An End to Dependence on Middle East Oil

Vinod2070

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March 26, 2009 An End to Dependence on Middle East Oil

By Janet Levy

Over the last 40 years, the United States has become increasingly dependent on foreign oil and reluctant to develop domestic, fossil fuel resources. Today, America imports two-thirds of its oil at a cost of $300 billion per year, much of it from politically unstable, Middle East countries which control 45% of the world's oil, overall.

[FONT=times new roman,times]
[/FONT][FONT=times new roman,times]This is occurring despite the existence of bountiful, untapped oil resources within the United States. Developing these resources could free America from imports, create badly needed, oil-production jobs and meet U.S. energy demand for the next 200 years. With nearly three-fourths of Americans favoring increased energy exploration, the only obstacle standing in the way of our energy independence is a lack of political vision and will. [/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]We need only look to our Canadian neighbors to realize how forging ahead politically to develop oil resources could help increase our energy supplies, boost our sagging economy and increase our tax base. Canada's experience could become our own, if we simply took the initiative and plunged ahead with proven technologies that could release not only oil from the ground, but our country from crippling, energy dependency. [/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]Canada's Oil Sands[/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]Canada supplies more oil to the United States than any other single country in the world. Canadian oil represents 21% of our imports, double that of Saudi Arabia, our nation's second largest oil supplier. But while Saudi Arabia has an estimated remaining 270 billion barrels of oil, Canada's total oil sands resources are placed as high as 2.6 trillion barrels, which includes the Athabasca Oil Sands Deposit in Alberta, the largest petroleum resource in the world. [/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]The successful development of Canada's oil sands arose from a long-term, committed partnership between government and industry focusing together on economic, environmentally sound and technologically innovative methods of oil sand extraction and processing. For over 30 years, the Canadian government worked with the oil industry to conduct research and to foster a financial environment to help support the growth of its oil sands. Government tax incentives and infrastructure construction have significantly benefited the industry, helping transform Canada into an energy super power, creating tens of thousands of jobs and infusing billions of dollars into the economy. [/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]Canadian oil sand production now stands at more than one million barrels per day and is expected to approach 2.5 million barrels per day by 2017. Meanwhile, production costs for Alberta's oil sands declined by as much as 80% between 1980 and 2003, according to the Oil and Gas Journal[/FONT][FONT=times new roman,times][1].[/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]Oil sands resources successfully compete with conventional fuels, achieving high recovery efficiencies, dependable production rates and uniform, high quality products. Federally mandated reclamation requirements have insured that development sites are returned to their natural state. New technologies could further reduce emissions and energy use for production, plus improve water management. [/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]Alberta's oil sands development has demonstrated an effective balance between environmental protection, economic growth and energy security, according to the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI), a non-profit, energy think tank. Every dollar invested in oil sands creates $9 of economic activity, according to the CERI, which estimates the economic benefit of oil sands could reach $885 billion from 2000-2020. [/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]U.S. Oil Shale Deposits[/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]A similar resource exists within the southwestern United States. Oil shale deposits there have a commercial viability comparable and in sufficient magnitude to the Alberta oil sands. In comparison to Saudi Arabia's oil reserves, America's recoverable oil shale resources are nearly three times as large, according to a 2008 report by the Utah Mining Association[/FONT][FONT=times new roman,times][2]. That study affirmed that utilizing U.S. oil shale deposits could provide America with the "potential to be completely energy self-sufficient, with no demands on external energy sources." [/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]Oil shale, a sedimentary rock, contains kerogen, a less evolved form of crude oil. With additional oil-extraction processing, kerogen can be used to produce jet fuel, diesel, gasoline and heating oil. The oil shale extraction process "results in products that are super clean -- even cleaner than super diesel (ultra low sulfur diesel)," according to Dan Kish, senior vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research.[/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]The largest, richest and most concentrated deposits of kerogen are found in the Green River Formation in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. These states comprise respective percentages of 60%, 30% and 10% of the available resources, with sufficient oil shale to meet U.S. energy demand for the next 200 years. [/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]Locked within these oil shale resources are approximately 2 trillion barrels of oil, according to a 2005 report[/FONT][FONT=times new roman,times][3] given to President Bush and the Congress, by the Task Force on Strategic Unconventional Fuels. Depending on technological developments and economic feasibility, an estimated 800 billion barrels of oil could be recovered, three times the proven oil reserves in Saudi Arabia. [/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]Oil shale conversion is a proven technology that has been used in other parts of the world for over 50 years. Since the 1950s, Brazil has used oil shale to produce commercial fuel. Estonia currently derives 85% of its electricity from oil shale and China now produces 1.5 million barrels of shale oil per year. In the United States, shale oil technology has been developing for close to 30 years. It's an energy production process far ahead of techniques for renewables and biomass, with far greater potential to meet U.S. energy