# News Will lifting oil drilling bans in the U.S. lower the price of oil?

#### mgb_phys

Homework Helper
Radioctive means they emit harmful radiation that poisons people and the environment; it's a problem by definition.
Harmfull depends on several factors.

What kind or radiation (alpha=not a big problem, beta worse, gamma generally bad)

How radioactive, things with a very long half life (eg. Pu) decay slowly and so only emit very small amounts of radiation. Things with a very short half life (eg. H3) emit a lot of radiation for a brief time but then become harmless quickly.
The bad ones are the half lives similair to a human lifespan.

It's chemical activity. Insoluble Pu or U in granite not a big problem. Radon that you can breathe into your lungs = bad, ceasium/iodine that build up in your body = worse.

They are a "problem" because they contaminate the soil and water, and are a danger to people and animals.
Only if they are harmfull.

Also it's not just like you can dump it somewhere and forget about it. Disposal sites must be monitered and protected and secured. Yet the waste can stay active for tens of thousands of years..
It's better than other pollutants, mercury and arsenic are still going to be as toxic at the end of the universe. The radioactive waste is getting safer all the time.

The waste problem is made worse by not reprocessing the most active (and therefore the most dangerous but also the most valuable components) for political reasons. But at least the waste is contained and stored. Try removing all the polution and CO2 produced by a coal power station form the atmosphere and storing it until it's no longer harmfull.

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#### mheslep

Gold Member
They aren't a problem just because they are radioctive? Radioctive means they emit harmful radiation that poisons people and the environment; it's a problem by definition.
Its a matter of degree, one can not just declare its a problem without weighing this against possible risks. Sunlight can be harmful. Drinking too much water can be harmful. Shaking a vending machine can be harmful. BTW, more people have been killed by falling vending machines in the US than by radiation from fission power plants.

Also it's not just like you can dump it somewhere and forget about it. Disposal sites must be monitered and protected and secured. Yet the waste can stay active for tens of thousands of years.. Even if you can protect the waste now, who is going to look after it 500 years from now? Or 5000? It's quite an unfair burden to place on our decendents, making them take care of the waste produced for our own use. And that's provided there even is a government in place in the future that can look after it.
Perhaps, but again that is a matter of degree. At some point one can argue that waste buried deeply enough underground in geological stable formations is even less of a threat than 'natural' toxic materials closer to the surface.

#### mheslep

Gold Member
OPEC cuts production

OPEC cut back 500000 bbl/day and price barely moved.

Sept. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rose after OPEC urged its members to comply with output quotas, a move that would reduce supplies by 500,000 barrels a day.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed at a meeting in Vienna to a total production limit for 11 members of 28.8 million barrels a day, unchanged from previous targets. OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla El-Badri said this means it will trim oversupply'' by about 500,000 barrels a day.
...
Crude oil for October delivery rose 66 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $103.92 a barrel at 9:30 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Which means a before/after loss in income of ~$50M/day for OPEC. Of course if the price had continued to fall to say $80 from over capacity they'd be out$560M/day.

#### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Re: Sex, drugs and oil money

In related news:
WASHINGTON — As Congress prepares to debate expansion of drilling in taxpayer-owned coastal waters, the Interior Department agency that collects oil and gas royalties has been caught up in a wide-ranging ethics scandal — including allegations of financial self-dealing, accepting gifts from energy companies, cocaine use and sexual misconduct.

