14 July 2008

In a Rare Show of Intestinal Fortitude, US President Bush Lifts Ban on Offshore Drilling, Tells Congress: Bring it On!

In the last year or two, President Bush has become quite bashful about confronting an out of control US Congress. But in a rare act of willful provocation to an inept Congress, Bush has thrown down the gauntlet of domestic energy production.
President Bush lifted an executive ban on offshore oil and gas drilling Monday, putting more pressure on congressional Democrats to address GOP calls to open more acreage for domestic energy exploration.

The executive ban, established under Bush's father in 1990, is coupled with another prohibition Congress established in 1981, so lawmakers on Capitol Hill must rollback the congressional ban before energy companies can start looking for oil and gas in the Outer Continental Shelf....the move increases pressure on congressional Democrats to confront a Republican measure that would open offshore drilling sites 50 miles from much of the country's coastline. Democratic leaders have blocked votes on this amendment in recent weeks, despite calls from their own members to consider it.

"With this action, the executive branch's restrictions on this exploration have been cleared away," Bush told reporters during a brief press conference in the White House Rose Garden. "This means that the only thing standing between the American people and these vast oil resources is action from the U.S. Congress. Now the ball is squarely in Congress's court." _Source
Don't expect a lot of action from Pelosi and Boxer's Congress, however. The US Congress is determined to gum up the works of the US economy at least until after Novemeber elections. They are gambling that the US voting public will not notice what the unpopular legislators are attempting.

Meanwhile, contrary to peak oil doomsterism, proven oil reserves are increasing rather than decreasing.
In the Americas, proven oil reserves have increased from 170 billion barrels to 180 billion barrels over the last two decades, according to the 2008 Statistical World Review from British Petroleum. In Europe and Eurasia, proven oil reserves almost doubled, from 76 billion barrels to 144. Africa's proven oil reserves did double, from 58 billion barrels to 117. Even the Asia Pacific region, where China and India are reputed to be sucking up everything in sight, has increased its proven reserves. And the Middle East, the gas tank of the world, shows no sign of slowing down -- its reserves soared by almost 200 billion barrels, from a whopping 567 billion barrels to a super-whopping 756.

...But this is still not the end of it. Unconventional oil reserves are now in play. In 2005, the Rand Corporation estimated that the oil shale in America's Green River Formation, which covers portions of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, contains 1.5 to 1.8 trillion barrels of oil, with as much as 1.1 trillion barrels of oil recoverable, an amount comparable to the reserves of four Saudi Arabias. Oil shale becomes recoverable at $95 a barrel, it determined. With oil now trading at $140 a barrel, oil shale exploitation is now very much economic. Then there's Canada's tar sands, with its even greater potential--estimates of the total reserves that may be available top two trillion barrels, or eight Saudi Arabias.

This is still not the end to it. Most of the oil we know about lies in the well travelled portions of the globe. But most of the world remains unexplored -- the interiors of Africa, Asia and South America have seen relatively little oil exploration. Oil exploration in the oceans, too, is in its infancy. For all practical purposes, mankind has limitless oil supplies available to it. The story is similar for natural gas and coal, the other major nonrenewable sources of energy. And for nuclear power. And for the renewables. _Much More at the Source
We know that both solar and geothermal energy can potentially power the entire Earth's human population thousands of times over. Biomass and algae have the potential to eventually take over for fossil fuels, in a few decades. Nuclear fusion may not be far off, if the good news from the Bussard research group on IEC fusion continues. Safer and more reliable fission designs that are scalable for most any size from small towns to mega-cities are close to production stage.

This is not a time to talk doom. The only type of peak oil on the horizon is political peak oil, for which we can largely thank the US Congress of Pelosi and Boxer.

H/T Icecap

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