Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Alaskan drilling

  1. Mar 16, 2005 #1

    cronxeh

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    What do you guys think? One Republican senator claims there is enough oil in Alaskan reserves to sustain the United States for 25 years. I have 3 points on this.

    1. Sustain for energy (oil -> petroleum) or sustain for hydrocarbon use (nylon, plastic production, textiles, foods, fertilizers, etc) or both? There is a difference

    2. Suppose it was approved. Who would get the contract?

    3. Will we come up with sustainable fusion within those 25 years? At least half way before we run out of oil reserves?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 17, 2005 #2

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 1002 Area, Petroleum Assessment

    Summary

    In anticipation of the need for scientific support for policy decisions and in light of the decade-old perspective of a previous assessment, the USGS has completed a reassessment of the petroleum potential of the ANWR 1002 area. This was a comprehensive study by a team of USGS scientists in collaboration on technical issues (but not the assessment) with colleagues in other agencies and universities. The study incorporated all available public data and included new field and analytic work as well as the reevaluation of all previous work.

    Using a methodology similar to that used in previous USGS assessments in the ANWR and the National Petroleum Reserve—Alaska, this study estimates that the total quantity of technically recoverable oil in the 1002 area is 7.7 BBO (mean value), which is distributed among 10 plays. Most of the oil is estimated to occur in the western, undeformed part of the ANWR 1002 area, which is closest to existing infrastructure. Furthermore, the oil is expected to occur in a number of accumulations rather than a single large accumulation. Estimates of economically recoverable oil, expressed by probability curves, show increasing amounts of oil with increasing price. At prices less than $13 per barrel, no commercial oil is estimated, but at a price of $30 per barrel, between 3 and 10.4 billion barrels are estimated. Economic analysis includes the costs of finding, developing, producing, and transporting oil to market based on a 12 percent after-tax return on investment, all calculated in constant 1996 dollars.

    The amounts of in-place oil estimated for the ANWR 1002 area are larger than previous USGS estimates. The increase results in large part from improved resolution of reprocessed seismic data and geologic analogs provided by recent nearby oil discoveries.

    http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs-0028-01/fs-0028-01.htm
    http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs-0028-01/

    As can be seen here and as is usually the case, the republican claims are ludicrous. This is about making a buck. The fox now guards the hen house.
    http://energy.senate.gov/legislation/energybill/charts/chart8.pdf
    http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:...ll/charts/chart8.pdf+oil+consumption+US&hl=en
     
  4. Mar 17, 2005 #3

    cronxeh

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    So it says we consume 20-25 million barrels/day, and with ANWR we'll bump oil production from 5 to 7 million barrels/day. We are still kind of 13-18 million barrels/day short..

    That speech Alaskan Republican Senator gave is false then. Its either misleading, a lie, or what?
     
  5. Mar 17, 2005 #4

    Astronuc

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The Senator is in a position to obtain the facts. It would appear that the speech is misleading.

    And Ivan is right - it is about the money. So what is new?
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2005
  6. Mar 17, 2005 #5
    I also heard another thing on NPR this morning about this... in particular a Republican senator (forgot whose name) said that a barren place with -60 temperatures is "not a haven" in the first place.. :surprised . I don't know much about the site itself, but Alaska seems like a beautiful place and it doesn't seem worth it. I don't see why they just cant wait until completion of the ITER project so that we can switch to fusion.
     
  7. Mar 17, 2005 #6

    Astronuc

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The two senators from Alaska are:

    Murkowski, Lisa - (R)
    709 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
    (202) 224-6665

    Lisa is also daughter of Frank Murkowski, governor of Alaska. Both have a financial interest in oil exploration.

    Stevens, Ted - (R)
    522 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
    (202) 224-3004

    Stevens also has a financial interest in ANWR exploration.

    And so do their principal political and financial supporters.

    And so does the Bush Administration and their principal political and financial supporters.

    Should this be a surprise to anyone?

    The exploration and development would be done by ExxonMobil, BP Amoco, ConocoPhillips, Shell, and various smaller companies.
     
  8. Mar 17, 2005 #7
    I think everyone in Alaska has a financial gain to be had should we start drilling up there. I mean after all, stop and think about it for a second: you're going to have millions of barrels of oil that need to be transfered and drilling, which translates into a great number of new jobs and all that's associated with it. If it happens it's going to be a HUGE economic boon for the state. Can you really complain about the senators being for it?
     
  9. Mar 17, 2005 #8

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Note that we are using approx 25 million barrels of oil per day. The mean total available in the ANWR is 10,000 million barrels. So there is enough oil in total to sustain the US for about 400 days.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?