Skip to comments.Arctic oil drilling: Beyond the myths
Posted on 02/28/2002 12:54:45 AM PST by kattracks
The energy bill coming up in the Senate this week offers the chance for at least one major improvement in energy policy, the exploration for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
The issue has prompted environmentalists to generate too many scare stories. The beauty of the refuge and the welfare of the wildlife using it would be no more threatened by oil exploration and production than they are in the two dozen other wildlife refuges where oil and gas have long been produced.
The importance of the refuge is not that its oil will replace imports - there simply isn't enough there. The importance is the influence on the world price that such a large field (some estimates say 16 billion barrels, rivaling the giant Prudhoe Bay field nearby) would have. There is only one world market for crude oil, and the last barrel produced sets the price for all of them. In other words, it's an essential insurance that makes price increases caused by OPEC's production shenanigans (the real oil threat to the U.S. economy) far less likely.
Proponents of drilling will offer an amendment along the lines of what the House approved in the bill it passed last year. Sen. John Kerry has promised a filibuster against it. With the aim of winning votes to defeat Kerry, the Bush administration may propose a smaller exploration area than what is in the House bill (500,000 acres vs. 1.5 million; the entire refuge is 19.6 million acres, almost the size of Maine).
This is a good example of yielding on a non-essential in the service of the larger point, and gives the drillers a chance to bring out an important fact: Modern production methods have less impact on the environment than ever. Slant drilling techniques can reach huge underground areas from one point. If there is oil there (you never know unless you look) all the needed production platforms would occupy an area smaller than Logan Airport.
Yes, but this area does not have to be continuous. Little bit here, little bit there - who knows how many platforms could be set up.
The area is desolate yes, but many animals still it their home. The polar bear breeding and birthing areas directly overlap the areas in which exploration and or drilling is to take place. To say that we will not disturb wildlife is to be pretty dense.
With that said, I'm not particularly against drilling ANWR. I just hope we do it with as minimal disruption as possible and I also hope we do it for the right reasons. If we don't have to muck things up, then we shouldn't.
I don't know what kind of maps YOU'RE using, but I've seen the section of ANWR where the drilling would take place. It is 100% devoid of any - ANY - type of life-sustaining steps in the food chain. It is flat, without feature, tree, rill, or trickling brook. There are no fish nor fowl, and the landscape is so unendingly planar it's where Stanley tools calibrates their carpentry levels. That's during the 9 and a half months of Arctic Winter - the only time we'll be up there. Equipment will be moved over roads of ice that will melt in spring. All our activity will cease at that time (annually) and the only readily-apparent evidence that we've ever been there will be wellheads. When a pipeline is developed, you'll likely see the same sort of INCREASE in wildlife as the Alaskan pipeline has experienced - caribou romping on the pipe, because it keeps them warm and increases their fertility.
Fortunately, PICTURES of this section of ANWR are available VERY cheaply. About $6 per 500-photo package. Just go to Office Maxx and buy a ream of Xerox copy paper. That's 500 sheets which precisely depict the part of ANWR we're talking about.
You might notice the nights are a trifle long in the winter.
If you are looking for a pleasant retirement spot, don't move there.
The petro in the pipeline is warmed to allow it to move in the winter. Animals gather next to it to keep from freezing to death.
I am behind any American initiative that will help get the Middle Eastern oil monkey off our back.
Even further, it mentioned that the caribou herd had over tripled near the pipeline!
- ANWR total area: 19,600,000 acres
- ANWR designated wilderness part: 8,000,000 acres
- ANWR coastal plain (not part of wilderness area) designated long ago by Congress for oil exploration study: 1,500,000 acres
- Coastal plain area needed for oil extraction: 2,000 acres (0.01% of the total ANWR area)
In 1998 the USGS did a study that concluded that there are between 5.7 billion to 16 Billion barrels of recoverable Oil in the "1002" Area of ANWR. That is a LOT of oil!
and it doesnt even take into consideration the nearly 200 TRILLION cubic feet of natural gas there (over 150 years supply at the current rate of use in the U.S.)
A little perspective on the size of ANWR development:
An exploration rig on the tundra and the absence of any wildlife in this region
Beautiful Spring day in this coastal plain
spring summer winter
Only 2,000 acres out of 19.5 MILLION are even under consideration for drilling. And those 19.5 million acres are but a FRACTION of the total land mass of Alaska. Also, contrary to dire predictions of the devastating impact on wildlife that would occur when we ran the pipeline in Prudhoe bay, the caribou herd there have actually grown to record numbers.