needs sooner. [/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]Oil Shale Demonstration Projects[/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]Several companies have experimented with extraction methods that could result in commercial production in the near term, with development price estimates of $30 to $55 per barrel of oil. [/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]Utah-based Red Leaf Resources, which estimates a 100,000 barrel of oil yield per acre, uses an environmentally-sensitive proprietary technology to encapsulate the shale at depths of 60 to 90 feet in a lined capsule. Using natural gas heaters, Red Leaf heats the oil shale and extracts the oil. The depleted shale, an inert inorganic material classified as "non-hazardous" by the EPA, is thus contained in an impermeable shell. In other countries, spent shale has been used for cement manufacturing, construction materials and road base. Reclamation of the land occurs within weeks of completion of the extraction process. Red Leaf currently operates on School and Institutional Trust Lands for its demonstration project, but estimates it can move into limited commercial production within one year without access to federal land. [/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]The Shell Oil Corporation has completed several research and demonstration projects within the Green River oil shale formation over more than 30 years. Shell utilizes a patented, in situ technology. Without mining the rock, Shell heats oil shale formations at depths of 1,000 feet to 650-700 degrees Fahrenheit for three to five years. Heating allows kerogen oil (2/3 of the volume) and gas (1/3) to be released from the shale and brought to the surface using traditional pumps. The process requires no open-pit or subsurface mining, avoids groundwater contamination and does not produce shale waste or other unwanted byproducts. Estimated oil yields using this technology in the kerogen-rich Green River formation are 1 million barrels per acre. [/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]Political Landscape[/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]A June 2008 Zogby poll found that 74% of American voters supported increased energy exploration. The federal government owns 80% of oil shale lands in the United States, the parcels with the richest kerogen deposits. Yet, despite the will of the American people to increase domestic energy supplies and take advantage of these vast resources, politicians have successfully thwarted these desires. Politics has trumped market forces and resource availability to actually decrease American-extracted oil supplies, especially under the new administration. [/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]Championing environmental concerns ahead of economic and national security interests, politicians -- largely Democratic -- have advanced legislation that discourages new development, particularly in offshore areas and for unconventional sources, thereby increasing our dependency on foreign oil. Environmental groups have been allowed to sabotage government-issued leases for exploration. For example, in 2007, Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) added Section 526 to the Energy Independence and Security Act, a clause that banned the use of oil shale and other fossil fuel sources. [/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]Previously, oil shale development seemed to be moving forward. Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Secretary of the Interior was directed to provide an environmental impact statement for a commercial oil shale leasing program on public lands. The Act authorized the acceleration of oil shale development in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming and set up a task force to study the fuel's potential. Following completion of the study, preparation of leasing regulations and the release of the environmental impact statement, six of 19 available leases were made available in November 2008. Bans on leases for oil shale research, development and demonstration projects were rescinded. [/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]But, in February 2009, when Ken Salazar became Secretary of the Interior for the Obama administration, additional lease offers were withdrawn that would have made expansions of existing programs possible. Salazar also called for a reexamination of proposed royalty rates. Although he didn't cancel existing leases, Salazar's announcement appeared to signal that the pace of oil shale development in the United States would be slowed. A 90-day public comment period, followed by a four-month evaluation period prior to any new proposals for a second round of leasing arrangements is now in place. [/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]The current, U.S. administration focus on renewable options, such as wind and solar -- which make up only 1% of current usage -- plus unproven alternatives, such as biomass, will lead to rising dependence on foreign oil and increased opportunity costs at home. Wind farms occupy thousands of acres to produce electricity at seven times the cost of an average, coal-fired plant. Solar cells take up several square miles of land to achieve a similar result. Both rely on unpredictable energy sources, the sun and the wind. [/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]Similarly, an acre of corn yields only five barrels of corn ethanol with an energy yield of less than two-thirds of a gallon of oil. Cellulosic ethanol from grasses yields 800 barrels per acre which a seeming improvement until compared against the yield from oil shale of 100,000 to 1 million barrels per acre. [/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]A report by U.S. Dept. of Energy's Office of Naval Petroleum and Oil Shale Reserves[/FONT][FONT=times new roman,times][4] suggest that the richness and magnitude of America's oil shale resources warrants management as a long-term strategic resource. However, long-term investments must have income flow to encourage investors and new capital. Economic incentives already exist in the free market that lend themselves to the development of resources like oil shale. Government should get out of the way and allow free enterprise to develop this ample resource so that America can achieve greater energy independence and not compromise our national security in the balance.[/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]The cost of developing new technologies and sources needs to be weighed against the heavy cost of further reliance on imported oil. The "hidden cost" of defending oil supplies in the Persian Gulf alone is conservatively estimated at $305 billion annually. [/FONT]

