Friday, May 18, 2012

Rock Of Ages—Fuel My Car

And while you’re at it, warm my house in the winter and cool it in the summer, light up the darkness, run my microwave, power my computer, and generally provide my fuel needs for centuries to come. One semi-ugly rock could be the key to complete American energy independence. It’s called oil shale, and we’re up to our ears in it. Therefore, we will not exploit it.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently published a report it had made to the Congressional panel on Science, Space and Technology. It was entitled “Unconventional Oil and Gas Production—Opportunities and Challenges in Shale Oil Development.” The Obama administration quickly buried the report, and not because it was lengthy, in-depth and highly technical. It was buried because it has scientific and geological proof that in just one small area of the United States, shale oil contains about three trillion (yes, trillion) barrels of oil.

The report concludes that approximately half of that oil could be extracted using “available technology and given current economic conditions.” To put this in perspective, and quoting the GAO report, “this is an amount equal to the entire world’s proven oil reserves.” Gestate on that for a minute. And while you’re doing that, you need to know that this is just the most recent oil shale find—we have plenty of others. The area in question is located where Utah, Colorado and Wyoming come together on the map. It’s called the Green River Formation.

Most Americans have been questioning why this nation has to depend on oil from Middle East and South American dictatorships and America-hating nations. Most haven’t considered how unnecessary it is to be importing oil even from friendly democracies, such as Canada. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline has been a hot potato for the Obama administration on silly environmental grounds, but the oil itself comes from Canada, a modern industrialized nation unafraid to use unconventional means to release billions of barrels of oil. In their case, the oil isn’t conventionally-drilled, it comes from oil sands.

This revelation even beats the envirowackos’ opposition to traditional drilling in the minuscule Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Even more oil is available in the Green River Formation, and it’s already right here within the contiguous forty-eight states. The green weenies and their shock troops at the Environmental Protection Agency are already operating in high gear to stop shale oil production before it can even start. The previously unknown barefaced liar owl species and the Rocky Mountain maggot environment would be completely destroyed if shale oil production plans go forward.

One element of shale oil production is already under massive attack from the enviroweenies. A very similar process used to extract natural gas from unwilling grounds is used to extract the shale oil. It’s called “fracking,” a shortening of the term fracture mining. Mass hysteria over the possibility of negative effects on ground water has already prevented the gathering of huge reserves of natural gas. That process has gone on for decades, yet there are no examples of polluted ground water of any significance, and in those rare spots where some pollution has occurred it was easily cleared up using very traditional technology.

There’s also no denying that some pretty ugly production facilities will have to be constructed on-site. That will have a negative impact on the local vistas and hiking trails. Somehow, I think Colorado, Utah and Wyoming have a few other scenic spots which would be entirely unaffected by development in this one small portion of God’s green earth. Most of the visual damage would be temporary, and if the reserves ever become exhausted, there’s plenty of technology available to restore the spot to its original state. The enviroweenies know that the caribou won’t be negatively affected by the facilities as they claimed in Alaska, but I’m sure they can find some animal whose very existence depends on leaving the area completely undeveloped. Gray wolves or grizzly bears, maybe. Or jackrabbits.

But let’s face it. Whether the oil comes from traditional well-drilling, tar sand or oil shale, the Obama administration will oppose it because it’s, well, oil. Global warming Armageddon is only days away, and the chief culprit is carbon emissions from coal and oil use. Development of shale oil production would only bring us closer to the final days. Besides, the area could be used for solar panels and windmills, which we all know are highly-efficient, beautiful and have no effect on the environment. We do know that, don’t we?

Oh, and then there’s that dirty money thing. Solar panels and windmills are highly-subsidized by the federal government, so that’s good money, even if it produces massive bankruptcies and little power. Shale oil production would have to grow and survive on private investment, and we can’t have that. What good is the national government if it can’t throw taxpayer money into useless “green” projects? In fact, shale oil production would produce tax income for the government and relief for taxpayers. BIG income. How big? Let’s take a quick look.

