NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 17, 2006

On Tuesday, Mexican President Vicente Fox did what President Bush would like to do if it wasn't for environmentalists and many members of Congress. He climbed aboard a drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico to announce a major new oil discovery that could yield as many as 10 billion barrels. Crude oil production from the site could begin in eight to 10 years, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

Meanwhile, the Energy Information Agency estimates that areas off-limits to energy exploration and production by federal edict contain about 75 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 362 trillion cubic feet of natural gas:

  • Just one area off the Florida coast is estimated to hold more than 6 trillion cubic feet -- enough to heat 4.3 million homes for the next two decades.
  • An estimated 1 trillion recoverable barrels of oil are embedded in mineral deposits in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming -- an amount four times the known reserves of Saudi Arabia.
  • The Athabasca Oil Sands in northwestern Canada are estimated to contain 1.7 trillion barrels.
  • About 70 countries have such deposits and are awaiting economic conditions and technology that would make them feasible to exploit.

The irony here is that in 10 years we might be importing oil from this new Mexican field while proven reserves of oil and gas in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and the Gulf go unexploited. All while we spend money figuring how to run our cars on wood chips and switch grass, says IBD.

If we're running short of anything, it is not energy or resources. Just will and imagination, says IBD.

Source: Editorial, "Minds Over Matter," March 17, 2006.


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