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Tapping Shale Reserves, US Would Become World's Top Oil Producer By 2017

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the where's-al-gore-now dept.

Power 467

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that according to a report by the International Energy Agency, the U.S. will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's leading oil producer by about 2017, will become a net oil exporter by 2030, and will become 'all but self-sufficient' in meeting its energy needs in about two decades — a 'dramatic reversal of the trend' in most developed countries. 'The foundations of the global energy systems are shifting,' says Fatih Birol, chief economist at the Paris-based organization, which produces the annual World Energy Outlook. There are several components of the sudden shift in the world's energy supply, but the prime mover is a resurgence of oil and gas production in the United States, particularly the unlocking of new reserves of oil and gas found in shale rock. The widespread adoption of techniques like hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling has made those reserves much more accessible, and in the case of natural gas, resulted in a vast glut that has sent prices plunging. The agency's report was generally 'good news' for the United States says Michael A. Levi, senior fellow for energy and environment at the Council on Foreign Relations, because it highlights the nation's new sources of energy but Levi cautions that being self-sufficient does not mean that the country will be insulated from seesawing energy prices, since those oil prices are set by global markets. The message is more sobering for the planet, in terms of climate change. Although natural gas is frequently promoted for being relatively low in carbon emissions compared to oil or coal, the new global energy market could make it harder to prevent dangerous levels of warming (PDF). 'The report confirms that, given the current policies, we will blow past every safe target for emissions,' says Levi. 'This should put to rest the idea that the boom in natural gas will save us from that.'" The folks over at The Oil Drum aren't quite so optimistic: shale reserves may have an abysmal EROI. And, of course, Global Warming is a liberal myth.

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It's a sad sign of the times (5, Insightful)

aurispector (530273) | about 2 years ago | (#41966263)

When the partisan political aspect of an issue is already included in the original post.

Bettter to shut down discussions about AGW before they start! It's settled science!

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966275)

When the partisan political aspect of an issue is already included in the original post.

Bettter to shut down discussions about AGW before they start! It's settled science!

Strange, you never show up to sarcastically discredit quantum mechanics with a mere two sentences even though we don't have everything figured out in that field either ...

Believe it or not this would drastically increase emissions in the United States. Go visit an oil refinery in Texas sometime ... now imagine those throughout the Midwest.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (5, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#41966343)

The problem lies in the fact the issue isn't black and white. Yes fossil fuels cause Global Warming. However we can't get get off the stuff, as Fossil Fuels are a relatively concentrated, and stable form of energy, that can moved and transported and held in long term reserves.
We cannot go off fossil fuels. Alternative energy isn't there yet. In the mean time we need to use it, and if we can get it from politically safer areas all the better. If we don't have to buy oil from the Middle east, we can set back and watch them kill themselves over their petty differences without much intervention from us.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966399)

If we don't have to buy oil from the Middle east, we can set back and watch them kill themselves over their petty differences without much intervention from us.

That's really great rhetoric. Did you know that the United States gets 1/3 of its crude oil imports from Canada? That's more than it gets from any other nation -- Saudi Arabia included. Are they killing themselves in Canada over petty differences? By the way, could you tell me what's so unstable about Saudi Arabia? George W. Bush seemed to think they were okay.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966849)

two words:

Is Lam

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (1, Interesting)

IceNinjaNine (2026774) | about 2 years ago | (#41966909)

That's really great rhetoric. Did you know that the United States gets 1/3 of its crude oil imports from Canada?

Your point? We also get quite a bit from Mexico. I have to ask: are you Canadian? It always seems that the Canucks bring up this factoid to pump their ego. Yes, I already knew that we get a shit ton of oil (and resources) from Canada.

That's more than it gets from any other nation -- Saudi Arabia included. Are they killing themselves in Canada over petty differences?

Honest question, do the Canadians give us "special pricing", or do they sell at market rates? A disruption in the Middle East still affects the U.S.

By the way, could you tell me what's so unstable about Saudi Arabia? George W. Bush seemed to think they were okay.

Are you serious [csis.org] ?

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (0, Troll)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41966427)

If we don't have to buy oil from the Middle east, we can set back and watch them kill themselves over their petty differences without much intervention from us.

Can we include Israel in that bargain? And neither we or Mexico grow enough poppies to leave Afghanistan/Pakistan yet.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41966595)

If we don't have to buy oil from the Middle east, we can set back and watch them kill themselves over their petty differences without much intervention from us.

Can we include Israel in that bargain? And neither we or Mexico grow enough poppies to leave Afghanistan/Pakistan yet.

As entanglements in ghastly foreign sandboxes go, opiates are pretty trivial compared to oil. With just a few minor regulatory tweaks, we could have the heroin users of the first world Doing Their Patriotic Duty by switching to synthetics like Fentanyl and away from foreign terrorist-poppies!

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (3, Informative)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41966717)

Opium wars go father back than petrol wars. The nature of addiction being what it is makes it a very important product to control.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (2, Informative)

Psyborgue (699890) | about 2 years ago | (#41966607)

Can we include Canada in that bargain, you antisemitic snow-back fuck. Israel did not ask to be attacked by their neighbors in 48, 68, and 73. The Jews did not ask to be labeled "Apes" and "Pigs" in the 7th century Mein Kampf read every day by Muslims worldwide. Just because two people are fighting and have been at it for a long time does not mean both sides are guilty. Sometimes there is an aggressor and a victim.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (-1, Troll)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41966673)

Sometimes there is an aggressor and a victim.

:-) Yes... there is. Maybe, someday, you'll be able to sort out which is which.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41966745)

And sometimes they switch aggressor and victim role back and forth.