Let’s posit that oil (wherever derived) is wholesaling out at about $100 per barrel. That would make the shale oil derived from all federally-owned land worth in the neighborhood of $60 trillion, using only today’s technology. That estimate is probably low because it uses only the potential profit from the Green River Formation alone as its base point. Now, let’s tax it all at 30% of gross sales. That would be about $18 trillion. Our current national debt is $15.6 trillion, which would leave about $2.4 trillion over for the Obamas’ next vacation.

The remaining $40 trillion would be left for the developers and their stockholders after they have paid out the costs of research, development, payroll and production. That’s just way too much money to be left in private hands and out of the government’s grasp. Besides, if we did choose to exploit shale oil, that profit would be a lot less, since the price per barrel of oil would drop precipitously once OPEC can no longer keep it artificially high. But at least our national need for fuel would be in the hands of dirty American capitalists and robber barons instead of foreign potentates. That’s worth something, isn’t it?

Note: If the terminology is a little confusing, think of it this way. Oil shale is the rock the elusive black gold is contained in. Shale oil is the product that comes out of that rock.

31 comments:

K said...

If Romney wanted to secure his place in American history, he'd castrate the EPA, subsidize getting an oil boom started and market it to China.This would kick start the US economy while flooding the market which would kick the Islamics funding terrorism in the habibis while keeping China on a short leash.

Patriot said...

LawHawk...I think the first thing that needs to happen is change the laws around new exploration and mining. Can't the enviros keep filing lawsuit after lawsuit, delaying and delaying and costing the private sector millions of dollars in legal costs? If you are a private sector energy firm, how much of your hard earned profit do you want to spend on fighting lawsuits that are filed by groups "funded" by tax dollars?

Can the law be changed to allow for the building and gathering of oil and gas while these lawsuits are being filed? Or does everything stop once a suit is filed? I'm thinking of the Sackett EPA lawsuit recently.

Our EPA (and enviro-legal action groups...but I repeat myself) should not be allowed to harm this country. We all NEED energy...it's not a luxury. And what makes this, and any country great and prosperous, is the ability to have cheap, plentiful energy for economic growth across the socio-economic spectrum.

Agree with K.....make the EPA a small gov't funded dept charged with identifying gross environmental abuses, and that's it.

StanH said...

Okay somebody’s gotta do it. I believe this is all part of a grand conspiracy, we don’t produce our own energy because it wouldn’t be fair. We send trillions to backwater shitholes to subsidize, what our high-minded twits would classify as bourgeoning cultures, or spreading the wealth, if you will. For me, I find it impossible to reconcile the blatant idiocy, of not becoming completely energy independent, with our abundant oil, coal, shale, natural gas, nuclear. Perhaps the wizards of smart are preserving our natural resources, for when the rest of the world is depleted? I doubt it however, this contains some logic. That being said, this is a conundrum.

Eliminate the EPA!

TJ said...

Only $2.4 trillion for their next vacation? That's a little low don't you think?

I agree as well, the EPA needs to be eliminated, the sooner the better. This is just lunacy.

tryanmax said...

EPA: Ending Prosperity in America

You know how it goes: "even if we started drilling today, we wouldn't see any benefit for ten years." The left has been using that argument for at least four times as long.

As for the idea of paying down the debt with oil revenues, I'm sure the left can come up with some ridiculous metaphor against it. Here are some suggestions:

"Drilling for profit is like screwing for peace."

"You can't hug you children with petroleum arms."

"The world needs oil like an environmentalist needs a lobotomy."


Wait a minute. That last one was approaching sense. See, I can't keep up thinking like a leftist for long. They never cease to amaze.

LawHawkRFD said...

K: The EPA must be ended or severely limited in its power to regulate. I'm hoping Romney understands that and will act on it. We sure as hell won't get anything out of a second Obama administration except more obstructionism.

LawHawkRFD said...