[FONT=times new roman,times]Oil shale development would stimulate the economy with money that would otherwise be spent overseas. It would contribute to our national security and mean that the United States would not have to import hundreds of billions of barrels of oil from the Persian Gulf. With oil sands and oil shale resources , the combined U.S. and Canadian energy supplies would comprise the largest oil reserves in the world and make the United States independent of Persian Gulf oil. [/FONT]
http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/03/an_end_to_dependence_on_middle.html
 

Vinod2070

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It's amazing what the environmentalist mafia and political shortsight can do these days. USA just has to develop it's own deposits and the blackmailing and extortionist prices of the oil mafia will be a thing of the past!

Much of the oil is coming form dictatorships and unstable lands now giving a heady hangover to the bigots and the dictators. The mere announcement from USA that they are going to develop their deposits will bring them to their senses and send the oil prices back to where they belong.
 

EnlightenedMonk

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A welcome technology indeed... when it becomes more affordable and accessible, it'll mean a significant blow to the dominance of the Arabs...
 

Vinod2070

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A welcome technology indeed... when it becomes more affordable and accessible, it'll mean a significant blow to the dominance of the Arabs...
They will be back to riding Camels in no time if the world weans away from their oil.
 

S.A.T.A

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If the oil prices return back to their pre depression era(get used to this) holdings,extracting fuel from oil sands will become more appealing.However it could also be part of western psyops to set the cat about the Arab pigeons,because middle eastern oil wells are still better return for investment and they are still huge and tapping into them is less taxing,politically and economically........Most of the petro dollars have never left American shores,industrially backward Arabs had no option but to invest the money back into the US economy and live off it.

The writing on the wall for oil rich Arab states is clear,keep the prices down.
 

Vinod2070

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^^ Exactly, its all about the market sentiment that can be manipulated easily by the USA. The Bush administration wanted to make profit as it was in the pocket of oil industry. After making a killing, the prices were reverted but can be increased at will.

Its not about supply and demand but about a very few people manipulating the market at will.
 

EnlightenedMonk

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Yes, the Sheikhs have very little control over the cost of oil anymore... I dare say it is all being manipulated by the dealers at NYMEX and other commodities exchanges... this happens due to sheer lack of regulation at these places which means that a lot of unscrupulous dealings make the prices fluctuate rapidly...
 

Yusuf

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Duh!!! They are going to hold their horses till the entire middle east dries up. Then get ready to pay as the americans demand. And also quota to go with it. I always studied in geography that the US holds 26% of world oil reserves, but never uses it. Its all too obvious.
 

amoy

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And development of substitute
-- Within 200-300km range of my hometown a coastal city 1 wind power station on an island completed, 2 nuclear power stations under construction.

The writing on the wall for oil rich Arab states is clear,keep the prices down.
 

sandeepdg

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If the Americans have not developed the immense oil resources available to them even after acknowledging the fact that it can satisfy their energy needs for 200 years, then its plain simple that it is saving them until the Middle Eastern resources dry out say in the next 50-60 years or so. Then they will claim to have the one of largest oil reserves in the world (don't forget Siberia) and will say that now the world should buy oil from them though not all countries actually will, and then will start a new era of American hegemony and the dumb Arabs will be left with nothing other than camels and mules and will have to beg for their very survival !!
 