SITE MAP (background / technology)http://www.anwr.org/sitemap.htm>FROM http://www.anwr.org/topten.htm
TOP 10 REASONS TO SUPPORT DEVELOPMENT IN ANWR1. Only 8% of ANWR Would Be Considered for Exploration Only the 1.5 million acre or 8% on the northern coast of ANWR is being considered for development. The remaining 17.5 million acres or 92% of ANWR will remain permanently closed to any kind of development. If oil is discovered, less than 2000 acres of the over 1.5 million acres of the Coastal Plain would be affected.
2. Revenues to the State and Federal Treasury Federal revenues would be enhanced by billions of dollars from bonus bids, lease rentals, royalties and taxes. Estimates in 1995 on bonus bids alone were $2.6 billion.
3. Jobs To Be Created Between 250,000 and 735,000 jobs are estimated to be created by development of the Coastal Plain.
4. Economic Impact Between 1980 and 1994, North Slope oil field development and production activity contributed over $50 billion to the nations economy, directly impacting each state in the union.
5. America's Best Chance for a Major Discovery The Coastal Plain of ANWR is America's best possibility for the discovery of another giant "Prudhoe Bay-sized" oil and gas discovery in North America. U.S. Department of Interior estimates range from 9 to 16 billion barrels of recoverable oil.
6. North Slope Production in Decline The North Slope oil fields currently provide the U.S. with nearly 25% of it's domestic production and since 1988 this production has been on the decline. Peak production was reached in 1980 of two million barrels a day, but has been declining to a current level of 1.4 million barrels a day.
7. Imported Oil too Costly The U.S. imports over 55% of the nation's needed petroleum. These oil imports cost more than $55.1 billion a year (this figure does not include the military costs of protecting that imported supply). These figures are rising and could exceed 65% by the year 2005.
8. No Negative Impact on Animals Oil and gas development and wildlife are successfully coexisting in Alaska's arctic. For example, the Central Arctic Caribou Herd (CACH) at Prudhoe Bay has grown from 3,000 to as high as 23,400 during the last 20 years of operation. In 1995, the Central Arctic Caribou Herd size was estimated to be 18,100 animals.
9. Arctic Technology Advanced technology has greatly reduced the 'footprint" of arctic oil development. If Prudhoe Bay were built today, the footprint would be 1,526 acres, 64% smaller.
10. Alaskans Support More than 75% of Alaskans favor exploration and production in ANWR. The Inupiat Eskimos who live in and near ANWR support onshore oil development on the Coastal Plain.
RELATED ARTICLESBush Renews Campaign For Arctic Oil
Source: AP; Puublished: February 25, 2002;
Fresh from Asia ~ Bush bonks Daschle head with ANWR club
Source: Reuters / Whitehouse.gov; Published: February 23, 2002
Inupiat Views Ignored in ANWR Debate
Source: ANWR; Anchorage Times Editorial; Author: Tara MacLean Sweeney
INUPIAT LEADER ASKS SENATORS TO . . .Visit ANWR
Source: Anchorage Daily News; Published: February 17, 2002
Voice of the Times
ANWR Showdown -- Liberal Caught Playing Loose With The Facts [My Title]
Source: The Fargo Forum and the Grand Forks Herald; Published: February 14, 2002;
Author: Chris Beachy; John Bluemle
Kerry and Lieberman ignore invitation from native villagers in ANWRbr> Source: USNewswire; Published February 13, 2002;
Author:| Village of Kaktovik Alaska
Source: City of Kaktovik, Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), Web Page; author: City of Kaktovik
Listening to Alaska
Source: National Driller; Published: September 27, 2001
ANWR and Oil
Source: Town Hall.com; Published April 11, 2001
Bush Is Right: Opening ANWR To Oil Exploration Would Help Consumers Without Hurting Environment
Source: The National Center for Public Policy Research; Published: January 23, 2001
Author: John Carlisle
Time To Permit Oil Drilling In the Arctic Refuge
Source: Heritage Foundation; Published: October 17, 1995
Author: John Shanahan
Seems other species have flourished as well
Even been to Prudhoe? I have. If somebody on a work crew even tosses a gum wrapper his buds get on his case.