5% - FIVE PERCENT PROBABILITY of that being the amount of oil present in ANWR's coastal region.

A more likely scenario, which they estimate a 95% chance for, would be that we could sustain peak production of about 875,000 barrels per day in about 15 years, for about 2 years, and the rest of the time we'd be averaging about 500,000 barrels per day. Unfortunately, America currently consumes 21 MILLION barrels of oil per day. That would mean there's a very good chance we could go to all this trouble for what will amount to 4.2% of our daily consumption of oil for a very short span of time, if we're lucky and aggressive, presuming we consume the same or less amount of oil 10 years from now, when our rigs are up and running.

Our oil consumption increased by 10% between 1997 and 2007, according to the EIA, so, if that trend continues, we could be looking at daily consumption of closer to 23 million barrels per day. That would mean actually we would most likely be getting 3.8% of our daily intake from the new Alaskan oil fields... for that small window of opportunity I mentioned before.

Still though, from an optimistic point of view, if it is coupled with significant implementations of solar and wind power, or other alternatives, it could be important in helping us get off of psycho foriegn oil. (Not you guys, Canada and Mexico, our #1 and #2 suppliers of oil, you're totally cool. I'm talking about those other douchebags who hate our guts.)

It would in fact not be a complete waste of time, like some media outlets would have you believe, assuming we actually do, as I say, have some serious wind and solar power plants deployed by the time the rigs are ready, because 3.8% is a drop in the bucket, but if it's accompanied by many other drops, then we have something.

To hedge the probability that there's actually not much oil there at all, we would probably want to start drilling at any other domestic locations we can think of as soon as possible.

Again, the oil will run out fairly quickly, even in the best case, and will certainly not, on its own, be able to replace, or really even MAKE A DENT in the 13,468,000 barrels per day we import. Although to be fair, Canada and Mexico alone make up nearly 1/3rd of our imports, 4 million barrels per day, which is nice, and OPEC as a whole provides about 44%, or 6 million barrels per day. So again, even if we hit that 5% mark, which would really be something, we would only reduce our dependency on OPEC by 31%, so we MUST reduce our oil consumption by about 6 million barrels per day if we are serious about getting off of OPEC oil, let alone FORIEGN oil as a whole.

And that is the bottom line: WE MUST reduce our daily consumption of oil by 6 million barrels - a 29% reduction.

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