Like when they want to bomb Iran for fun, or just dole out a little collective punishment to the Palestinians. As far as I am concerned they are all as guilty as each other.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966445)

The main thing that holds back alternative energy sources is their relative price. The potential is there, but it would require vast investments of money which won't happen until that investment is profitable. However, if the cost of fossil fuels included the cost AGW causes then the equation would be different. If fossil fuel sources were taxed to pay for increasingly frequent events like Sandy then alternative fuels would have a chance sooner.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41966559)

vast investments of money which won't happen.

It's a tiny fraction of the "war on..." and bailout money. And it would solve the energy problem. Why aren't people falling over each other to do it? Because the oil barons who run the country don't want it, that's why.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41966469)

We cannot go off fossil fuels. Alternative energy isn't there yet

Maybe not, but we do have the technology and the resources to replace 100% of our transportation fuel use with biofuels, and a significant portion of our other use with wind and solar, and we're not even doing what we can do. Our commitment to wind and solar is negligible compared to our capability, and we actively fight against biofuels.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966939)

How are "biofuels" superior to gasoline? Don't they both add carbon compounds into the atmosphere? For that matter, given vast new supplies of natural gas, why not use LNG to power cars and trucks? It burns much more cleanly than does oil-derived fuel.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41966973)

How are "biofuels" superior to gasoline? Don't they both add carbon compounds into the atmosphere?

Not net.

For that matter, given vast new supplies of natural gas, why not use LNG to power cars and trucks? It burns much more cleanly than does oil-derived fuel.

We don't have vast new supplies of natural gas, we only get that by fracking, as discussed above. We could be making biogas out of our shit, but we don't do that either. You are either an idiot or a troll. Bye!

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (4, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41966537)

The problem lies in the fact the issue isn't black and white. Yes fossil fuels cause Global Warming. However we can't get get off the stuff

Can't? Or don't want to?

Why can't electricity be produced without fossil fuels? A fraction of the current investment in warmongering could build some of those next-gen nuclear power stations that have been discussed here many times. The ones with almost zero safety/waste issues who's theory has been known for decades but none have been built...what's going on there?

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (1)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | about 2 years ago | (#41966881)

Building things that take 20 years to until they're operational and properly permitted is financially dangerous

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | about 2 years ago | (#41966615)

That appears to be a popular sentiment, but I fear what will become of extremely wealthy Islamic nations (because we've been buying so much oil from them) when this hand is no longer feeding them. They won't be killing just each I other, and they have lots of money to effectively kill anyone they like.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966645)

If you work or own major shares of any company involved with oil exraction/processing, its understandable why you want to wring every last drop until its all gone. Too profitable to stop. Big oil needs to be the next tobacco - demonized for its real cost. While tobacco kills individuals primarily via cancer, burning fossil fuels has been driving mass extinctions globally, along with habitat destruction/disruption. Plastics & other toxic garbage debris has been screwing up the food chain in the oceans, and big oil sonar cannons and other noise pollution damaging marine life's low frequency communication/navigation ie beached dolphins & whales. The OA is a wishlist for big oil. Alternative green energy sources including nuclear need to ramp it up now. Dont be the generation that kills everything due to one sector's unmitigated, unchallenged greed.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966943)

You're not wrong in the overall gist of what you're saying, but I feel I have to correct this:

While tobacco kills individuals primarily via cancer...

Actually, a smoker's chance of dying of cancer is still pretty slim - about 5 times that of a non smoker. They've got a good 50% chance of dying of some kind of smoking related illness though (many of them equally as unpleasant as cancer); be it cancer, heart disease, stroke, obstructed lungs, or so on.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (3, Interesting)

Ambassador Kosh (18352) | about 2 years ago | (#41966707)

And who is going to pay the costs of not getting off the stuff? All this environmental damage is not free and it has a real cost in terms of our health (and the money it takes to fix it) and also in terms of damage done directly to us in the form of stronger storms.

Saying that fossil fuels are cheaper is just a way of externalizing the costs. It is letting large businesses make a fortune while our tax dollars go to clean up the damage and the money spent to repair the damage dwarfs the money made from the fuels.

Also we can eliminate fossil fuels for most uses already right now and we are doing very little of that. About half the energy used in a house is just wasted due to poor insulation. No matter what kind of fuel source you have if you throw away a significant fraction of your power you are going to have problems.

We have also developed better battery technology, building technology for cars to make them lighter and stronger and companies like BP keep buying up the patents on them like on lithium polymer batteries.

Sure we can't go 100% off fossil fuels but there is no 100% solution. We can still use a lot more wind, solar, nuclear and combine that with better insulation, EVs for most normal commuter driving and still get at least 80% or more of the way to not using fossil fuels anymore.

This attitude seems pretty defeatist. Since we can't do 100% we might as well do nothing. The problem is the costs of doing nothing are enormous. Even if all we did was spend the kind of money we do on various wars on insulating houses in America it would still make a huge impact in our emissions and reduce our need for fossil fuels by a lot. That even has a better payback for the society that then wars do.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41966713)

What's more interesting is the post contains two liberal knee-jerk positions: There's too little resources, oh noes, government intervention needed! And there's too much of it, government intervention needed.

As usual, Julian Simon [juliansimon.com] wins again. Resource prices go down over time as freedom-based capitalism works its magic, and quality of life measurements go up.

It keeps ahead of the curve, which is the counter-intuitive bit that so many physical scientists self-curbstomp over, not understanding the economics has been shown to work over and over again.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41966769)

Which is why fuel is so cheap in Somalia!

Capitalism is a system of allocating resources, it may in fact be the best one we have. Lets not pretend it is magical.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (0, Troll)

ArcherB (796902) | about 2 years ago | (#41966353)

When the partisan political aspect of an issue is already included in the original post.

