MYTH: We can bring down gas prices by expanding drilling off our coasts.
FACT: According to President Bushs own Energy Information Administration, drilling in currently protected offshore areas would not significantly affect domestic oil production until 2030 and the impact on prices would be insignificant.
This quote is taken directly from a one-page summary of the Bush Administrations Energy Information Agency's Annual Energy Outlook (AEO2007):
"The projections in the OCS access case indicate that access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030. Leasing would begin no sooner than 2012, and production would not be expected to start before 2017. Total domestic production of crude oil from 2012 through 2030 in the OCS access case is projected to be 1.6 percent higher than in the reference case, and 3 percent higher in 2030 alone, at 5.6 million barrels per day. For the lower 48 OCS, annual crude oil production in 2030 is projected to be 7 percent higher2.4 million barrels per day in the OCS access case compared with 2.2 million barrels per day in the reference case (Figure 20). Because oil prices are determined on the international market, however, any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant.
"Although a significant volume of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and natural gas resources is added in the OCS access case, conversion of those resources to production would require both time and money. In addition, the average field size in the Pacific and Atlantic regions tends to be smaller than the average in the Gulf of Mexico, implying that a significant portion of the additional resource would not be economically attractive to develop at the reference case prices."
Two useful EIA graphs illustrate how little offshore drilling will affect overall oil production.
Millions of Barrels Per Day of Oil, With and Without Expanded U.S. Offshore Drilling
Trillions of Cubic Feet of Natural Gas, With and Without Expanded Offshore U.S. Drilling
"Drilling in these protected areas is not the solution to high oil prices, we need to reduce our dependence on oil. Instead of opening every last corner of our country to oil drilling, we need to produce cars that go further on a gallon of gasoline, invest in mass transit and other alternatives to driving, and develop clean renewable energy, said Anna Aurilio, Environment Americas Washington DC Director, in a June 18th statement.
For our fact sheet quoting drilling supporters Senator McCain, President Bush, the former Republican National Committee chairman, and the American Enterprise Institute among others admitting that offshore drilling or increased drilling will not provide consumers with relief at the gas pump click here.
- Jennifer Mueller
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