Don't even imagine the oil age is over

A new report by the U.S. Interior Department gives great support to those who say, "Drill, baby, drill.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor

A new report by the U.S. Interior Department gives great support to those who say, "Drill, baby, drill." The report shows how little we really know about how much oil is, or isn't, under the oceans within 200 miles of the U.S. mainland. That would be the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and various seas around Alaska. Don't think anyone expects to find oil around Hawaii.

Already the continental shelf provides significant fossil fuel to the U.S. Says this report, "In 2007, the OCS [continental shelf] accounted for 14 percent (2,860 billion cubic feet) of the Nation’s natural gas production and 27 percent (492,329,179 barrels) of its oil production."

Page 5 of the executive summary of this report contains a politically explosive little chart, showing how much oil and gas may be below the ocean along the American coast, but has yet to be confirmed. Think there'll be a little interest in those drilling leases?


The report is not strictly focused on oil underground. It also surveys what we know and don't know about wind energy over the ocean.

"Wind power is a renewable, low-carbon dioxide energy source located on the OCS that has potential to become a significant source of electricity in the United States. Over the past two decades, land-based wind energy has seen a significant reduction in cost, making it a viable for electric power generation in some areas of the United States. Offshore winds are typically stronger and more consistent than on land, and are frequently located near high-energy demand centers. Of the 48 contiguous States, 28 have a coastal boundary (including Great Lakes), and electric-use data show that these coastal States use 78 percent of the Nation’s electricity."


Here's what the report says about waves, tidal, current energy: "Wave energy also is a potentially significant OCS renewable energy resource, but wave energy is in the developmental stage. Given the current state of technology, the proximity to dense population... it does not appear that wave power is likely to become a major contributor to the national energy picture in the near future. Development... likely to be focused in areas along the Pacific Northwest or off the coast of Hawaii. "Tidal energy technology development appears to be moving more quickly than wave energy... because its characteristics, such as predictable currents and location in shallow nearshore waters... tidal projects typically occur close to the coast, within State boundaries. "Relative to wind, wave, and tidal energy, the resource potential for ocean current power is the least understood...the most viable potential opportunities for ocean current energy development in the United States are located off the southeast coast of Florida, in the Gulf Stream."


The area covered is huge: 1.7 billion acres. The amount of data is limited and the gaps are huge. That's where thr drilling will begin. Finding out what's there. The report's main point: you need data in order to make solid deicisons. That alone is a serious departure from much of the faith and gut-based deicsion making we've seen in recent years on all sides of environmental and greentech issues. Both the drillers and anti-drillers are often talking from strictly faith-based positions. Oil will save us. Oil will destroy us. You're either for us or against us.

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