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Out of oil in shallow water?

June 30, 2010 - Ron Deuter
My colleague Jim Anderson recently posted a blog titled “Deepwater Deceptions” in which he suggests that the reason oil companies are drilling in deep water is because shallow water doesn’t hold as much oil.

He contends that former New Jersey Superior Court judge and current Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano is misleading or even lying when he said the government directed BP to drill at 5,000 feet because “that’s where our environmentalist folks think you should dig.”

Andrerson continues by saying, “Oil companies are drilling in deep waters because that’s where the oil is.”

I’m not disagreeing with his contention that current shallow water drill sites are becoming depleted - in the areas currently open to drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

But what about the reserves of domestic oil located on land and in shallow water that would be much easier and cheaper to extract than the deepwater areas, but have been off limits to the oil companies through federal legislation?

What about our country’s west coastline along Pacific Ocean? It’s been off-limits to new drilling for three decades. There are locations along Florida’s coast and up the east coast protected from drilling as well.

By some accounts, the United States has kept 85 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf off-limits for exploration for a generation.

And on land? The biggest untapped source is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, millions upon millions of acres along Alaska's North Slope. There’s even an already built pipeline to the lower 48 nearby. Environmentalists haven’t had anything to do with this ban?

Sorry Jim, in this case, I have to agree with the judge.


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