Patriot: The country is lawsuit-happy, and has been for decades. Too many lawyers, too few legitimate causes. Congress is going to have to produce all kinds of tort reform as well as limiting actions against the federal government (sovereign immunity) severely. In the meantime, the new president could issue a few executive orders of his own, using emergency powers to get past the Gordian knot of federal regulations. It isn't just conservatives who have recognized that our dependence on foreign oil is a national security risk.

LawHawkRFD said...

Stan: I'm no conspiracy theorist either, but when all the ecoweenies are on the same page, it comes off as a conspiracy even if it means we're giving them too much credit for organizational skills.

Your theory works quite well, and dovetails with my earlier article on LOST.

T-Rav said...

If Romney opens up the oil shale fields (and ANWR, and the offshore areas) immediately after taking office, I will love him forever. Not only would oil prices probably crash very rapidly, the Middle East despots would lose a ton of leverage over us. It baffles me that this hasn't already been done--even Obama ought to have more political sense than this.

LawHawkRFD said...

TJ: I know it's difficult to ask the president of the universe to travel on the cheap, but we all have to make sacrifices. LOL

The EPA is bad enough, but remember that it was Obama's State Department that actually stopped the Keystone XL Pipeline.

LawHawkRFD said...

tryanmax: I remember when Bill Clinton most recently used that "ten year" trope. It was approximately ten years after the first time he said it. And yet, zero sense of irony when he said it the second time.

Your third slogan indicates that you are suffering from Severe Practicality Disorder.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: Well, as I noted above, Romney's agenda for his first day in office puts the Keystone XL Pipeline in the number one position. But that is a good start only. It's still Canadian oil, and these immense reserves of our own are the ones we should ultimately be exploiting.

Obama simply doesn't care at all about American interests. He's a one-worlder, and doesn't see Jihadistan as an enemy.

LawHawkRFD said...

NOTE: I have a couple of appointments in Bakersfield today, and will be leaving in about an hour. Please feel free to continue commenting, and I'll respond just as soon as I return later this afternoon.

BevfromNYC said...

"...remember that it was Obama's State Department that actually stopped the Keystone XL Pipeline."

No, LawHawk, it was the EEEEVILE Republicans who forced Obama to say "No" before he was going to say "No", by making his decision part of the "spending less by spending more" budget bill or some such bill anyway. Never, never, never forget that it's the Republicans' fault (or Bush's).

We have our own "fracking" fight going on in NY. The Governor wants to approve it because all of the reports say it's safe and our Upstate brethren desparatly need the jobs. But the NYC ecoweenies don't care about jobs in Upstate NY because they do not live at the center of the universe like we do. Pennsylvania is bringing in tax revenue hand over fist, but we can't...

AndrewPrice said...

I suspect this will be one of the first things Republicans do after the election.

tryanmax said...

LawHawk, it may be the practicality disorder, but this just occurred to me: If "the future is now" and "history is what you make it" then we must be traveling backwards in time.

T-Rav said...

rla, don't crush my dreams!!! You and your--your stupid "experience" and your "facts"....

Tennessee Jed said...

there is no better argument for kicking the Dem.'s out of power than this. I am not enough of a science type to effectively argue global warming. I do know that advocates have been found time and again to have over-stated the case and alter their findings. While that, by itself, doesn't mean everything else they claim must be wholly false, it certainly taints their credibility in a major way and makes them out to be blatantly political.

Their biggest problem, in the end, turns out to be the "urgency" issue. It permits enviro-weenie types to argue we don't have time to transition to a supposedly friendlier energy source in a way which would not be equally catastrophic to our economy. Still, they haven't even proved that global warming has been even somewhat impacted by man thus far, let alone predominantly impacted by us.

Anonymous said...

Getting rid of the EPA is paramount. We can't hope to achieve anything with these enviro-terrorists doing their level best to shut down this country.

I have been for shutting the EPA down ever since they outlawed freon for spurious reasons. And it was a Republican idiot president[Bush SR] who allowed it! Shut it down!

