End the War or Drill Offshore: Which Will Yeild More Oil?

So I was thinking about drilling today (kinda been lonely lately) and drilling offshore specifically.

I recently had a post that illustrated how much oil, in barrels per day (BPD), that we could expect to gain by drilling offshore.

Here’s the pic.

Dril, Baby, Drill....You'll have to do it harder than that.

Dril, Baby, Drill....You'll Have to Do It Harder Than That

 I didn’t look it up then, but I wanted to make absolutely sure that these numbers were correct before making this comparison.  I am very confident the above number is correct.   It comes from here.

For the lower 48 OCS, annual crude oil production in 2030 is projected to be 7 percent higher—2.4 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. 

 My point here isn’t that offshore drilling won’t affect prices (we already know it won’t impact them at all for at least 10 years, and then by a couple cents), but the point that in 22 years, what we can expect to see is maybe 200,000 BPD in extra oil production.  I haven’t seen estimates for the cost of extraction, which with oil prices tumbling with the rest of the world’s economy could severely hamper extraction attempts, but that’s the general figure outside of ther forces.   As the report states…

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.

Now the other part of the equation: How Much Oil Do the Wars In Iraq and Afghanistan consume?

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is the largest oil consuming government body in the US and in the world

“Military fuel consumption makes the Department of Defense the single largest consumer of petroleum in the U.S” [1]

“Military fuel consumption for aircraft, ships, ground vehicles and facilities makes the DoD the single largest consumer of petroleum in the U.S” [2]

According to the US Defense Energy Support Center Fact Book 2004, in Fiscal Year 2004, the US military fuel consumption increased to 144 million barrels. This is about 40 million barrels more than the average peacetime military usage.

By the way, 144 million barrels makes 395 000 barrels per day, almost as much as daily energy consumption of Greece. 

These are 2004 numbers, before the war in Iraq really got going, and the cost got calculated….

If you make the calculation for peacetime vs wartime, and remove the 40,000,000 extra barrals a year, we end up at “normal” military use of ….285,000 BPD.

A difference of 110,000 BPD with basic wartime consumption.

And that was in 2004.

In the May 2005 issue of the Atlantic Monthly article Robert Bryce says that “The U.S. military now uses about 1.7 million gallons of fuel a day in Iraq. … each of the 150,000 soldiers on the ground consumes roughly nine gallons of fuel a day. And that figure has been rising.” This mean in Iraq each day 40 000 b/d of oil is consumed by the US military.

Yes, something is wrong with that figure. Compare it with the one given by the Defense Logistics Agency spokeswoman Lana Hampton. Accroding to an American Forces Information Service News Article she said the U.S. military is using between 10 million and 11 million barrels of fuel each month to sustain operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. This makes 330 000 – 360 000 barrel per day.

So now we are looking at a calculated difference of somewhere between 110,000 BPD on way low-end and 360,000 BPD on the high end.

We look quickly at history again…

According to a Rand Corporation report “1.88 billion gallons of fuel were consumed within the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility during Operations Desert Shild and Desert Storm (ODS/S), between August 10, 1990 and May 31, 1991.” [5]. This makes 44.8 million barrels, or 150 000 barrels a day. Note that ODS/S lasted 295 days.

[sourced here with additional sources]

…and we see that the easy, quick, and successful war in Iraq used at least 150,000 BPD.

Given all these numbers, and both wars, and a surge, I think it is very easy and accurate to say that our wars are currently consuming more than 200,000 BPD IN ADDITION to the regular, defensive operation of military forces.

So which is the quicker way and more effective way to get more oil? 



I know of no wise people in history who ever recommended consumption as a cure to addiction.  I know of many who speak of restraint and humility as a reliable course of therapy.

The Simple Disconnect of the McCain / Palin Campaign

After it is all said and done (inshah allah) and Obama wins the Presidency, many people are going to wonder what went wrong with the McCain campaign.

There are lots and lots of things to point to, as I have done many, many times.  I think once central area of problems that will have been diagnosed was the campaign’s lurching from topic to topic and theme to theme and attack to attack.

They’ve had a very difficult time finding any traction.  IMHO, this boils down to one simple reason.

They are running against each other.

Sarah Palin is running against the “Good Old Boys”.  The Washington insiders and lobbyists who spend their entire lives in Washington.  The rich and the insulated.  Career politicians with deep D.C. family ties and a profound sense of entitlement.  People who live their whole lives on the public tab while things get worse.   People with historical ethical lapses and lots of powerful friends.  It would be harder to fine a better example of this than John McCain.

John McCain is running against that outsider whippersnapper wtih some questionable relationships.  That young and inexperienced, yet personally very charming Politician with a bright future and a relatively short, kinda cloudy, past.  Mccain’s entire argument for a year and a half was about experience and being ready to do the job on Day 1 and then he went and picked a laughable neophyte as a running mate.

This jarring contrast in Message is killing any other argument they want to make.  Much like Palin’s charge that Obama “voted against the Troops”, when McCain had done the same exact thing.   And McCain hammering away, again today, on the need to be ready to go on Day 1. 

This contrast and inability to communicate clearly (and the fact, IMHO, that what they are selling policy-wise, is crap) is why McCain and Palin have fallen so far behind that it would take an epic event (knock on wood) to really change things back.   The Undecided are deciding, and they are largely breaking for Obama.

As you watch MCain and Palin speak, see if you can imagine they are, in fact, attacking each other.  See how it holds.

For example, can you tell me who said this today?

“We cannot spend the next four years as we have spent much of the last eight: waiting for our luck to change. The hour is late; our troubles are getting worse; our enemies watch. We have to act immediately. We have to change direction now. We have to fight,” [she] said at a rally in Virginia…

“The fact is that [Sarah Palin] was not truthful in telling the American people about [her] relationship. Very frankly, Dana, I don’t give a damn about an old unrepentant [secessionist], but what I do care is telling the truth to the American people,” the Arizona senator said in response to a question from CNN correspondent Dana Bash.

A massive crowd of at least 20,000 spread across the parking lot of Richmond International Raceway, and scores of people on the outer periphery more than 100 yards from the stage could not hear.

“Louder! Louder!” they began chanting, and the cry spread across the crowd to Palin’s left. Some pointed skyward, urging that the volume be increased.

Palin stopped her remarks briefly and looked toward the commotion.

“I hope those protesters have the courage and honor to give veterans thanks for their right to protest,” she said.

Some in the crowd tried to shout toward her what was really being said, but she couldn’t hear them.

O.k. you got me.  That last one was Sarah being Sarah.  Trying to shame into silence people who were trying to understand what the heck it was that was coming out of her mouth. 

Now they know better for trying.