Drill in Alaska for Oil

Discussion in 'World Events' started by kmguru, Aug 2, 2001.

  1. kmguru Staff Member

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    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives early Thursday morning passed comprehensive energy legislation that adopts the Bush administration's plan to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

    Opening part of the Alaskan wilderness is key to the White House's long-term efforts to boost domestic oil and natural gas supplies, and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil imports.

    The House legislation also includes over $33 billion in tax breaks for the energy industry, funding to promote ``clean coal'' technology and renewable fuels, a small increase in mileage requirements for sport utility vehicles and other energy conservation measures.

    Link: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010802/ts/energy_congress_drilling_dc_5.html

    WHAT DO YOU THINK?
     
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  3. FA_Q2 Member Registered Senior Member

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    We should be tapping our own resources. The US is already braking every law in the book about economics. We need to depend less on other countries for imports or those countries will own us. The drilling in Alaska should be a bit more extensive and it should also be expanded in other states that have oil reserves.
    It is a good sign that the bill was nowhere near partisan lines.
     
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  5. kmguru Staff Member

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    I agree. However, how do you convince the local activists in Texas, Oklahoma, California etc. so that you can drill oil there. They say "not in my backyard". That is the problem...and that is why we are in such a mess. A large chunk of our money and jobs going overseas....
     
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  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    I agree that we should be using our resources

    But why the National Wildlife Refuge? Did we run out of oil in Texas? Or is this, as some media have charged, a case of Texan NIMBY?

    thanx,
    Tiassa

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  8. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

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    An aside, but relavent (I think) ...

    $20-billion pipeline to be biggest private project ever in N. America
    Thousands of kilometres of pipe to bring natural gas to power-hungry markets

    Alan Toulin
    National Post

    Kagan McLeod, National Post


    FROM THE ARCTIC TO CONSUMERS: The natural gas pipeline has two possible routes: along the Alaska Highway, through the Yukon and into Alberta; or under the Beaufort Sea, through the Yukon and Northwest Territories and into Alberta. A new line would then take it to Chicago. The decision on which route to take is turning into a political battle.

    OTTAWA - A planned pipeline to bring huge volumes of Alaska natural gas to market in the United States -- the largest private sector enterprise ever undertaken in North America -- will cost an estimated US$15- to $20-billion and is expected to require the construction of a high-capacity pipeline from Edmonton to Chicago.

    For the first time, a consortium of Alaska gas producers is putting a cost on the mammoth project. Previous estimates by observers had put the price tag at US$10- to $12-billion. The new figures include the cost of building the high-volume pipeline from a site near Edmonton through Saskatchewan to the distribution hub of Chicago.

    "The project cost -- and we've started to use this for the very first time -- is somewhere between US$15- and US$20-billion for the whole ball of wax," said Curtis Thayer, a spokesman for the Alaska gas producers consortium, which includes ExxonMobil, British Petroleum and Phillips.

    The owners of the Alaska gas reserves believe only a massive pipeline, capable of carrying four billion cubic feet of natural gas a day, will make the project economically viable.

    The consortium hopes to complete US$100-million in engineering and other studies and choose a route for the Alaska-to-Alberta portion of the pipeline by the end of the year, Mr. Thayer said.

    The estimated reserves of natural gas in Alaska are 100 trillion cubic feet. Known reserves total 35 trillion cubic feet. It is estimated the gas could supply the American market for 50 to 60 years. In Canada, there is an estimated 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Beaufort Sea.

    There are two routes under consideration for moving the gas from Prudhoe Bay in Alaska to the U.S. market.

    One would travel down an existing land route in Alaska, across the Yukon and into Alberta. This is called the Alaska Highway project. The other route foresees a pipeline buried in a trench across the bottom of the Beaufort Sea, then turning southward and following the Mackenzie River to Alberta. Either route will likely require a new pipeline to be built from Alberta to Chicago to carry the gas to the American market, Mr. Thayer said.

    Canadian gas reserves in the Beaufort Sea potentially could flow through this second proposed project, called the northern route, but Mr. Thayer said the project is being engineered and studied on the basis of bringing only Alaskan gas to the American market.

    Yukon and the Northwest Territories have been lobbying for the route that will bring jobs and economic opportunity to their jurisdictions. The federal government has said it will let the private sector select the most economic route, but at the G8 meeting in Genoa, Jean Chr├ętien, the Prime Minister, indicated to George Bush, the U.S. President, that Canada prefers a Mackenzie River route.

    "We're studying both routes and modelling on both of them. We don't know at this time which route is going to be preferred or if there is an economically viable project there," Mr. Thayer said.

    The Alaska state government is solidly behind the Alaska Highway route. In an attempt to reinforce that message, the government recently passed legislation prohibiting any state agencies from participating in the northern route across the Beaufort Sea.

    "We wish they had not done that," Mr. Thayer said. "If the only economic project is over the top [the northern route], the state will have to decide if there is going to be a pipeline or no."

