02 Sep 2005

$5 Gas and ANWR

Pombo on Wednesday said that because of Hurricane Katrina, gas prices could reach $5 per gallon, according to this article in the Record.
I wouldn't have much of a problem with that if he didn't then go on to try to use the crisis to try to get attention for his energy red herring for political gain:
U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo said Wednesday that gasoline prices could soon reach $5 a gallon because of Hurricane Katrina. ... Pombo suggested that the ongoing fuel crisis should increase support for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a controversial part of President Bush's energy proposal that Pombo has supported as chairman of the House Resources Committee
The USGS “Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 1002 Area, Petroleum Assessment” (link), estimates that the total quantity of technically recoverable oil in the 1002 area is 7.7 billion barrels, possibly as much as 10 billion barrels, given that per barrel prices are high enough to warrant the extra effort, economically. That, however, makes his argument useless, since it assumes that oil prices are high.
So, at US consumption rates of 20 million barrels per day, ANWR could give us a year's worth, possibly more if oil prices stay high. Of course, it would take the better part of a decade to actually get that oil to market, and it depends so heavily on oil being expensive for extraction to even be worth it, that Chevron, BP and Conoco Phillips are not pushing to open it up. In fact, whoever does develop there will be a private company, which will then be free to sell the oil on the open market. Since China is close and is less stringent about refining standards, it may well be sold to them.
The point is that ANWR does not mean energy independence, it means private profit and continued high oil prices.
Here is a good analysis on the issue.
To use the devestation in the Gulf to try to scare people into supporting this deception is just unbelievable.
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