Bettter to shut down discussions about AGW before they start! It's settled science!

Well, you could reply in kind and say, "There is no way in Hell that environmentalists or our current administration will allow us to become energy independent if it rained oil!" And, sadly, it's true. They will find some cost of extraction that is just too high to spend like they are trying to do with fracking now.

Fact is, liberals hate oil. They were fighting oil drilling long before global warming was ever considered an issue. So, we know it's not GW they are worried about. I think they don't like people making money or they think that we all live in cities where only the very weatlhy have their own cars (with drivers) and think everyone should have to take the subway.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (5, Interesting)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 2 years ago | (#41966409)

I'm a moderate liberal, but I wouldn't say I hate oil. I would rather say that I would prefer an alternative (def. more in the way of nuclear, the waste, while worse, is more easily contained).

However, I am strongly against drilling for American oil now. I think, when oil starts running really low in other regions, then we should start drilling it. By that point, they'll have exported all their oil at relatively low prices, and we'll be able to export it at much higher prices. It's an investment.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (3, Informative)

dave420 (699308) | about 2 years ago | (#41966439)

Maybe they didn't like drilling because of the ecological damage drilling causes? If it were gravy they were drilling for, they'd still feel the same. Stop looking at things so simplistically. It's really not helping you look rational.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (-1, Troll)

ArcherB (796902) | about 2 years ago | (#41966529)

Maybe they didn't like drilling because of the ecological damage drilling causes? If it were gravy they were drilling for, they'd still feel the same. Stop looking at things so simplistically. It's really not helping you look rational.

Strange that they don't seem to mind the "ecological damage" caused when a Whole Foods or Starbucks is erected, even though an oil well is less permanent and takes up less space.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41966787)

When was the last time a retailer leaked hundreds/thousands/millions/billions of gallons of toxic liquid into an environment?

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (2, Funny)

aicrules (819392) | about 2 years ago | (#41966875)

You mean that stuff that is already in the environment? But if you really want an example, just walk by an Abercrombie & Fitch.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (3, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41966911)

Some small amount of it in the environment.
We released a lot more than would be natural.

Sure the area will recover, but the immediate economic impact on the people in the area is not acceptable. The economic impact in the short term is for me the biggest problem. The extraction operation cut corners and fishermen were stuck with the bill. That part is not liberal or conservative, it is simple reality. When push comes to shove these companies never pay for the damage they cause those around them.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (0)

ArcherB (796902) | about 2 years ago | (#41966963)

When was the last time a retailer leaked hundreds/thousands/millions/billions of gallons of toxic liquid into an environment?

Go walk around the parking lot. And I'm not saying that we shouldn't monitor drilling sites. I'm saying that the very same people who bitch about some endangered fly being harmed by an oil rig don't seem to mind when something they like is built on the same spot.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41966515)

Or it could be we don't like breathing and drinking that crap [google.com] . I suppose we could come around if the oil companies paid the medical bills, and for the clean up, instead of just passing the costs onto the consumers.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (1)

ArcherB (796902) | about 2 years ago | (#41966993)

Or it could be we don't like breathing and drinking that crap [google.com] . I suppose we could come around if the oil companies paid the medical bills, and for the clean up, instead of just passing the costs onto the consumers.

Then make them clean up their crap. No one is implying otherwise. But before you assume that all oil producers leave behind a mess, I suggest you drive from Detroit MI to Traverse City MI and look at all the oil wells pumping oil directly in the middle of a farmed field. The plants there seem to be doing just fine, btw.

Oh, and ALL costs are passed along to consumers. Overhead, taxes, EVERYTHING is eventually passed down to consumers.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966855)

Just going to throw out there that raining oil would probably be hazardous to the environment. I understand that the world isn't perfect I have no problem with using oil as long as we need to. But IF Global Warming is happening and DOES present a danger to American/Human life then it's the governments job to do something about it. The very reason we have a government is to do exactly that. We watch they government and they watch other hazards.

As a for instance... Let's just say that Nuclear Energy wasn't entirely safe but it was a fantastic source of cheap energy. I'm assuming that if it was raining Nuclear Energy, you'd be all for the harvesting of that as well? Quite frankly, no. You would expect the government to step in and protect you from that.

The two major differences in this scenario are that A) Nuclear Energy not handled correctly could very easily have a negative effect on you and your body in the very near future and B) Nuclear Energy is not established and therefore would be much easier for the government to overturn. Oil has been around for a long time and getting rid of something that's been around for so long will be difficult regardless of how dangerous it is.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (2, Interesting)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#41966449)

What is most sad is because of the captured nature of congress the real discussions (of course happening in the back rooms) is about how this helps or hurts oil companies. Our system has real problems doing stuff for the greater good of all when the internal debate is basically controlled by a group of oil robber barons.

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41966733)

Yeah! And why did they not bring up the theory that the earth is full of oil and it is regenerated by pixies?
Why did they assume a round earth at all?

Re:It's a sad sign of the times (1)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | about 2 years ago | (#41966761)

I think it is a sad sign of the times that basic science IS in fact a partisan political issue for some. Making a joke about that fact in a post, isn't the issue in my opinion.

Awesome. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966277)

Maybe now the US will stop invading every country that has oil reserves.

Re:Awesome. (1)

Torvac (691504) | about 2 years ago | (#41966321)

they still need to make sure oil is handled in dollars in some way, and war is still great business even if you allready own all oil.

