Why Drill, Baby, Drill Will Never be an Energy Solution and is NOT an Energy Policy
By Jennifer Lance
I’m sure at tonight’s presidential debate, we will hear more of John McCain’s energy policy. I’ve recently read some enlightening information in The Bush League of Nations: The Coalition of the Unwilling, the Bullied, and the Bribed by James A. Swanson that proves “Drill, baby, drill” is not an energy policy, and it will never make us energy independent. US oil production peaked in 1970 at more than 11 million barrels a day, ironically just three years before the oil crisis. Consider these statistics from Swanson’s book:
* By the end of 2005, US crude oil production had dropped to 4.86 million barrels per day, which is less than 45% of America’s peak production in 1970.
* By 2005, America was producing less oil than it did in 1950.
* The 1970 record oil production represented more than 40% of total world production, but it was still not enough to meet America’s appetite for oil-almost 15 million barrels per day in 1970.
* By the end of 2005, U.S. oil consumption had increased to about 21 million barrels per day, while U.S. production, as noted above, had dropped to 5 million barrels. American now has to import more than 75% of the oil it consumes.
* By way of comparison, at the time of the 1973 oil crisis, during which Americans endured closed gas stations and gas lines blocks long, the United States imported less than one-third of its oil.
* In 2004, there were only 1,200 rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the United States, a drop of almost three-quarters from the 1981 peak of 4,530 rigs. This drop occurred notwithstanding a huge increase in the price of oil and reflect the fact that almost all of America’s oil has already been discovered.
* The United States has lots of oil wells, more than 500,000, but they on average don’t produce much-slightly more than 10 barrels of oil a day each. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia has only 1,500 producing wells, but they average 5000 barrels per day (500 times the U.S. average).
Big Oil loves the GOP. Consider the fact that Chevron named an oil tanker after Condoleezza Rice, and that George W. Bush actually said in 2002 that “We need an energy bill that encourages consumption”, I have no faith in the GOP to make us energy independent. Swanson states we were energy independent in 1950; we will never be able to drill our way back to this level without drastically cutting consumption. I’m not sure it is even possible, since we have already reached peak oil production in this country three decades ago. Bush’s policies and wars have made us more dependent on foreign oil. McCain is delusional if he thinks we can drill our way out of this problem, it won’t even buy us enough time to develop alternative energy solutions.