The Case For Drilling In ANWR

Made by Krauthammer:

We import two-thirds of our oil, sending hundreds of billions of dollars to the likes of Russia, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. And yet we voluntarily prohibit ourselves from even exploring huge domestic reserves of petroleum and natural gas.

At a time when U.S. crude oil production has fallen 40 percent in the last 25 years, 75 billion barrels of oil have been declared off-limits, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That would be enough to replace every barrel of non-North American imports (oil trade with Canada and Mexico is a net economic and national security plus) for 22 years.

That’s nearly a quarter-century of energy independence. The situation is absurd. To which John McCain is responding with a partial fix: Lift the federal ban on Outer Continental Shelf drilling, where a fifth of the off-limits stuff lies.

Technological conditions have changed as well. We now are able to drill with far more precision and environmental care than a quarter-century ago. We have thousands of rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, yet not even hurricanes Katrina and Rita resulted in spills of any significance.


The entire Arctic refuge is one-third the size of the United Kingdom (which includes Scotland and Wales). The drilling site would be one-seventh the size of Manhattan Island. The footprint is tiny. Moreover, forbidding drilling there does not prevent despoliation. It merely exports it. The crude oil we’re not getting from the Arctic we import instead from places like the Niger Delta, where millions live and where the resulting pollution and oil spillages poison the lives of many of the world’s most wretchedly poor.

The full article can be found here.

20 Responses to “The Case For Drilling In ANWR”

  • I always look at where people are coming from when I listen to different sides of an argument. Obviously, the environmental impact is very low from the perspective of somebody who speaks for those who seek to profit from this endeavor. The people on the environmental side, however, disagree. I’ll listen to the environmentalists on the environmental issues. 🙂

    I’m actually glad the price of oil has gone up. It’s probably the only way people will stop driving and get serious about the alternatives. Let it go higher!

  • At a time when U.S. crude oil production has fallen 40 percent in the last 25 years, 75 billion barrels of oil have been declared off-limits, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That would be enough to replace every barrel of non-North American imports (oil trade with Canada and Mexico is a net economic and national security plus) for 22 years.

    There are many reasons I stopped bothering with C.K. a long time ago. One of them, however, had to do with his penchant for ignoring some facts in favor of others. First, I don’t know where he gets the 75 bbl from. It’s certainly not from the U.S. EIA, which states in its report:

    In 1998, the USGS estimated that between 5.7 and 16.0 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil1 are in the coastal plain area of ANWR (also referred to as the 1002 Area), with a mean estimate of 10.4 billion barrels, of which 7.7 billion barrels falls within the Federal portion of the ANWR 1002 Area.

    Second, drilling for and extracting oil is not like turning on a water faucet. It’s not “drill today, oil tomorrow” and the EIA recognizes that in its report:

    The opening of the ANWR 1002 Area to oil and natural gas development is projected to increase domestic crude oil production starting in 2018. In the mean ANWR oil resource case, additional oil production resulting from the opening of ANWR reaches 780,000 barrels per day in 2027 and then declines to 710,000 barrels per day in 2030. In the low and high ANWR oil resource cases, additional oil production resulting from the opening of ANWR peaks in 2028 at 510,000 and 1.45 million barrels per day, respectively. Between 2018 and 2030, cumulative additional oil production is 2.6 billion barrels for the mean oil resource case, while the low and high resource cases project a cumulative additional oil production of 1.9 and 4.3 billion barrels, respectively.

    So, even on a “best case scenario,” you’re looking at adding 4.3 bbl of oil twenty-eight years down the road.

    Third, it won’t make much of a difference in terms of worldwide prices.

    Additional oil production resulting from the opening of ANWR would be only a small portion of total world oil production, and would likely be offset in part by somewhat lower production outside the United States. The opening of ANWR is projected to have its largest oil price reduction impacts as follows: a reduction in low-sulfur, light crude oil prices of $0.41 per barrel (2006 dollars) in 2026 for the low oil resource case, $0.75 per barrel in 2025 for the mean oil resource case, and $1.44 per barrel in 2027 for the high oil resource case, relative to the reference case [which is the 2008 Annual Estimate].

    H.P., C.K. is one of those guys you really need to take what he has to say with a grain of salt.

  • However, even with the information you cited, the case is still strong for drilling in ANWR.

    What do you think is more likely well into the future, accounting for inflation, that the price of a barrel of oil will reduce, stay the same, or increase? Unless you think the price of oil will significantly reduce, I cant see why drilling in ANWR would be a bad thing. Yes, the oil would not be available for many years, but when it is available, we will capture a significant amount of the profits (as evil as you think the US oil companies are, we can agree that better them reap profits than say Saudi Arabia or Venezuela, right?). It would also create a large amount of jobs.

    And, although it is true that the world market sets the prices, a predicted greater supply of oil would cause the price of oil futures markets to drop…thereby reducing the cost of current oil prices.

    The argument that “no oil will be available for many years” always seemed shortsighted to me. In many ways, its similar to some of the arguments against oil refineries, which left us with no oil refineries being built in more than 30 years…despite rapid rises in demand. In other words, the argument that “no oil will be available for many years” is an argument that we should have drilled in ANWR sooner…its not an argument that we shouldn’t drill there at all.

  • Can you tell me that there absolutly positivaly will never be a spill?
    I think not, there are many oil leases not being used and they want more?
    Most of the oil leases are in areas where there would be NO impact, not little impact like the oils execs say.
    so we have a choice between ruining a beautiful forrest( with unsitely rigs and giant oil lakes, and dead wildlife if something goes wrong.
    or drilling in existing leases out in the desert where nobody see’s the rigs and if theres and accident 3 lizards might die.

    yes the odds are small with todays technology but there is always human error.

  • OIl drilling is already going on in Alaska…safely and profitably – ANWR simply expands that.

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