Re:Awesome. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966323)

You know twit, if where the US had anything to do with oil, we wouldn't be paying almost $4 a gallon. In fact if any of the conflicts had anything to do with oil, we would own all the contracts. However France, and other countries won all the major oil contracts out of Iraq. Hell if it was about oil, George Bush senior could have locked in a $10 a barrel price on Oil by simply accepting the deal offer by Saddam.

I know many of you think the U.S. is run by a bunch of morons, but believe me, they aren't stupid enough to spend all this money on "oil" and then walk away empty handed.

Re:Awesome. (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | about 2 years ago | (#41966821)

Aww! 4 $/gallon??

It's the 100 $/barrel that should raise eyebrows, not the consumer price.
The 40 billion dollar profits that some oil companies have booked should raise eyebrows, not the country that is loosely associated with an oil company.

The US is indeed run by a bunch of morons. And so are most other countries, btw. But they are not in control. In most Western countries, the big industry have a powerful lobby. And they are the ones making profits from the wars in the Middle East. Big Oil, Big Weapons and Big Security firms are gaining a sh*tload of money from those wars. And they don't really care which government is helping them, as long as that government is listening.

Re:Awesome. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41966845)

1. What makes you think your prices would go down as a result of american control of resources?
2. $4/gallon is cheap as hell, compared to many place.
3. They don't walk away empty handed at all.

Oil is a fungible commodity even if we could get it for $0 out of the ground and into a barrel gas prices would not decrease very much. It would be sold as oil always is, on the open market.

"Peak Oil" (5, Interesting)

argStyopa (232550) | about 2 years ago | (#41966279)

We've heard it before, and we'll hear it again.

"In 1975 MK Hubbert, a geoscientist working for Shell who had correctly predicted the decline in US oil production, suggested that global supplies could peak in 1995. In 1997 the petroleum geologist Colin Campbell estimated that it would happen before 2010. In 2003 the geophysicist Kenneth Deffeyes said he was "99% confident" that peak oil would occur in 2004. In 2004, the Texas tycoon T Boone Pickens predicted that "never again will we pump more than 82m barrels" per day of liquid fuels. (Average daily supply in May 2012 was 91m.) In 2005 the investment banker Matthew Simmons maintained that "Saudi Arabia ⦠cannot materially grow its oil production". (Since then its output has risen from 9m barrels a day to 10m, and it has another 1.5m in spare capacity.)" (and that's just since 1975).

Personally, if the US has these sorts of reserves, we're idiots to tap them today. Use it as leverage to keep the Saudis pumping THEIR oil at moderate prices, and exhaust the supplies outside the US before touching our own.

Re:"Peak Oil" (1)

Captain.Abrecan (1926372) | about 2 years ago | (#41966299)

Strategy isn't what they are going for though. If that was their goal, yours is better, yes. But the goal is lower prices and independence. Whether or not it is a good tactical play is irrelevant because this solution satisfies it's goals (that is how politicians solve problems, as you can see).

Re:"Peak Oil" (1)

biodata (1981610) | about 2 years ago | (#41966333)

If the goal is lower prices, why did both the Bush presidents start wars that led directly to price increases? Surely the strategy of the oil industry, and their political minions, is to increase prices?

Re:"Peak Oil" (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 years ago | (#41966501)

Almost makes you wonder if the wars were about something else entirely, like terrorism and regional stability, like they said. Almost, I guess.

Re:"Peak Oil" (1)

Flavianoep (1404029) | about 2 years ago | (#41966743)

Surely the strategy of the oil industry, and their political minions, is to increase prices?

Sounds like so. Most of the unconventional oil extraction are so expensive that they are not profitable at low oil prices.

Re:"Peak Oil" (1, Troll)

invid (163714) | about 2 years ago | (#41966577)

The goal is to make money.

Re:"Peak Oil" (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966311)

Personally, if the US has these sorts of reserves, we're idiots to tap them today. Use it as leverage to keep the Saudis pumping THEIR oil at moderate prices, and exhaust the supplies outside the US before touching our own.

Unfortunately that's not how Capitalism works. This would be the definition of collusion or the United States government directing private industry not to make money. We're quite far from China in this respect and that's one area I'd like us to stay away from.

Did you know we get more crude oil from Canada than Saudi Arabia?

Re:"Peak Oil" (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41966511)

Personally, if the US has these sorts of reserves, we're idiots to tap them today. Use it as leverage to keep the Saudis pumping THEIR oil at moderate prices, and exhaust the supplies outside the US before touching our own.

Unfortunately that's not how Capitalism works. This would be the definition of collusion or the United States government directing private industry not to make money. We're quite far from China in this respect and that's one area I'd like us to stay away from.

Did you know we get more crude oil from Canada than Saudi Arabia?

You are missing one important point: not all 'oil reserves' are created equal. Some are nice, clean, sweet, crude conveniently buried in relatively uncomplicated rocks at moderate depth. Others are a zillion feet underwater, badly dispersed through some formation that makes geologists cry, or in the form of dubiously flammable shale or tar sands that can be coaxed into releasing just slightly more energy than required for the coaxing if you are willing to put up with ghastly byproducts.

The exploitation of different classes of reserves creates externalities of differing severity. Because markets suck at dealing with externalities, we impose some level of regulation designed either to internalize the externalities or to simply forbid activities that cause excessive negative externalities.

It is entirely possible that, if the US oil reserves are nastier, or if the Saudis need the oil money sufficiently badly to impose the externalities on themselves before we do, we would see a situation where less desirable US reserves remain in reserve until foreign reserves are tapped out.

This would be a situation created by regulatory pressures(which I would argue is hardly a bad thing, if it keeps us from experiencing the... cost insensitivity... that accompanies oil development in places like the Niger delta...); but it would hardly require the establishment of the First People's Patriotic Petroleum Five Year Glorious Plan.

