April 11, 2009

"We don't need no stinkun oil, wind is free" 2

In the NEW WORLD ORDER, there is no such thing as political correct oil, thus no such thing as sensible drilling. We are living in historic times, before our very eyes we are watching the willfull self destruction of an economic engine which has powered the greatest advance in human prosperity in history in order to protect us from our exhaled breathe. I hope there will be someone around to put this down with quill and parchment, for future generations to learn from.
Secretary Salazar must not be reading my blog

from Barrons
Sensible Drilling: Gone With the Wind?

Ignoring our oil potential.

INTERIOR SECRETARY KEN SALAZAR, THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S energy architect, apparently thinks the answer to all our energy worries is blowing in the wind.

Salazar has slammed the brakes on efforts to develop vast new gas and oil fields offshore and in his home state of Colorado. During the campaign, candidate Obama said he would drill to find oil offshore. But Salazar now says he needs six months to formulate a comprehensive offshore-energy plan and to have "an open and honest conversation" about it with the American people.

Increasingly, Salazar sounds like a man bedeviled by the winds. In speeches he suggests that huge wind turbines placed off major cities on the East and West Coasts will generate 1,900 gigawatts of clean and relatively cheap electric power, double the current total output of all U.S. power plants.

He doesn't say how long it would take to achieve this. But if it were so, there would be no need to build new coal or nuclear plants. We would, in Salazar's rumination, simply breeze along.

He must be thinking of a whole lot of windmills. I don't know for certain, because my multiple phone and e-mail entreaties for information from spokesman Frank Quimby went unanswered. But we can assume he is thinking half a million or more of the gigantic contraptions. I derive the estimate from a wind project planned off Nantucket involving 130 wind-driven turbines. These big machines will generate a total of 468 megawatts, which comes out to 3.6 megawatts per windmill, or .0036 gigawatts.

Divide Salazar's 1,900 gigawatts by 0.0036 and the result is 528,000 windmills. I threw in some extra turbines because on any given day some of these gadgets will break down.

Salazar argues offshore windmills would also help turn the economy around by creating millions of green jobs. Oil, gas, and coal will be part of the plan, he promises. But he adds that they alone are not enough.

"America's own oil and natural-gas supplies are limited," he pronounced in a speech on April 2. "We sit on 3% of the world's oil reserves. We consume 25% of its oil. Our dependence on foreign oil is a national security problem, an environmental security problem and an economic security problem."

Rightly or wrongly, oil men don't trust Salazar. They believe he means to extend the moratorium on oil and gas exploration indefinitely. He certainly does go out of his way to make the worse case for fossil fuels. Take the 3% number: "It is as old as Moses," says Michael McKenna, president of MWR Strategies in Virginia, a lobbying and public- relations firm. McKenna represents several drillers.

THE NUMBER DOESN'T ACCOUNT for recent oil and gas discoveries. Salazar in his speech conveniently ignored a study by the U.S. Geological Survey that estimates a total of 1.5 trillion barrels of oil in place in 17 oil-shale zones in the Eocene Green River Formation in the Piceance Basin, which is located in northwestern Colorado.

He knew all about it, too. In a press release about the study the same day as his speech Salazar said, "The USGS scientific report shows significant quantities of oil locked up in the shale rock of the Piceance Basin. I think it demonstrates the need for our continued research-and-development efforts."

How "significant" is 1.5 trillion barrels?

"Let's see if I can put it in perspective," gibes McKenna in an e-mail. "Since oil was discovered in Titusville in 1857, we have used about one trillion barrels." He is talking about the entire planet, not just the U.S.

Not all of that shale oil can be extracted using current technology. Experts tell me that today's drillers might be able to get at 500 billion to 700 billion barrels. Still, when you consider that Saudi Arabia's known reserves are an estimated 250 billion barrels, that is a lot of black gold.

Andy Radford, a senior policy advisor at the American Petroleum Institute, says it is difficult to produce oil from shale in an economically sound and environmentally safe way, although drillers running R&D wells are employing promising new technologies that address both problems.

"Research-and-development drilling must be pursued," he says. He laments, however, that only six R&D leases were licensed by the Interior Department before it locked down the application process.

McKenna asserts that oil will dominate the transportation sector for a long time and that Salazar, as a consequence of his applying the brakes on oil and gas development on and offshore, is sustaining our dependency on oil from countries that hate us.

We would love to hear from Salazar or his staff to answer our pertinent questions.

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