Obama Closes More Federal Land to Drilling

The Obama administration is calling for cutting the amount of federal lands open for oil shale and tars sands development in the Western states, a plan that industry officials say may force companies to look overseas for opportunities.

A new Bureau of Land Management plan calls for allowing 700,000 acres of land for development, reports Fox News. This is a drastic cut from the Bush administration, which had set aside 1.3 million acres, and the oil industry is outraged by the change.

“What they basically did was make it so that nobody is going to want to spend money going after oil shale on federal government lands,” said Dan Kish, Senior Vice President of Institute for Energy Research.

Oil shale drilling is different from the hydraulic fracking process being used in places like the Bakken shale region in North Dakota or the Niobrara in Colorado. Fracking breaks through lwyers of shale rock and pumps out oil.

But oil shale refers to the rock itself. When companies subject the rock to pressure or high temperatures, either by leaving it in place or removing it, oil develops.

Colorado Wildlife Federation Spokesman Todd Malmsbury said the process raises a great deal of concerns about the impact on the region’s water and land.

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Time To End The Myth Of Tax-Subsidized Big Oil

Let Energy Provide Our Economic Solution

Tax day has come and gone, leaving most Americans shaking their heads once again at all the time and effort involved in this annual rite of spring

Similarly, businesses of all stripes — not the least of which is the oil and gas industry — have their day of reckoning with the tax collector.

Contrary to the myth spread by detractors, there are no special subsidies for the industry, which supports more than 9 million jobs.

In fact, one overview from Forbes.com pegged the overall effective tax rates of the Big Three oil and gas firms at 41.5% to 48.3%, depending on the company.

These rates were the highest among the 25 top taxpaying companies (in terms of dollar amounts) that Forbes surveyed.

Others, ranging from the American Petroleum Institute to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, have also put the burden near or above 40%.

Furthermore, even though oil and gas firms report large profits measured in dollars, the margin they get to keep as a percentage of total receipts is much lower than many other industries due to the high cost of investment.

As statistics on Yahoo Finance indicate, the most profitable part of the oil and gas sector — drilling and exploration — stood at an 11.4% margin as of April 29.

More than three dozen other categories — such as brewers (15.2%), personal computers (20.7%) and periodical publishing (21.4%) — were ranked as more profitable.

Despite clear evidence that oil and gas companies are already paying their fair share, the industry remains a favorite whipping boy for politicians in Washington.

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We Can’t Drill Our Way Out!

 North Dakota Oil Boom Exposes Obama’s ‘Self-Serving Falsehood’

North Dakota is experiencing such a boom in revenues from oil production that voters actually considered a measure to abolish the state’s property taxes.

Although the measure was defeated in the June 12 vote, the fact that it was even considered points to the incredible economic opportunities enjoyed by North Dakota residents due to unfettered oil production.

“It turns out that, yes, we can drill our way out of our problems,” Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) observes in an editorial.

“If you can see a pattern here, you’re way ahead of President Obama. His argument is that we can’t drill our way out of high energy prices let alone out of debt and the need for higher taxes. But it’s about to be exposed once again as the self-serving falsehood it is.”

North Dakota in March pumped oil at the rate of 575,490 barrels per day, replacing California as the nation’s No. 3 oil-producing state behind Texas and Alaska. At its current rate of production growth, North Dakota will likely surpass Alaska sometime this year.

Continental Resources, which operates 10 percent of the drilling rigs in North Dakota, estimates there are more than 900 billion barrels of oil in place.

Only 27 billion to 45 billion barrels are currently recoverable using today’s technology, but that amount will grow as technology advances. So let’s meet halfway and say 36 billion barrels. That’s 4% of estimates.

A current extraction rates, that’s about 173 years.

Thanks to the energy boom, North Dakota has the nation’s lowest unemployment rate at just over 3 percent, and Williams County — at the center of the drilling boom — boasts the lowest jobless rate in the country at just 0.7 percent.

Oil revenues in the state generated some $840 million in fiscal 2011 and are expected to deliver more than $2 billion over the next two years. State per-capita income is $4,000 above the national average.

“The North Dakota oil boom has occurred on private and state lands, unfettered by federal edict that has placed out of reach much of the estimated 200-year supply of oil within our borders,” IBD stated, noting that 94 percent of federal onshore lands and 97 percent of federal offshore lands are off-limits to oil and gas drilling.

As the Insider Report disclosed earlier, the Green River Formation, a largely vacant area where Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming come together, contains about as much recoverable oil as all the rest of the world’s proven reserves combined.

But most of the oil is beneath federal land overseen by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, and the government has “locked up” development of the huge resource.

“Critics will say North Dakota is a small state and its success couldn’t be replicated nationwide,” IBD concludes. “Oh, yes it can.

“We can cut taxes, boost employment and jump-start economic growth if we tap into that 200-year supply of oil and back oil-extraction technology with as much enthusiasm as the Obama administration backs electric cars and high-speed rail.”