If the US doesn't develop, they have NO "leverage" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966479)

...

Personally, if the US has these sorts of reserves, we're idiots to tap them today. Use it as leverage to keep the Saudis pumping THEIR oil at moderate prices, and exhaust the supplies outside the US before touching our own.

Oil is a commodity.

If it's not on the market, it's not on the market.

US: Saudi Arabia, pump more oil and lower your price!
S.A.: Umm, no.
US: OK, well go develop our oil shale!
S.A.: (waiting around, still not pumping, still charging more, still funneling all that money to Islamic fundamentals....)

Umm, yeah. Fail.

Re:"Peak Oil" (5, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#41966593)

I agree. Furthermore: Burning Oil is BAD -- No, hear me out. We should be using it to make plastics and other neat stuff, not wasting it as a fuel. I agree we need to use it now, but think of the future, when alternative energies are viable -- We'll curse ourselves for wasting all that valuable material used to make everything from medical supplies to computer screens. We won't stop pumping oil until every last drop is gone, even if we stop using it as a fuel.

Yes! Confusing production with reserves. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966665)

What I'm seeing here is a lot of people interchanging production with reserves.

It looks like the US wells are pulling the oil out of the ground as fast as they find it boosting production. Whereas the Saudis are trickling out their oil based upon demand and prices. If they went apeshit like the Americans, they'd blow the doors off of the US in terms of production.

You need to look up what Peak Oil means (2, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#41966709)

the petroleum geologist Colin Campbell estimated that it would happen before 2010

And he was right, because global oil production peaked in 2008 and we are extracting less now than we did in that year.
What, you meant something different? OK then, write something different instead of attaching whatever bullshit baggage you have to a technical term.

Re:"Peak Oil" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966945)

Using foreign oil, under congressional mandate, is required under national defense. It would be absolutely stupid to use our own oil until absolutely necessary.

Limited time offer (1, Informative)

Xacid (560407) | about 2 years ago | (#41966291)

"and will become 'all but self-sufficient' in meeting its energy needs in about two decades" for about two decades.

Re:Limited time offer (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41966381)

i've read that at current consumption rates the US has enough oil to last us a few hundred years

Re:Limited time offer (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 years ago | (#41966605)

Enough coal perhaps. The life expectancy of oil is around 34 years right now. Proven global reserves of usable oil are around 1 trillion barrels (7 trillion to include all shale oil and other forms of oil not currently usable). At current rate of global consumption, we would use all 1 trillion barrels in 34 years. However, the life expectancy of oil has been increasing over the years due to discovery of oil growing faster then even our rampant usage (something peak oilists conveniently ignore). It may turn out we have enough oil to last a few hundred years, but not based on current proven reserves.

Re:Limited time offer (2)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#41966621)

i've read that at current consumption rates the US has enough oil to last us a few hundred years

And then what? You've got to stop thinking short term, and look at the big picture.

Except (2)

Dunbal (464142) | about 2 years ago | (#41966293)

All these arguments fail to account for increasing US oil demand. They invariably keep demand fixed at today's demand. So while the US could "become the world's #1 producer by 2017", by 2020 it would probably be consuming everything it produces and be importing again. Provided China left any oil for anyone else by then...

Re:Except (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41966339)

The US will never consume everything it produces while it can get a higher price on the global market, just like all the other commodities, the price is set by the brokers.

Re:Except (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966799)

What fantasy world are you living in? The US uses 17-19 million barrels each day right now. I would be great if we were able to get down to 11 million a day that currently is produced in the US (and we should be down at 2-3 million if we were smart and worked on really fixing the issue and people weren't addicted to the stuff).

Consumption > Oil statistics - Countries Compared - NationMaster
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/ene_oil_con-energy-oil-consumption

Re:Except (4, Informative)

ocop (1132181) | about 2 years ago | (#41966443)

Oil demand in the U.S. (and the OECD more broadly) has declined and flatlined following the "Great Recession". Even in light of the recovery, petroleum consumption has remained essentially flat, with maybe even a slight decline from 2009. The economic shock of 2008's oil prices has violently reoriented the economy in some ways, and it's hard to think of a reason that oil consumption will ever tick back up as new CAFE standards come into effect. The use of oil for heating and power generation has been in decline for decades--the remaining demand is for transportation and petrochemicals. EIA US consumption data here: http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=WRPUPUS2&f=W [eia.gov]

Re:Except (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966475)

More or less. The reason is related to Jevon's Paradox. The politicians lack the will to put into place the taxes necessary to encourage conservation. I think the last time they did that was WWII when the excess was being used by the military. The consumers never pay the full price for gas and whenever the prices threaten to get people to conserve, the prices tend to dip. And the government doesn't step in to prevent that.

As long as gas is cheaper than alternative energy, you're not going to see any real changes.

Re:Except (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966693)

All these arguments fail to account for increasing US oil demand. They invariably keep demand fixed at today's demand. So while the US could "become the world's #1 producer by 2017", by 2020 it would probably be consuming everything it produces and be importing again. Provided China left any oil for anyone else by then...

FTFA:

"The report also predicted that global energy demand would grow between 35 and 46 percent from 2010 to 2035, depending on whether policies that have been proposed are put in place. Most of that growth will come from China, India..."

it's not the oil... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966329)

... it's the refineries. If the US-ians don't build a few of these things they'll still be importing gasoline, keeping the price up. Pumping more oil merely generates revenue for the producers when they sell it on the world market...

Put your money where your mouth is (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966341)

Global Warming is a liberal myth.
 
Ok. So stop being a consumer. It's that simple. Sure, it means paying more and putting up with some things that oil consumers don't have to put up with but if you're so concerned than stop buying what they're selling. If enough people do it and if enough money goes into green tech than you'll be able to end the oil industry.
 
