September 30, 2008

"If We Drill, We'll Despoil the Coastline."

Preach it!

Today I heard a CBS radio news report about the ban expiring today and felt obligated to set the record straight for benefit of folks in the anti-drilling crowd.

During the CBS radio news report [to which, unfortunately, I’ve been unable to find a link] the reporter spoke with a woman described as a resident of Santa Barbara, Calif., who shared her disdain for the prospect of drilling taking place off the California coast.

Recalling personal memories of a 1969 oil spill off the Santa Barbara coast, the lady in Santa Barbara cited the prospect of another environmental disaster as the primary reason behind her opposition to a resumption of offshore drilling. Secondarily, she cited the threat drilling poses to the pristine beauty of the California coast. Understandably, her concerns are based upon personal experience.

In my estimation, however, both of these arguments are non-starters today, especially when one considers the many ways offshore drilling during the past 40 years. I say, “They’re obsolete” and industry experts agree.

“Surprising to many, offshore oil and natural gas production actually puts less oil and gas into the environment than natural leaks, transportation and shipping,” said Ford Brett, president of OGCI PetroSkills, during a guest appearance on Energy Tomorrow Radio Aug. 28. His company is the world’s largest petroleum technology training organization that trains geologists and engineers on how to find and retrieve oil and natural gas from the ground.

The strong likelihood that most of the offshore drilling platforms will be placed, at a minimum, 12 to 18 miles from shore, renders the other aspect of the “pristine beauty” argument moot. Because of the curvature of the earth, people standing on the California coast — or, for that matter, any other coast — will not be able to see platforms that far out. Even people viewing the ocean from the upper floors of office building along the coast will have a hard time distinguishing the drilling platforms.

That it, in a nutshell; people assume that any new rigs or platforms will be built with technology/engineering/architecture from the 1960s, and will be just as close to shore, and just as likely to spill.

What they don't get is that there is more danger of oil spills from the tankers we use to ship oil than from state-of-the-art installations designed to extract them.

And the next time I hear someone say that this country only has 2-3% of the world's oil reserves (based on obsolete measurement techniques from the 1980s), I'm going to scream.

Posted by Attila Girl at September 30, 2008 08:35 PM | TrackBack

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