An Alaskan Perspective on “Drill, Baby, Drill”

A friend of mine in Alaska shared his take with me on the “Drill, Baby, Drill” campaign that was so popular in St Paul at the RNC Convention this past week.

He asked that I not use his name since he doesn’t want to face the wrath of a lipstick wearing pit bull, so I guess you could call this an anonymous source. But I can tell you this: He’s a smart dude who knows his stuff on issues like this. And he’s a good friend of mine.

One point that everyone fails to address when it comes to Alaska energy, and more specifically north slope oil and “drill, baby drill” is this. Where is all of this new oil going to go? Are we seriously thinking about filling the 30+ year old pipeline back up to full capacity? If that is the case I believe that what you would end up with would be a 800 mile crude oil sprinkler/slip n’ slide. If that is not the answer (I REALLY hope that it is not. It was designed for a lifespan of thirty years and the not so honorable former Gov. Merkowski fast tracked the re-approval of the permit. And low and behold after that, all the spills happened to start to be reported up there.) What is the answer? A new oil pipeline? I seriously doubt that big oil is gonna pop for a $100 billion + pipeline for the resources that are actually available.

So what is the point? This is the point and feel free to share it with the blogosphere if you like.

US current oil consumption: 20,730,000 barrels a day
Trans Alaska pipeline (PEAK VOLUME 1988): 2,100,000 barrels a day
Current volume : 740,000 barrels a day.

So IF the TAP was full and flowing you would get less than 10% of the daily consumption which IS a decent chunk of the whole. BUT the sucker leaks like a sieve at half capacity so that would be a long shot. If we use the current volume figures then you get a lot less, like 3%. I have a feeling if we looked, and not that hard, we could find 3% of our daily need in oil A LOT closer to the contiguous US.

MY point is it is all a bunch of lip service to pacify uninformed people (surprise, surprise!) when in reality the price of oil will not change and the only long term effect would be longer life of the field for the oil company!

Now if I wanted to take a truly Alaskan view I would say “who gives a fuck as long as my dividend grows.”

Dang, that’s a good point. If you had a bike tire that was oxidized and cracked on an original Schwinn Varsity 10-Speed, you wouldn’t dare pump the tires up to the max. The same goes for the equally old 800-mile pipeline that crosses the pristine wilderness of Alaska.

2 thoughts on “An Alaskan Perspective on “Drill, Baby, Drill””

  1. Actually Big Oil has already taken steps to solve that pipeline delivery problem–with global warming–by the time the arctic drilling will produce anything, they will be able to float oil tankers directly up there.

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