If you're waiting for the government to hold your hand than you're going to wait a long time before they really abandon the oil culture. By a long time I'm talking generations.
 
There's your choices. What's your next move? Grumble and accept your fate at the gas pumps or do you become forward thinking and move on from oil? I can tell you where I'd place my bets.

Re:Put your money where your mouth is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966893)

People still have to eat. To do that they need to work, which requires transportation. People still have to heat their homes in the winter.

Your argument reminds me of the "if you're unhappy with anything about America then you should move somewhere else" argument. You set up a false dichotomy: Accept things the way they are or do something that's completely impractical in response. Because, complaining about things and voting for the type of change one would like to see obviously isn't a viable option . . .

Whether you find it to be annoying bitching or not doesn't change the fact that people bitching about things is the first step towards change. Asking people to do what is impossible for most, such as ceasing to contribute to the global demand for oil, is a lot less effective than bitching about it. Stop being the consumer . . . why don't you just advise everyone to kill themselves?

Re:Put your money where your mouth is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41967007)

Because, complaining about things and voting for the type of change one would like to see obviously isn't a viable option . . .
 
Ok. Tell me who you're going to vote for? The two party system has a stranglehold on the American political culture and both sides have shown that they're partnered up with the oil industry. If you think token gestures from the Democratic party against the oil industry is meant to bring them in line with higher thinking then I can prove you dead wrong. I don't even have to prove it, just look at the actions of the party versus their campaign talks and you'll see it for yourself.
 
  Stop being the consumer . . . why don't you just advise everyone to kill themselves?
 
Ok, wise ass, what would your solution be aside from wait for administration after administration to finally come up with a solution? Like I said originally "generations" is the time span it'll take before the government does anything and what they're going to do isn't going to be in response to global warming, it's going to be in response of trying to stop civil war from breaking out as the oil well runs dry.
 
It’s amazing how naïve Slashtards are.

so let met get this straight (1)

hamburger lady (218108) | about 2 years ago | (#41966355)

we consume about 18 million bbl/day of petroleum liquids. we produce 8, 3 of which is ethanol, and we're not going to just up and double our ethanol production.

assuming, stupidly, that there's no growth whatsoever in demand over the next 2 decades in the US, or that improvements in efficiency and mileage will counter any growth in overall demand, we're going to add about 13 million bbl/day of tight oil in 20 years?

or is natural gas going to swoop in and run all of our cars by then? this doesn't add up at all.

i understand the ability to top saudi arabia, even for a bit; if we really went nuts ramping up tight oil production we could theoretically cross to number 1. but we'd still be importing a ton of oil.

Re:so let met get this straight (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41966405)

The idea that the US 'imports' oil is a myth promulgated by isolationists.

We simply 'repatriate' American oil that had the ill fortune to be buried under somebody else's sand.

Imagine the savings! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966377)

On defense, when you don't have to bomb and/or invade every country that threatens the flow of oil to the USA anymore!

Gas is still affordable so far (1, Flamebait)

concealment (2447304) | about 2 years ago | (#41966407)

Thanks to the Iraq war, Canadian oil sands, and now the vast reserves of the USA, gas is more expensive but still affordable.

If it suddenly doubled in price, our economy might collapse.

Is it time for us to admit that petrochemical energy is a strategic objective worth considering? I don't like the idea of "wars for oil" any more than you probably do, but if we don't, a lot of people will suffer and have their livelihoods destroyed.

With these wars, the world can have a consistent oil supply at a reasonable-ish price.

Moral uncertainty has arrived. It feels bad. And yet, for now, it makes sense.

* - I don't believe Iraq was about oil per se. It was about keeping the middle east under open market control in order to counter the Russian oil supply, which otherwise would control Europe financially, putting it in the hands of the US's and Europe's traditional opposition. In addition, Iraq was about the principle that if someone hits you hard and hides behind any nation, hit the biggest bad guy who might support them and destroy his ability to protect them, which will make others think twice about supporting them.

Re:Gas is still affordable so far (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966783)

I don't like the idea of "wars for oil" any more than you probably do, but if we don't, a lot of people will suffer and have their livelihoods destroyed.

Invade Canada Now!

Re:Gas is still affordable so far (1)

lexman098 (1983842) | about 2 years ago | (#41966933)

I don't like the idea of "wars for oil" any more than you probably do, but if we don't, a lot of people will suffer and have their livelihoods destroyed.

wow

There is NO SUCH THING as being self sufficient! (5, Informative)

arkham6 (24514) | about 2 years ago | (#41966421)

I hate whenever i hear people say "Well, if we drilled more we could be self sufficient from foreign oil and have oil prices come down.

NO, it does not happen that way.

The US government does not drill oil. They lease out the mineral rights to companies such as shell, BP and Exxon who extract the oil and then __sell it on the world market__. Let me say that again. The oil goes into a central market and could be shipped anywhere if the costs are right. Just because its produced here does not mean it stays here.

Another example was Norway after Hurricane Katrina. Their oil and gas prices jumped significantly after the hurricane in the gulf, yet they are a major exporter and producer. Why? Because supply went down after the storm, so prices had to go up. It didnt matter that they got all their own oil, the world markets made the prices go up.

Re:There is NO SUCH THING as being self sufficient (2)

hamburger lady (218108) | about 2 years ago | (#41966523)

exactly. even if we were to somehow conserve our way to half our current usage and go full-bore with hydrofracking basins (which wouldn't last long, those basins carry a few billion barrels), we'd still pay through the nose unless we full-on nationalized our oil market and kept it all for ourselves.

