THEGREENGROK    Statistically Speaking

Statistically Speaking: New Fuel Resources – Worth Drilling For?

by Bill Chameides | June 19th, 2009
posted by Erica Rowell (Editor)

Permalink | 1 comment

 

Yesterday the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved a bill that would allow drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The bill would shrink the no-drill buffer from a minimum of 100 miles to as little as 25 miles off the coast in a region that currently is off-limits to drilling until 2022.

What’s the Potential Gain?

Potential total amount of energy (in BTUs) from the eastern Gulf of Mexico’s technically undiscovered oil resource: 22,400 trillion

Potential total amount of energy (in BTUs) from the eastern Gulf of Mexico’s technically undiscovered natural gas resource: 22,660 trillion

Approximate amount of petroleum (in BTUs) consumed annually by Americans: 42,300 trillion

Approximate amount of natural gas (in BTUs) consumed annually by Americans: 23,900 trillion

About how long petroleum from the eastern Gulf of Mexico could supply the petroleum portion of Americans’ energy needs: 6 months

About how long natural gas from the eastern Gulf of Mexico could supply the natural gas portion of Americans’ energy needs: less than 1 year

Two Items to Note

Potential oil and natural gas resources, officially referred to in the industry as “technically undiscovered recoverable resources,” are of a highly speculative nature, and typically produce a smaller fraction than the total amount of fuel believed to be in the ground. (Learn more in our oil glossary.)

Our statistical treatment lays out how long the potential resources would meet our needs if they could hypothetically be accessed in one go. Practically speaking, production would require a number of years, so the actual benefit in any one year would be much smaller.

filed under: energy, faculty, natural gas, oil, policy, politics, Statistically Speaking
and: , , , ,

1 Comment

All comments are moderated and limited to 275 words. Your e-mail address is never displayed. Read our Comment Guidelines for more details.

  1. Dan K.
    Jun 19, 2009

    More of the same rudimentary discussion about ‘drill, baby, drill’ only now it’s actually happening. What seems missing from this discussion (among many others) is that no one ever talks about the opportunity cost of offshore drilling and the effect it could have on stymieing investments in cleantech, for instance. I’m somewhat alluding to a paper from Stanford’s Mark Jacobson who did a good life-cycle analysis-like look at solar, wind, ethanol and such and incorporated opportunity costs in his work. From what I’ve read, I don’t recall this being a standard approach but, for any faults that it may have, it’s a step in the right direction. Welcome back, economics 101!

©2015 Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University | Box 90328 | Durham, NC 27708
how to contact us > | login to the site > | site disclaimers >

footer nav stuff