Joel

obiwan2009 said...

Canadian oil is still more suitable for our interest in some ways than Middle Eastern Oil, and an effective, safe pipeline needs labor, not to mention educated labor, particularly in engineering, geology, and expertise in cutting edge geographic software. Sure, oil isn't perfect, but the truth is, nothing is free of charge to the environment, everything has a cost. Properly supervised energy is efficient, and let's face the fact that carbon is the golden element right now, plastics, computers, steel, polymers, and so much more are all built on carbon in some way. Carbon should be considered an asset, or a commodity, not a vice.

T-Rav said...

Joel, the fact that it was a Republican who introduced the EPA is perhaps the simplest possible explanation for why the Tea Party was necessary. That just sums it all up.

rlaWTX said...

I know I commented because T-Rav responded... Blogger must have been hungry!

T-Rav, I'll try to go easy on the facts for you - I don't want to endanger the kittens.

Koshcat said...

"Fracking" is Hydraulic Fracturing which uses sand and water to force gas or oil out of the ground. It occurs thousands of feet below the drinking water table. There has been a big fight here in Erie about it, but the moratorium against it is probably going to be lifted soon. Why? Because the city counsel has actually investigating it and the oil and gas industry has science behind them. The opposition literally is running around yelling "think about the children! THE CHILDREN!"

All the natural gas in the US is collected by fracking so ending it entirely would be really interesting (and probably really short). There is one problem with all this oil reserves being found here and in North Dakota region...it may flood the market with product forcing the price down, which could possibly make it less economically attractive to extract. It may also make countries such as Iran, whose current extraction system is stuck with 1950s technology, economically collapse.

I can live with both those "problems".

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: I have to work on my Democrat twisted logic. You are absolutely correct, it was the evil Republicans who screwed up the pipeline.

We don't have the fracking dichotomy here. We have the tracking dichotomy. LA wants high speed rail to SF. SF wants high speed rail to LA. So where do they start tearing up the ecology? Bakersfield. NOBODY in the Central Valley wants that bullet train, but we're the first to get stuck with it since LA and SF outweigh the Valley in Sacramento (just like the Delta smelt).

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: I'm pretty sure you're right about that. This is something we need to do, in The One's jargon, "right away."

LawHawkRFD said...

tryanmax: That's just too deep for my unphilosophical mind. LOL

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: And that's the thing. We're supposed to destroy our economy and way of life for a hare-brained theory from pseudo-scientists whose livelihood depends on finding and combating alleged global warming. It is possible that the earth is (or at least recently was) warming, but there's no proof man's activities are causing it or even having a significant measurable effect on it (how to explain Mars going through the same cycles?).

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel (Anon): It's one of those ideas that started out right, did some good, then took on a monstrous life of its own--like most bureaucracies that don't have "drop dead" dates. As you point out, we can't blame just the Democrats for these idiotic agencies. Bush the Elder signed the Americans with Disabilities Act, and we've been paying the price ever since. They never seem to think there might be serious unintended consequences, they don't prepare for them, and they create agencies which end up existing in perpetuity against all need or logic.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav and rlaWTX: Some of us missed the disappearing comment. Let us in on your discussion, por favor.

Bev: Yes, Blogger the Black Hole has a healthy appetite these days.

LawHawkRFD said...

Koshcat: I'm sure you've noticed the ecoweenies are out in force to stop fracking for natural gas. They can't find too much wrong with natural gas itself, so they have to go after the means of producing it. If they don't, America might not have to beg for help from dictators, Islamists, and other foreign scum.

Individualist said...

Lawhawk

What about microbes. How many microbes live only in oil shale. What happens to these microbes if we take away their environment. Why! They might mutate into giant black oozing blobs and swallow whole towns in colorado whole. I saw it on a TV movie so it must be a real possibility.

We have to stop oil shale to stop the giant mutant microbe blobs. Help! Help!

I suspect the above counts for conversations around the water cooler at the EPA.

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