Re:There is NO SUCH THING as being self sufficient (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966553)

exactly. besides, the worlds economies are already inexorably tied together, but of course its only important to be "independent of foreign oil". what about being impervious to financial problems in europe, for example? (not saying that we dont cause financial problems for anyone else, just an example). well, its wishful thinking i suppose.

Re:There is NO SUCH THING as being self sufficient (2)

need4mospd (1146215) | about 2 years ago | (#41966643)

Yes, but the government can make it harder to import/export, and they can "encourage"(subsidize) companies that actively "drill" within our borders.

I'm not saying I'd recommend that or that it would bring prices down, but the government has more than enough power to make it happen if you buy the right congressmen.

Re:There is NO SUCH THING as being self sufficient (3, Informative)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#41966931)

. The oil goes into a central market and could be shipped anywhere if the costs are right.

That's a myth.

Refineries are generally built to process oil from a particular field, or a particular class of fields. You can't ship tar sands off to a light sweet crude refinery and expect to actually be able to refine them.

It's particularly bad for the heavier ones, like the sands and shales, since each deposit has a different set of impurities, which mean that different catalyst properties are required to avoid poisioning.

Of course, the end products are interchangable: diesel is diesel and Jet A is Jet A. So a failure in one supply means that the price of end producs goes up, so people can charge more for the feedstocks.

They'd Sell to Other Countries (5, Insightful)

GeneralTurgidson (2464452) | about 2 years ago | (#41966455)

This post and a lot of comments make it seem like the oil produced would stay in our country and only used by us. Yea right, it would be sold to the highest bidder on the market, which will probably be China in a couple of years. Meanwhile our country is turned into a wasteland from this and fracking.

Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966485)

The us is swimming in natural gas and oil reserves. BUT.
We should use up everything we can from the rest of the world first while we can afford it.

Don't you play video games? When a resource is limited, use an unlimited resource to trade for the limited resource. And save your own stockpile of the limited resource for the endgame.

The future is comming. And we still need more vespene gas.

Shale - the next bubble to pop (3, Informative)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about 2 years ago | (#41966499)

From here [nakedcapitalism.com]

"The second thing that nobody thinks very much about is the decline rates shale reservoirs experience. Well, I’ve looked at this. The decline rates are incredibly high. In the Eagleford shale, which is supposed to be the mother of all shale oil plays, the annual decline rate is higher than 42%. They’re going to have to drill hundreds, almost 1000 wells in the Eagleford shale, every year, to keep production flat. Just for one play, we’re talking about $10 or $12 billion a year just to replace supply. I add all these things up and it starts to approach the amount of money needed to bail out the banking industry. Where is that money going to come from? Do you see what I’m saying?"

Re:Shale - the next bubble to pop (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966929)

From here [nakedcapitalism.com]

They’re going to have to drill hundreds, almost 1000 wells in the Eagleford shale, every year, to keep production flat. Just for one play, we’re talking about $10 or $12 billion a year just to replace supply. I add all these things up and it starts to approach the amount of money needed to bail out the banking industry. Where is that money going to come from? Do you see what I’m saying?"

The money comes from selling the oil. Either the price of oil rises to where extracting it from the shale is profitable, or the world transitions away from fossil fuels and it stays in the ground.

Only one thing left to do! (1)

Omniskio (1153619) | about 2 years ago | (#41966551)

There's only one thing left to do, and it doesn't matter if GW is A, or non-A. Move every coastal city to higher ground, because we all know the fossil fuel cartels will not stop making money off this stuff until there's and more money to be made.

Any estimates on how much it'll cost to move New York? And Los Angeles? Barcelona? Boston? London? Shanghai? Tokyo? Bangkok? Mumbai? The Netherlands? Sydney? Venice?

I'm glad it'll be your grandchildren footing the bill.

Did I miss something? (3, Insightful)

fearofcarpet (654438) | about 2 years ago | (#41966561)

'The report confirms that, given the current policies, we will blow past every safe target for emissions,' says Levi. 'This should put to rest the idea that the boom in natural gas will save us from that.'

Wait, what? There is an idea that natural gas will curb CO2 emissions? Natural gas may burn "cleaner" and it may have a slighter higher energy density, but that doesn't change the equation: CH4 + 2 O2 -> CO2 + 2 H2O. Are we really so bereft of a basic grasp of chemistry to think that the CO2 released from natural gas doesn't count?

The link in TFA to The Oil Drum questions the whether shale oil can be competitive because of the costs associated with extraction; basically that the oil is too spread out in the shale. Those costs certainly aren't stopping them from trying. Why not put those resources into carbon-neutral energy generation? Fracking? Sure, let's give it a go, I'm like 85% sure it won't contaminate aquifers or cause earthquakes. Deep-water drilling? Sure, I like a good challenge and there's no chance that we'll wreck an entire ecosystem. Shale oil? There's only one way to find out if it's profitable! Solarthermal, biomass, photovoltaic, wind, tidal energy, geothermal? I don't know... sounds risky... and kinda hard... I'm not so sure I can make money with any of those... and I already picked out the paint for my new horizontal drilling rig.

The agency's report was generally 'good news' for the United States says Michael A. Levi, senior fellow for energy and environment at the Council on Foreign Relations, because it highlights the nation's new sources of energy but Levi cautions that being self-sufficient does not mean that the country will be insulated from seesawing energy prices, since those oil prices are set by global markets

Why exactly do we need to ramp up oil and gas production when the prices are set by an international cartel? We start pumping fossil fuels into the market and Saudi Arabia and Russia just turn down the facet; prices rise and they're making the same money as before by producing less. Yay, it was worth raping the environment to have no impact on energy prices because we're "self-sufficient" now!