    A 1977 Canada-U.S. treaty on developing northern gas and the Alaska Highway route is deemed to be inadequate to address the needs of the new project.

    The 1977 Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Act sets out a regulatory framework for building the Alaska Highway pipeline. The initial project involving the private sector did not fully materialize after the energy crisis of the 1970s waned.

    Mr. Thayer said the scale of the project and other issues, such as environmental approvals, may render the treaty inadequate.

    The routing of the pipeline envisioned in the treaty is 25 years old, he said. "We know that the route has changed to a degree. We know that we are going to have to do new environmental impact studies, there is no way the environmental studies done 25 years ago are current today.

    "The technology has changed in that the pipe is larger, the pressure is larger," he said.

    The 1977 treaty limits the pipeline's capacity to 2.5 billion cubic feet a day and does not permit the gas-producing companies to have an ownership stake in the pipeline. "It's a 25-year-old treaty and a 25-year-old process and we need to look at updating it and how it's updated has yet to be determined," Mr. Thayer said.

    The expected extension of the Alaska pipeline from Edmonton to Chicago is also being considered because of the huge volume of natural gas the producers want to take to market.

    "When you bring four billion cubic feet to that hub [Alberta], it's a bit overwhelming. So part of our study is to look to see if there is a need for a new line [to Chicago]," Mr. Thayer said. The existing gas pipeline was built to carry 1.7 billion cubic feet of gas a day and is currently operating at near capacity, he said.

    Facts About Proposed Pipeline:

    Estimated reserves would supply the American market for 50 to 60 years

    Source: Kagan McLeod, National Post
     
  9. wet1 Wanderer Registered Senior Member

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    8,616
    The things that are driving the search for oil in other countries:

    The easy stuff has been gotten already. Now getting oil requires so much expense that most oil companies will not fund the project 100%. They go in partners (called joint venture) with other oil companies so that if it's a bust they don't take all the hit on expense. With shareholders return being a top priorty losing several million to several billion (if things go wrong) can seriously effect the stockholders return which will result in a sell off. This is where most oil companies get the money to do major projects such as exploration.

    We have some of the most strict enviromental laws and complying with the regulations cost big money. And they are enforced. Did you know that if an oil field worker is found willfully violating these laws he can be held personally liable? Some of the penalities run around $50,000 to $250,000 per incidient. So how would you like to make a mistake and find out you owe the government this amount? The oil corporations are starting to look else where due to the "not in my backyard" mentality and the cost of doing business in the United States.

    New finds have been found but they are deep in the earth and most are deep in water depth. Now wells are produced by remote control where the valves are on the sea floor. Another problem associated with the depth is that the temperature is hot for the depth it comes from. Sometimes running 200+ degrees. This requires special materials in the valves and seals to cope with the temperature. Generally the deeper the find the more reseviour pressure has to be dealt with. This also requires special materials and beefed up equipment.

    Most third world countries are happy campers to make a deal for oil. Not only do they get their workers trained, they recieve the royalities for the oil and taxes from their workers. Usually there are a lot of side benefits that go to the host country. Schools, medical facilities, and increased local business where before there were none. In these third world countries is still easy to get to oil. But the political climate is often unstable. This leads to all kinds of problems to deal with. In some places any thing american is in style. So the natives will go out and tear a pipleline apart so that they can hang nuts and bolts on the wall and show their neighbors how "with it" they are. No joke.

    I thought some of our readers might be interested in the other side.
     
  10. wet1 Wanderer Registered Senior Member

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    8,616
    I take issue with this for several reasons.

    1. Naturally occurring seepage creates pollution. This was the way that the deep finds where discovered in the Gulf of Mexico. It seemed when the signatures were looked at that it matched no known existing production. In the interest of public perception, (which always paints the oil industry with Exxon Valdez) several oil companies got together and made a fund pool for study. This was made available to those colleges and universities who wish to use to money to find the source of the problem. To boil down several years of study, it was found that this was coming from the ocean floor, being the path of least resistance, into the gulf stream and then to the surface. No man made cause.

    2. A very regular practice with shipping is to pump their bilge at night. This is illegal within the US borders. Still it occurs on a regular basis. very regular, as to the tune of every night.
    So how much can be in bilge? We're talking ships, not pleasure boats. I have personally seen miles of oil slick, not generated by the oil platforms in the area, but floating through the general vicinity from the shipping lane that lies near.

    3. Very few people know that the MMS (Mineral Management Service) and the USCG (United States Coast Guard) make overflights with special helicopters at night. These craft are specially designed to be quiet. They are equipped with side scanning radar and infrared cameras that will detect and photograph any release of oil upon the water's surface. The offending party will then be fined a hefty sum of money.

    4. Rules and regulations are not static. They change. Always more stringent. To show an example of this, take the policy of dumping produced water, which comes from oil production, as the water is an unsellable product. It must first be processed to remove any oil film that might remain in the water itself. Now we're not talking drops of oil here, we're talking ppm's (parts per million) Every three years the regulations governing what is allowable (already cleaner than the water it is being dumped into) are tightened. At present, if memory serves me correct it is 25 ppm's. This may or may not sound like a large amount depending upon the experience of the reader. I assure you that it is infinitely small and requires special equipment just to detect. Further, third party lab work is required to verify that these standards are being met.

