Name: David Shaffer
Hometown: Harleysville, PA
Here’s a thought that I don’t see being investigated or reported on by the MSM. Why is it now that the subject of offshore drilling is such an important issue? Why wasn’t this an issue when oil was $100 a barrel and gas prices broke the $3 a gallon barrier?
It would be interesting to see an analysis of the production cost of a barrel of oil produced from offshore drilling. Is the issue front and center because now, with oil prices at $130-$140 a barrel, it’s finally economically viable for oil companies to drill offshore? And if that is the case, wouldn’t there would be a vested interest on the part of oil companies to keep prices at the $130-$140 a barrel level in order to recoup their investment in offshore drilling? Which means, of course, that gas prices still wouldn’t be going down.
Opening up offshore drilling clearly won’t reduce gas prices in the short term, and it doesn’t seem likely to help in the long term either. Well, let me qualify that — it won’t help consumers. Helping the oil companies is another matter entirely, but isn’t that what government is for?
Name: Mike Wetzel
Hometown: Bartlesville, OK
There is lots of talk on the campaign about the virtue of offshore drilling. McCain says we can drill today if given the go-ahead, by somebody?
He simply does NOT understand the business of drilling. Let’s follow the time line of how this might happen. Let’s say that Congress removes the ban on offshore drilling in the fall, then the individual states must vote on allowing drilling on their coastal areas, this is by no means a given. But for argument sake, let’s say that by next fall some states approve drilling offshore. Then the BLM must nominate the blocks that will be offered to the oil companies, then they distribute maps of these areas and ask for bids, and this takes another year. So we are into the fall of 2010. The oil companies then have to do their homework and do the exploration work to create the areas of best potential for drilling, and then decide if they are even going to bid. Let’s say the several companies do the work and want to bid, now it is the fall of 2011. Now the government must evaluate each bid and decide which oil companies will be awarded leases. Now it is the fall of 2012. Leases are awarded and the winning companies gear up for the exploration phase. First step is to record a 3-D seismic survey over each area of interest, then that survey must be interpreted and any prospects must be evaluated and submitted up the line for approval by management. Another year goes by, and now the companies are ready to submit their prospects to the government for environmental approval. Now it is the fall of 2013, NO drilling as yet, but we are getting closer. Environmental approval is given, now the companies must line up drilling rigs, and mobilize the rigs onto the drilling site. Depending on the depth required to test each prospect for the occurrence of oil, it might take six months to reach the objective oil reservoir. OK, now we are in the fall of 2014, and we have a discovery, enough oil to make the project commercial. Approval of this step will have to go to the board of directors. Now more wells are drilled to determine the true extent of the oil discoveries. Another two years goes by, fall of 2016. The project is now given the final go-ahead, and the production platform is ordered, at least one year goes by to build this platform, more time if the drilling location is in deep water, more than a couple of hundred feet. So finally in the fall of 2017, the platform is in place and begins drilling production wells, the exploration wells are not usually used for production, but can be. Now by the fall of 2018 the first oil is flowing, and this happens if everything goes right in every step along the way (most projects have several delays here and there).
So the true answer to drilling offshore is much more complicated than saying, “Let’s drill today.” McCain needs to be honest to himself first and then to the voters. This is how it is REALLY done in the oil patch!!