This headline reads to me like "US Would Become World's Top Phone Booth Producer by 2017." Are we all going to act surprised when that hippie fantasy we call a "green economy" becomes a reality for the EU or China? You know, like we were all shocked that Romney performed exactly as the polls predicted.

Am I missing something here?

Hard to squeeze oil from a stone (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#41966613)

To put things very simply, the largest problem is in-ground extraction of heated shale to get liquid causes expansion, making it hard to get to anything underneath (all the fractures and boreholes squeeze shut and the ground can hump up). Digging it up and doing stuff with it that way is like dealing with very very hard coal but with a lot less energy recoverable from it per unit volume, so almost always pointless since there are oil from coal techniques that would probably give you more for the same effort. Thus the depth of the reserves is fairly meaningless if you can only get to the top layer.
Enough of that, I need to get some sleep so that I can get up early and not see the sun in the morning :)

"may have an abysmal EROI" (2)

FilmedInNoir (1392323) | about 2 years ago | (#41966617)

Why can't they just use solar powered drills?

OIL supply does not equal ENERGY supply. (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about 2 years ago | (#41966655)

It's all about NET energy. Otherwise, why bother? The total net energy contained by all the oil extracted up until now is MUCH greater than the energy contained in the oil that's left. So whether we've hit peak oil or not is irrelevant. What we're facing is the net energy cliff, at least as far as oil goes. Natural gas is a bright spot, assuming the government's numbers aren't political numbers. If they're real, domestic natural gas represents the equivalent of 44 years worth of oil. In reality, there will be waste and loss, so 30 years is more realistic. Still, anything that extends our energy supply is a good thing.

In the long run, we've got nuclear or nothing if we want to continue to have a large scale industrial civilization.

Global Warming? No problem! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966697)

It's only American oil and gas wells and coal mines that produce global warming. If the stuff comes out of the ground in Saudi Arabia or Iran it's OK. Just another way to siphon money out of the USA and into the third world.

We're freakin' drug addicts (3, Insightful)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | about 2 years ago | (#41966737)

We're freakin' drug addicts :
we need our daily dose, and when our shady dealer doesn't play fair, we look beneath the couch.
We find some dirty old bag of crack, and scream "Yeah! We're saved! We solved our problem once and for all!"

Re:We're freakin' drug addicts (2)

Miamicanes (730264) | about 2 years ago | (#41966967)

> (...snip...) We find some dirty old bag of crack (...snip...)

  "We clear out the trash that's been down in the basement since we moved in, and discover an old, forgotten sub-basement built in the 19th century for coal that's filled with enough dirty old crack to to fill our own habit, plus the habits of the entire northeastern US, for the next 5000 years, and scream "Yeah! We're saved!..."

There, fixed that for you.

Convert to a renewable resource. (1)

boylinux (775361) | about 2 years ago | (#41966749)

We should all be looking at burning Zombies from now on in. It will become the biggest renewable resource in the near future. If you get the loading mechanism right you can even refuel on the run.

EROI is bullshit (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 2 years ago | (#41966753)

Talking about EROI is about as meaningless as talking about ROI. Nobody cares about ROI in and of itself. You have to add time to the equation. The relevant measures in economy are measures of rate of return on investment. The relevant energy measures will always be measures of rate of energy return on energy investment.

Simple thought experiment: Company A builds a hydroelectric dam that lasts for 120 years and has an EROI of 120. Company B builds wind turbines that last for 25 years and have an EROI of 30. They both invest 1 unit of energy at year one. After 25 years company A has produced a net amount of (-1) + 25 = 24 units of energy. Company B has produced (-1) + 30 = 29 units of energy. The wind turbines are a better investment than the hydro dam from a purely energetic perspective (but not necessarily from an economic perspective).

It gets even worse for the hydro dam when you take into account that it takes as much as 20 years to build it, locking up energy investments for that time, while wind turbines only take a year or so from factory to operation, thus locking up energy for a shorter amount of time. Now I'm not saying that wind turbines are better than hydro dams. The examples could have been about any two technologies. All I'm saying is that EROI is bullshit if you use it without taking time into account.

Great news! (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#41966811)

This means now the US can set about selling off our natural resources to the highest bidder like every other Third World shithole.

What's the rush? (2)

MaWeiTao (908546) | about 2 years ago | (#41966877)

Currently petroleum is still relatively inexpensive. Why not keep these supplies untapped and in our back pocket for when there is real demand. Rushing to get at these reserves merely to push down prices slightly or reduce foreign dependency seems foolish.

Furthermore, despite the incessant mantra, the majority of our oil does not come from the Middle East.

Oil isn't the problem (1)

paiute (550198) | about 2 years ago | (#41966915)

According to the Argonne National Laboratory, it takes two barrels of water to produce one barrel of oil shale liquid. A lot of the shale rock is out where water is already being fought over between farmers, cities, and Native Americans.

Great news (1)

yog (19073) | about 2 years ago | (#41966995)

Lots for Americans to celebrate here:

Anything that helps to wean us off Middle Eastern, North African, and Venezuelan oil is a good thing. War, support for nasty dictatorships, terrorism, patrolling the Persian Gulf: it all goes away, or becomes someone else's problem.

Natural gas is a much cleaner way to generate electricity than coal.

Jobs, and lots of them.

Cheap gas = more local chemical and plastics plants, which depend on the stuff.

Energy exports help our balance of trade.

It helps prove that private sector ingenuity and enterprise are still a good thing. The government has had little or nothing to do with this, other than throw obstacles in their path.

There's no proven ecological harm from fracking, and if there will be, solutions can surely be found. For example, tainted water supplies can be prevented by keeping the wells correctly sealed.

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