    5. Everyone loves to bash big oil. Like politics it is, shall we say, controversial. But I submit to you that without the oil we would be in dire straights. This is not to say right or wrong. This is to say that the world's energy at present comes from this product. Until the need is no longer there then you, I, and all others who enjoy electricity, mobility, and just general stuff like a warm home and the plastic that you get when you buy anything contained within it, are acceptable. You say so everytime you buy a product which contains these materials.
     
  11. FA_Q2 Member Registered Senior Member

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    264
    " However, how do you convince the local activists in Texas, Oklahoma, California etc. so that you can drill oil there. "

    That is a problem that really needs to be addressed as it is ignorance to drill in a national reserve without at least trying to get it elsewhere. We need to drill in Alaska, but we also need to drill other places.
     
  12. wet1 Wanderer Registered Senior Member

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    8,616
    To a limited extent California has been convinced in that there are now platforms offshore. Texas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming have oil production. Talk to Florida as one who needs the convincing. They have huge large amounts of gas reserves in the state but so far it has been very restricted in any amounts of production.
     
  13. Crisp Gone 4ever Registered Senior Member

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    1,339
    Something I heard in the news here

    Hi all,

    Yesterday I heard on the news that the oil in Alaska would only be able to supply the energy needs of the US for 6 months, and that it would take 10 years before the oil would actually be available.

    If this is true, then why even bother polluting a large area of pure nature ? Six months is peanuts (and totally irrelevant to the "the US shouldn't depend on other countries" argument). So, is this really a gift from Bush to the industry, and is he re-establishing his connections with his old buddies and interests in the oil industry ?

    Bye!

    Crisp
     
  14. FA_Q2 Member Registered Senior Member

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    264
    " Yesterday I heard on the news that the oil in Alaska would only be able to supply the energy needs of the US for 6 months, and that it would take 10 years before the oil would actually be available.

    If this is true, then why even bother polluting a large area of pure nature ? Six months is peanuts (and totally irrelevant to the "the US shouldn't depend on other countries" argument). So, is this really a gift from Bush to the industry, and is he re-establishing his connections with his old buddies and interests in the oil industry ?
    "


    Where did you hear that? It will take many years to get the oil, I'm not sure how long exactly but 10 years does not sound to far off. However 6 months is not even close. The amount of oil expected to be in that reserve is estimated in trillions of cubic feet. That is enough fuel to support the country for 60-70 years. I believe that is operating under our current efficiency as well. In 70 years we most likely wont even be using oil anymore. The oil there is defiantly worth it. I've also heard that major oil companies are contributing to the cost of pumping it. Not a lucrative business move if it is only 6 months worth.
     
  15. kmguru Staff Member

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    Natural gas is much more environmentally friendly than oil.
     
  16. FA_Q2 Member Registered Senior Member

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    264
    " Natural gas is much more environmentally friendly than oil."

    Unfortunately it is not as consumer friendly.
    Ever ride in a natural gas car!!
    I don't even believe there is enough natural gas to serve societies needs.
     
  17. kmguru Staff Member

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    If you want to heat your house, you basically have two choices. Electricity or Natural Gas. In case of electricity you need fuel that either runs a steam or gas turbine which runs a generator which produces electricity that is transmitted to your home. In other words a lot of energy wasted by the time it gets to your home.
     
  18. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

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    2,235
    Hey, FA_Q2 ...

    Take a look at my 8/02 post at the top of the previous page ... they're talking 40 to 50 year supply.
    Natural gas is virtually odorless. What you're smelling is a additive to let you know there's a leak.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2001
  19. wet1 Wanderer Registered Senior Member

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    I do not remember the trade name but I have always heard it called skunk juice. It is a very powerful oderant that alerts you to the presence of natural gas. It is required by state law in most places. Spill a drop on yourself and you will instantly know why it is called such.

    Natural gas in its natural form sometimes has an odor other sources do not. When it is mixed, scrubbed to remove particulate, dried to remove water, refined to remove condensate and other light end volatiles it loses that odor. This is why you must have the skunk juice. If you have a gas leak under your house and can not, without equipment detect it, guess what happens with a pilot light on?
     
  20. kmguru Staff Member

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    The additive that is used to give natural gas its foul smell is, I think, Methyl Mercaptan (CH3SH). The smell comes from the sulphur bond and is designed to protect human lives by announcing its presence. It is fatal to breath natural gas since there is no Oxygen in it. And if you smoke...well...
     
  21. wet1 Wanderer Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,616
    The hot coal of a cigarette will not ignite natural gas, not hot enough. But the lighter itself is another matter. Now that you have mentioned it, you are indeed correct. It is Methyl Mercaptan. And foul indeed is the concentrated form before it is thinned for common use.
     

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