Oil Spill-Onomics

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has provided a dramatic new subject for political controversy. Of course the Ancient Media are slanting the story one way – evil oil companies. Nuts like Rosie O’Donnell even have called for the government to “seize the assets” of oil giant BP. “Call if socialism, call it communism. Call it what you want,” comrade Rosie added. This is startling radicalism exposed. Heck, communism is just fine! Forget that Constitution!


Yet we know that side of their story, the extremist, emotional enviro side. We hear it every day. Green, green, green. It is dangerous and demagogic coming from people who have created zero energy. Meanwhile Obama’s response to the oil spill has been lackadaisical and abhorrent and he is demagoguing it for political purposes. Imagine the hysteria if Bush were president…


But what about the other side of the issue? Where is the coverage of that?


After the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident in 1979, environmentalists went crazy and barred the construction of new nukes. Only thing is that the number of people killed at TMI was precisely… zero.


Meanwhile, more than 10,000 American homes are damaged or destroyed every year in…guess what?… fires started by wood-burning stoves which heat only a small fraction of American homes. Thus that burn rate is very, very high. So wood energy sounds pretty dangerous, does it not? Yet the enviros don’t seem to want to stop that.


Then the opportunity for environmentalists to vent their unyielding rage at an event like Three Mile Island offers itself every once in a while, and they never miss a blink. The Gulf oil spill is the same.


When the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil in Prince William Sound in Alaska in 1989, the enviros had another fit. Yet the oil companies had wanted to build a pipeline to transport the oil to the Lower 48 to avoid the need for transshipment by boat, but were blocked by… environmentalists. Those are the same enviros whose huge federal bureaucracy is slowing activity to mitigate the Gulf oil spill, like the building of berms on beaches to keep the oil out.


What about deepwater drilling? After all, 60% of the world’s surface is deep ocean, and it has never been explored for oil. Are we going to cut off this potentially vast oil supply out of panic as we did with nuclear power after Three Mile Island?


We will for the time being. And ultimately we will pay the price, just as we have paid the price for not developing nuclear power.


But then again, we would not even have to look to the deep oceans for oil if environmentalists weren’t doing everything in their power to block energy production on land in every form – oil, coal, oil shale, oil sands, uranium and natural gas.


The big question, however, is: What do enviros propose to replace oil, nuclear and the rest?


Yes, indeed they have a proposal. It is solar power and windmills and ethanol. Only problem is twofold: They don’t work. And even at that, they all consume government subsidies. Meanwhile, ethanol production is pushing up the price of food by diverting corn to fuel. So where is the media outrage about the disastrous effects that ethanol production is having, pushing up the price of food for every single American? That is like an oil spill in every wallet.


No, there is no coverage of that, while we see oil-soaked birds every five minutes on the news.


So now the taxpayer is being asked to subsidize ‘green energy’ which is simply another welfare program that costs a lot of money and doesn’t work. ‘Green energy’ only exists because the government pays for it, while those subsidies are direct payments into the pockets of Al Gore and his ‘green’ investors. If the government did not subsidize them, these ‘green energy’ sources would fail and Al Gore would lose his shirt, which he eventually will because the ‘green energy’ bubble is about to burst. The tax money simply isn’t there to keep ‘green energy’ going.


We should let welfare freeloaders and ‘green energy’ both fail under their own weight.


Americans should become aware of the truth about petroleum and energy so that we don’t continue to be shocked and manipulated by things we hear in the media. Here are a few facts:


*Oil has contributed more to our high standard of living than any other substance. If we wish to continue to have a high standard of living, we will continue to need oil, even though there are risks involved and there are going to be spills and accidents. Many of the worst oil spills have come from shipping oil (Exxon Valdez) not extracting it.


*Oil, coal and natural gas provide the overwhelming majority of our transportation, heating and electrical supply. There is no substitute. And while we certainly are all truly saddened about the damage in the Gulf region, we don’t seem to be talking much about the infinite good that oil has done for us over the long run and among our whole population.


*The earth is not running out of oil. Oil industry veteran Hansen Saleri wrote in the Wall Street Journal on March 4, 2008 that the world today has 12 to 16 trillion barrels in known petroleum supplies (crude oil, oil shale, oil sands) today compared to the amount of oil that man has used (about 1 trillion barrels) since the beginning of the Oil Age around 1860.


*America consumes 20 million barrels of oil per day, about 75% of that imported. The world uses 85 million barrels per day. A barrel is 42 gallons.


*About 1.6 million barrels per day of oil, or one-third of US domestic production, comes from offshore rigs, virtually all in the Gulf of Mexico. There currently are more than 3,500 rigs operating in the Gulf, most drilling in the shallow water of the continental shelf.


*Up to 2 million barrels a day were being pumped through the 800-mile-long Alaska pipeline at the height of its productive life, which started in October 1977. The Prudhoe Bay oilfield that provides the pipeline’s supply is expected to run out in 2015, and will have pumped 18 billion (‘billion’ with a ‘B’) barrels by then, over 38 years. The original estimate of Prudhoe reserves was 1 billion barrels.


*The ANWR oilfield is another Prudhoe-sized field. It is located under dry land. It can pump more oil per day that all the rigs in the Gulf of Mexico combined, as Prudhoe once did. But it needs the Alaska pipeline to pump the oil to market since it is near Prudhoe Bay. If the pipeline is torn down after Prudhoe Bay runs out – as enviros plan to tear it down – ANWR never will be able to be tapped. Which will force us to rely more on other sources like deepwater drilling.


*A whopping 30% of worldwide oil production comes from offshore(!)


*Estimates say that American oil shale supplies – oil trapped in rock formations, mostly in northwestern Colorado – are 2 trillion (with a ‘T’) barrels or more.


*Estimates says that Canadian oil sands – oil mixed in sand in the province of Alberta – are 2 trillion (with a ‘T’) barrels.


*American electricity-producing power plants currently consume 1.2 billion tons per year of coal and 5 trillion cubic feet per year of natural gas. If those plants were converted to nuclear, all that domestic coal and gas could be converted to enough transportation fuel, heating fuel and other fuel and byproducts to completely replace all American oil imports. Only problem is that… environmentalists… would protest the nuclear conversion plan.


The big problem with oil today is that the people who produce it are separate from the demagogues who criticize it. The college professors and editorial writers and the elite environmentalists have never produced a drop of oil or a kilowatt of electricity. Their ethanol and windmills are inefficient and do not work. So Americans must make up their minds about whether they want to consider oil seriously, or to listen to the uninformed nonsense of the media and environmentalists  in making crucial decisions about our future energy supplies.


Is the Gulf spill a disaster?


Yes. But if we allow it to control our long-term energy strategies, we will be poorer and have much less energy for our children and grandchildren.


Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can print out for free my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.