If experts claim to have calculated a 200 year supply, I contend it is likely a lot more.

Attribution: NewsMax

The Big Fat Oily Lie

Just today President Obama warned supporters that they would likely soon hear Republican calls of “drill, drill, drill” as election season heats up, and but warned that solely relying on new oil exploration would not solve America’s energy woes.

The President exclaimed to his uninformed supporters, “America uses more than 20 percent of the world’s oil. If we drilled every square inch of this country …. we would still have only 2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves.

“If you have got 2 and you need 20, there is a gap.”

Let’s put this myth to bed, once & for all. To be more accurate, I should say, let’s put this lie to bed. He is lying and he knows it. It’s that, or he is the most illinformed world leader on the planet. I’m sure it’s the former.

 

Scarce Oil? U.S. Has 60 Times More Than Obama Claims

By John Merline of Investors Business Daily [emphasis addded]

When he was running for the Oval Office four years ago amid $4-a-gallon gasoline prices, then-Sen. Barack Obama dismissed the idea of expanded oil production as a way to relieve the pain at the
pump.

“Even if you opened up every square inch of our land and our coasts to drilling,” he said. “America still has only 3% of the world’s oil reserves.” Which meant, he said, that the U.S. couldn’t affect global oil prices.

It’s the same rhetoric President Obama is using now, as gas prices hit $4 again, except now he puts the figure at 2%.

“With only 2% of the world’s oil reserves, we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices,” he said. “Not when we consume 20% of the world’s oil.”

The claim makes it appear as though the U.S. is an oil-barren nation, perpetually dependent on foreign oil and high prices unless we can cut our own use and develop alternative energy sources like algae.

But the figure Obama uses — proved oil reserves — vastly undercounts how much oil the U.S. actually contains. In fact, far from being oil-poor, the country is awash in vast quantities — enough to meet all the country’s oil needs for hundreds of years.

The U.S. has 22.3 billion barrels of proved reserves, a little less than 2% of the entire world’s proved reserves, according to the Energy Information Administration. But as the EIA explains, proved reserves “are a small subset of recoverable resources,” because they only count oil that companies are currently drilling for in existing fields.

When you look at the whole picture, it turns out that there are vast supplies of oil in the U.S., according to various government reports. Among them:

At least 86 billion barrels of oil in the Outer Continental Shelf yet to be discovered, according to the government’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

About 24 billion barrels in shale deposits in the lower 48 states, according to EIA.

Up to 2 billion barrels of oil in shale deposits in Alaska’s North Slope, says the U.S. Geological Survey.

Up to 12 billion barrels in ANWR, according to the USGS.

As much as 19 billion barrels in the Utah tar sands, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

Then, there’s the massive Green River Formation in Wyoming, which according to the USGS contains a stunning 1.4 trillion barrels of oil shale — a type of oil released from sedimentary rock after it’s heated.

A separate Rand Corp. study found that about 800 billion barrels of oil shale in Wyoming and neighboring states is “technically recoverable,” which means it could be extracted using existing technology. That’s more than triple the known reserves in Saudi Arabia.

All told, the U.S. has access to 400 billion barrels of crude that could be recovered using existing drilling technologies, according to a 2006 Energy Department report.

When you include oil shale, the U.S. has 1.4 trillion barrels of technically recoverable oil, according to the Institute for Energy Research, enough to meet all U.S. oil needs for about the next 200 years, without any imports.

And even this number could be low, since such estimates tend to go up over time.

Back in 1995, for example, the USGS figured there were 151 million barrels of oil in North Dakota’s Bakken formation. In 2008, it upped that estimate to 3 billion barrels, then to 4.3 billion barrels — a 25-fold increase. Now, some oil analysts say there could be as much as 20 billion barrels there.

And USGS in 2002 quadrupled its oil estimate in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve.

To be sure, energy companies couldn’t profitably recover all this oil — even at today’s prices — and what they could wouldn’t make it to market for years. But from the industry’s perspective, the real problem with domestic oil is that the government has roped off most of these supplies.

The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980, for example, put a huge swath of land off-limits to drilling. And in 1982, Congress blocked access to most of the oil in the Outer Continental Shelf. Much of the oil on federal lands is also off-limits.

Obama and others say the industry’s claim about lack of access isn’t true, since they aren’t even using many of the offshore leases they already have. The industry counters that this is misleading, since a company needs the lease before it can determine if any oil exists there — a potentially time-consuming process.

In any case, any attempt to get at these vast new oil supplies is sure to face fierce opposition from environmental groups worried about oil production’s direct impact on the environment, as well as global warming worries.

But given today’s prices, most of the public is willing to expand drilling offshore, in ANWR, and in shale oil reserves, according to the latest IBD/TIPP poll.

“This is not a geological problem — it’s a political problem,” said Dan Kish, senior vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research. “We’ve embargoed our own supplies.”