Vinod2070

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I am not sure they are saving their oil resources for later. At least not as a considered policy.

May be that is how it may turn out as the other oil resources run out and the environment lobby becomes weaker in the face of public opposition.
 

anoop_mig25

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ok if american`s are saving then what hell on the earth is stopping arab countries from saving there oil.plus is proven that america has 26% of oil.i mean is it proven or just theory
 
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US has been moving away from Middle Eastern oil for many years, less than 20% of US oil supply comes from the Middle East. USA also has 727 million barrels of oil as strategic reserves and states like Alaska probably contain 100's of millions of barrels of oil which is untouched for conservation purposes, also many alternative fuels and electric cars are becoming popular and the trend will continue to be to move away from reliance on oil.
 
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sandeepdg

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ok if american`s are saving then what hell on the earth is stopping arab countries from saving there oil.plus is proven that america has 26% of oil.i mean is it proven or just theory
Dude, the Arabs are dependent on their oil for their livelihood !!! If they start saving it, they won't have anything else to trade with the outside world for ! The petro dollars buy them everything they need for the running of their countries i.e. setting up industries, education, health, economic, transportation and defence infrastructure. And they are dependent on the developed countries for all these technologies, who also happen to be their biggest clients for crude oil. Also, Arabs being dumb lack the strategic foresight to plan for the future !! They are just happy living of their new found riches !
 

anoop_mig25

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Dude, the Arabs are dependent on their oil for their livelihood !!! If they start saving it, they won't have anything else to trade with the outside world for ! The petro dollars buy them everything they need for the running of their countries i.e. setting up industries, education, health, economic, transportation and defence infrastructure. And they are dependent on the developed countries for all these technologies, who also happen to be their biggest clients for crude oil. Also, Arabs being dumb lack the strategic foresight to plan for the future !! They are just happy living of their new found riches !
and what would happen once this oil and gas end in near future and as feared by some friends here that usa would start dictating his term to every other country so as to buy their 26% of oil and natural gas(as said but i donot believe in it)
 

VersusAllOdds

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It's amazing what the environmentalist mafia and political shortsight can do these days. USA just has to develop it's own deposits and the blackmailing and extortionist prices of the oil mafia will be a thing of the past!

Much of the oil is coming form dictatorships and unstable lands now giving a heady hangover to the bigots and the dictators. The mere announcement from USA that they are going to develop their deposits will bring them to their senses and send the oil prices back to where they belong.
Whoa man, are you naive? Do you honestly believe that USA would be any less monopolistic than the Arabs or any present oil-lords? Do you believe that anyone would lower the prices if he was able to manipulate them?

Duh!!! They are going to hold their horses till the entire middle east dries up. Then get ready to pay as the americans demand. And also quota to go with it. I always studied in geography that the US holds 26% of world oil reserves, but never uses it. Its all too obvious.
Exactly. There are many oil derricks and oil infrastructures in US (for example in Texas) that are unused. US just sealed the oil flow and started using other countries' oil (they also have quite a few oil platforms in Mexican gulf that they use). Just watch the oil prices when US become the sole supplier...

ok if american`s are saving then what hell on the earth is stopping arab countries from saving there oil.plus is proven that america has 26% of oil.i mean is it proven or just theory
They would probably die of hunger if they started saving oil. What do they have except for sand? Nothing. They basically have no other natural resources at all!
 

Agantrope

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US has been moving away from Middle Eastern oil for many years, less than 20% of US oil supply comes from the Middle East. USA also has 727 million barrels of oil as strategic reserves and states like Alaska probably contain 100's of millions of barrels of oil which is untouched for conservation purposes, also many alternative fuels and electric cars are becoming popular and the trend will continue to be to move away from reliance on oil.
Dude it is Millions or Billions?? Little confused
 

Armand2REP

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If it was financially feasible to turn that shale into barrels of oil, it would have been done. We have already seen the price per barrel at $147, if that isn't enough to spark a move to shale nothing will. We will be in electric cars before it becomes a substitute.
 

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