In three reports delivered to Congress on Wednesday, the department’s inspector general, Earl E. Devaney, found wrongdoing by a dozen current and former employees of the Minerals Management Service, which collects about $10 billion in royalties annually and is one of the government’s largest sources of revenue other than taxes. “A culture of ethical failure” besets the agency, Mr. Devaney wrote in a cover memo. The reports portray a dysfunctional organization that has been riddled with conflicts of interest, unprofessional behavior and a free-for-all atmosphere for much of the Bush administration’s watch. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/11/washington/11royalty.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin Lest someone claim this is a conspiracy from the left wing media, here's more sources: Reuters http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iKt4CePAt-tJqdPld1mZxbC4nsXwD934371G0 [Broken] Wall Street Journal http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2008Sep10/0,4670,InteriorOilTrysts,00.html PS: For some reason, Chevron has decided not to co-operate with the investigation. Last edited by a moderator: #### edward Re: Sex, drugs and oil money In related news: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/11/washington/11royalty.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin Lest someone claim this is a conspiracy from the left wing media, here's more sources: Reuters http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iKt4CePAt-tJqdPld1mZxbC4nsXwD934371G0 [Broken] Wall Street Journal http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2008Sep10/0,4670,InteriorOilTrysts,00.html PS: For some reason, Chevron has decided not to co-operate with the investigation. It was probably the only government dept that wasn't just sitting around doing nothing Last edited by a moderator: #### lisab Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member Re: Sex, drugs and oil money In related news: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/11/washington/11royalty.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin Lest someone claim this is a conspiracy from the left wing media, here's more sources: Reuters http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iKt4CePAt-tJqdPld1mZxbC4nsXwD934371G0 [Broken] Wall Street Journal http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2008Sep10/0,4670,InteriorOilTrysts,00.html PS: For some reason, Chevron has decided not to co-operate with the investigation. I always thought that if you wanted a life of debauchery - lots of sex and drugs - you had to go into the rock and roll busines. Who'd have thunk that the oil business or Department of the Interior would offer the same "perks"...? Last edited by a moderator: #### mathwonk Science Advisor Homework Helper these are precious finite resources that need to last a really long time. the price should be high to encourage careful husbandry of them. subsidies could be made available to the poor and needy but for the general user they should be expensive. helllooo??? do we think the goal should be to encourage the wastage of natural resources as quickly as possible? how stupid is that? the injustice seems to be that the profit goes almost exclusively to oil companies that poach off the resources owned by the public. or so it seems to me.....but what do i know? after all, i was never mayor of wasilla. and i do not personally own any assault weapons. Last edited by a moderator: #### deckart these are precious finite resources that need to last a really long time. the price should be high to encourage careful husbandry of them. subsidies could be made available to the poor and needy but for the general user they should be expensive. helllooo??? do we think the goal should be to encourage the wastage of natural resources as quickly as possible? how stupid is that? the injustice seems to be that the profit goes almost exclusively to oil companies that poach off the resources owned by the public. or so it seems to me.....but what do i know? after all, i was never mayor of wasilla. and i do not personally own any assault weapons. Good point. I own assault weapons so let me help you out. You don't have to "husband" natural resources. The market will determine when they are running out. As they wear thin, the price will go up. No need to hold them back. Let the market set the price, not the government by restricting access. #### edward A recently released report indicates that speculation was a definite factor in the oil price surge. I find the third paragraph of this quote to be quite ironic. Co-authored by hedge-fund manager Michael Masters, the report said that from January to May the institutional traders poured$60 billion into commodity markets, causing rapid spikes in crude prices.

After record highs were hit in July, traders yanked their billions to reap huge profits, allowing prices to nosedive and wreak even more damage on the way down for some investors.

Much of the cash used for the heavy betting was said by many portfolio chiefs to have been a result of the hundreds of billions in liquidity the Federal Reserve pumped into Wall Street banks. That cash enabled their big institutional clients to binge on commodities, which they'd traditionally avoided.
.

Edit: The Commodity Futures Trading Commission does not agree with the report. On the other hand if they did agree heads would be rolling.

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#### Mental Gridlock

Harmfull depends on several factors.

What kind or radiation (alpha=not a big problem, beta worse, gamma generally bad)

How radioactive, things with a very long half life (eg. Pu) decay slowly and so only emit very small amounts of radiation. Things with a very short half life (eg. H3) emit a lot of radiation for a brief time but then become harmless quickly.
The bad ones are the half lives similair to a human lifespan.

It's chemical activity. Insoluble Pu or U in granite not a big problem. Radon that you can breathe into your lungs = bad, ceasium/iodine that build up in your body = worse.

Only if they are harmfull.

It's better than other pollutants, mercury and arsenic are still going to be as toxic at the end of the universe. The radioactive waste is getting safer all the time.

The waste problem is made worse by not reprocessing the most active (and therefore the most dangerous but also the most valuable components) for political reasons. But at least the waste is contained and stored. Try removing all the polution and CO2 produced by a coal power station form the atmosphere and storing it until it's no longer harmfull.
You're right.. I shouldn't go off topic anyway.

#### Mental Gridlock

Let the market set the price, not the government by restricting access.
I don't think the government is trying to set the price or restrict access. Looks like they are just trying to protect the environment. And rightfully so.

