Monday, February 02, 2009

Drill Baby, Drill

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation announced the discovery of a 100 million barrel oil equivalent field in the Gulf of Mexico.

That’s right. Not in Alaska and not in a national forest.

Right there in an oil province that has been exploited for over 50 years now.

The well is said to be over 28,000 feet deep in 5000 feet of water, making it very probably a “subsalt” well.

Not too long ago, the going theory was that when you reached salt in the Gulf of Mexico, you were in “basement rocks” and the party was over. Then someone realized that some of these “basements” were in reality lateral extrusions of salt, much like a volcanic sill. This means there was still sedimentary rocks below the salt.

And the beauty of that was that the salt itself could serve as the seal to trap the hydrocarbons below the salt.

The challenge was figuring out ways to “see” through the salt, but with so much at stake, that technology was soon developed.

Why mention all of this on a liberal political blog?

Last year we were lambasted with “Drill Baby, Drill” by the ones who ultimatly lost the election. And by drilling, they meant drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve or ANWR.

Or offshore California.

Barack Obama in his calmly analytical way offered that maybe we should explore for oil on acreage currently under lease before we start ripping up the tundra.

And existing fields that are played out may, in the future, become productive again with development of enhanced oil recovery methods.

Did you know that some oil deposits only give up 5% to 20% of what is there, leaving the bulk of the deposit behind as “unrecoverable?”

Sure the oil is getting harder to find and more expensive to extract. But the point is, we can and do still find additional reserves in existing oil provinces. As we improve our technology, this should continue.

So let’s dial down the rhetoric and let these self-interested corporations do their jobs.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this HE!

Marsha said...


Thanks for the short but informative explanation on oil recovery. Not being from an oil producing state your blog explains a lot.