#### wildman

Good point. I own assault weapons so let me help you out. You don't have to "husband" natural resources. The market will determine when they are running out. As they wear thin, the price will go up. No need to hold them back. Let the market set the price, not the government by restricting access.
I disagree. Our dependence on foreign oil is a National Security issue. The problem is that every one except the Middle Eastern countries and Russia are at or past peak oil. The Arabs and Russia however are not. This means that if that these countries can manipulate the price to destroy our local alternatives (by flooding the market) and then suddenly cut supply to sky rocket the price (that may happen due to a war rather than a deliberate act). This would wreck our economy which needs a steady stream of energy at a predictable price.

Keep in mind, the word is predictable. If we depend only on one or two countries for our supply then it is anything but predictable. The reason the OCS has not been developed up to now has nothing to do with tree hugging or liberals. The Republicans controlled both the Congress and the President for years. They could have overturned the ban at any time. It is because the oil out in the OCS is so expensive that the oil companies didn't want to drill since there was no profit. This was due to the Saudis flooding the market with cheap oil. With no interest from the oil companies the Republicans didn't want to risk the political fallout so they did nothing. Even now they are afraid to invest their money because they are afraid the Saudis will flood the market again and lower prices.

We would be much better off to put a heavy tax foreign oil and create a local PREDICTABLE market for energy even if it cost us more in the short run.

#### Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
This is interesting!

Can Offshore Drilling Really Make the U.S. Oil Independent?
Even if U.S. energy policy goes "drill baby drill," there will be no escape from the vicissitudes of the global oil market
By Emily Gertz
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=can-offshore-drilling-make-us-independent
. . . .

In fact, oil companies have yet to take advantage of the nearly 86 billion barrels of offshore oil in areas already available for leasing and development. So why are they chomping at the drill bit to open up the moratorium waters and survey them anew?

"Oil company stocks are valued in large part based on how much proved reserves they have," says Robert Kaufman, an expert on world oil markets and director of Boston University's Center for Energy and Environmental Studies. Translation: just having more promising leases in hand would be worth billions of dollars.
So it appears that the drive to drill oil is about artificially supporting the value of oil company stocks, and really has little or nothing to do about bringing the oil price down or ensuring oil supply or security of the US. Clearly, more efficient use of current energy supplies is necessary.

. . . .
"Do you think oil companies are going to sell [U.S. oil] to U.S. consumers for anything less than top price?," he asks. "The answer is no."

What if Congress mandated that the offshore oil could not be exported? "The question of how much of that product that comes out, where it goes, I don't think Congress can dictate," industry rep Penniman says. "It goes onto the market. It's a free market system…but it is up to Congress [to pass] the laws on what they will and won't open."

Such a move could in fact increase the nation's energy costs. "Any time you impose a constraint, like 'oil from Alaska cannot go to Japan,'" Kaufman notes, "you're saying, 'don't do the cheapest thing, do something more expensive.' So everybody pays a little more. Where the free market does work very efficiently is to minimize transportation costs" for oil—which are determined by many factors, including the location of the nearest refinery that can handle the particular characteristics of the crude oil being shipped.

Kaufman dismisses as "nonsense" any promises that offshore drilling could make the U.S. "oil independent." Even if it could somehow insulate itself from the ups and downs of the global oil market, he notes, the U.S. would have to make a huge leap in domestic oil production to replace what it buys from overseas.

"At its peak in production, which occurred in 1970s, the U.S. produced about 10 million [barrels of oil] a day," Kaufman says. "Now, after 30 years of fairly steady decline, we produce about five million barrels a day," whereas we consume 20 million barrels daily. "Whoever talks about oil independence has to tell a story about how we close a 15-million-barrel gap."

. . . .

#### mheslep

Gold Member
This is interesting!

Can Offshore Drilling Really Make the U.S. Oil Independent?
Even if U.S. energy policy goes "drill baby drill," there will be no escape from the vicissitudes of the global oil market
By Emily Gertz
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=can-offshore-drilling-make-us-independent
So it appears that the drive to drill oil is about artificially supporting the value of oil company stocks, and really has little or nothing to do about bringing the oil price down or ensuring oil supply or security of the US. Clearly, more efficient use of current energy supplies is necessary.
Note that the first quoted paragraph about leases was an unreferenced claim by the article author, with no connection to the statement by Kaufman the referenced expert.

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