Casaubon's Book

Sadly, he’s not alone, which is why this is worth debunking. Gingrich’s sense that oil fields can be brought rapidly online, and his “we beat the Nazis and went to the moon so we can do this” statements reflect the general cultural misunderstandings about how oil is extracted that are endemic in our culture. While his claim that we could “open up enough oil fields in the next year that the price of oil worldwide would collapse. Now, that’s what we would do if we were a serious country.” is a bit of idiocy, it probably isn’t atypical idiocy in a country that knows nothing about the basic geology that underlies just about everything. The only difference is that Gingrich has had every opportunity to learn better, and most Americans haven’t.

Fortunately, Art Berman has a lovely riposte at The Oil Drum:

The U.S. would have to increase field production by more than double current production to become oil independent by increasing domestic production to 14.8 Mbopd. Even peak production in 1970 of 10,000 bopd would only meet 68% of current crude oil consumption. To bring about a collapse in world oil prices, as Mr. Gingrich suggests, would mean increasing U.S. production by substantially more than this.

Maximum daily production from Prudhoe Bay Field, the largest in the United States, was 1.5 million bopd in 1979 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prudhoe_Bay_Oil_Field). Mr. Gingrich suggests that we can find more than six additional Prudhoe Bay-sized fields in one year. Prudhoe Bay was discovered in 1968, did not begin production for 11 years, and did not reach peak production until 13 years after its discovery. But Mr. Gingrich thinks that there are many Prudhoe Bay fields waiting to be found that can be at explored, developed and brought to peak production in one year.

I often don’t bother arguing with the “Drill, Baby, drill” folks – the reason is that while I think they are misguided and their lack of understanding of the possibilities of US oil are embarassing, they also have a point – as we get further down the energy curve, most of our available energy resources will be exploited if it is economically viable to recover the oil or the gas. It simply will happen – environmental sensitivity will not be a major factor.

As you may remember, I’ve argued before that Americans will cheerfully shovel live baby harp seals into their furnaces, while explaining to the themselves that live baby harp seals enjoy being burned alive if that’s what it takes to keep them warm and their economy running. Drilling in ANWR, running pipelines across just about anything, or burning coal despite the climate impact are not things that most people will give up – GIVEN no accessible alternative. Most present-day considerations of environmental sensitivity for most Americans are considerations from a position of comfort and security. We can say that “drill baby, drill” is misguided position because we aren’t short of energy – yet. The category of people who are prepared to give up their cars and other luxuries in order to protect the abstract “environment” is actually quite small.

My guess is that what will also happen is that much of the oil that Gingrich imagines is out there and would love to see extracted is that it won’t be economically viable to extract or move it – or that it will go elsewhere, as in the case of the the energy resources that would have travelled down the Keystone pipeline, which will now mostly go to China in all likelihood.

All of which sounds cynical, doesn’t it? The funny thing is that it is and it isn’t. I’m the great believer that people can and will change their lifestyles – and I believe strongly that if baby harp seals aren’t the only choice, people will happily skip the awkward self-justifications for evil. Most of us, raised as slave owners would probably prefer to believe we would have been ardent abolitionists, but that’s probably not true. Instead, we too would have parrotted the repulsive justifications for things that are deeply immoral but that are economically necessary. That is, once we depend on something, the justifications are already in place for all sorts of moral failings.

Imagine it the other way, however – who wants to be the first person to start keeping slaves? If doing something is simply unthinkable, rather than economically necessary, it gets much harder. This is where, I think the possible ground for imagining a future that doesn’t have a “drill, baby, drill” ethos begins – imagining a way of life that people can enjoy and participate wholly in that isn’t dependent on the burning of every resource you can get your hot little hands on. Make it possible to live on an electrical budget made up wholly of much more limited renewables and lower-impact generation, and you can imagine a decent future. Make it possible to do what you need to do without burning the harp seals, and the pressure to drill gets lower, you go after the hard-to-get oil later, and the chance of it staying in the ground and caribou getting to migrate get a lot better.

All of which is just a long digression on Art’s article, but it does, to me, at least, point up the need to do two simultaneous and deeply inter-related things. First, to give our nation a basic education on how energy works. Most of us never learned, and we have to now. The second is to begin the hard work of developing a way of life that doesn’t force us into the self-justification of evil that accompanies a desperate desire to keep things going. Neither is easy. Both are necessary. It might also help to have a president who was energy literate, but we can’t hope for miracles ;-).

Sharon

Comments

  1. #1 ChasVoice
    November 28, 2011
  2. #2 steve
    November 28, 2011

    Just for fun looked at your source, wikipedia. says production was at 2 billion barrels, not 1.5. Also, production began in 1977, 9 years later not 11. The delay was due to the need to construct the Alaska oil pipeline.

    That’s what your source says. Not your article. Bad book report.

  3. #3 Sharon Astyk
    November 28, 2011

    Actually, you didn’t read carefully – total Prudhoe Bay is 1.5 billion – 2 is the cumulative north slope figures. The other is correct.

    Sharon

  4. #4 steve
    November 28, 2011

    You didn’t read my comment carefully, or thoughtfully. I didn’t state “Purdhoe Bay production.” What was my purpose?

  5. #5 Marlin Covert
    November 28, 2011

    Sharon, You sound like a democrat and environmentalist in too many ways. If we were attacked and had a major war what do you think would happen to our oil drilling? We must do likewise and we can be self sustaining in a couple three years easily. To be dependent on the middle east is so stupid its sickening, The EPA must have their wings clipped. These radical idiots want us to fail I swear. Environmentalist….I have a another place they can go and it isn’t cold there either. Put a stop to any law suits like we would in war time involving this great countries welfare. If the middle east oil is stopped we are helpless and that will happen when the middle blows up which it will do with Iran’s intentions.

  6. #6 Marlin Covert
    November 28, 2011

    We were broke in 1941 just like we are now and look how quick we got going to gear up for War. We can do it again as we are just about in the same position as then. There is no excuse for piddling around…..we need a good strong leader in Washington that can get things done……not someone who seems to want to destroy us so we will go to Socialism which has never worked anywhere. We must clean out most of the elected people as they are corrupt and have forgotten what is best for our Nation. It may take a REVOLUTION to achieve this goal. It wouldn’t take long as we all have guns. The framers realized this which is why we have the second amendment to the CONSTITUTION!!!!!!!!

  7. #7 Stephen B.
    November 28, 2011

    BTW, This Steve is not me, Stephen B., if that is not already clear.

  8. #8 NJ
    November 28, 2011

    Marlin Covert @ 5:

    We must do likewise and we can be self sustaining in a couple three years easily.

    From the OP, which quoted another blog:

    Even peak production in 1970 of 10,000 bopd would only meet 68% of current crude oil consumption.

    and:

    Mr. Gingrich suggests that we can find more than six additional Prudhoe Bay-sized fields in one year.

    Reading for comprehension. Always a good place to start.

    Marlin Covert @ 6:

    The framers realized this which is why we have the second amendment to the CONSTITUTION!!!!!!!!

    Quick! Some new tinfoil for the man’s hat!

  9. #9 TTT
    November 28, 2011

    @Marlin Covert: All oil is Middle Eastern. As long as we depend on oil, we will depend on Middle Eastern oil. They have the most so they get to set the prices, it’s as simple as that. Geology is not democratic.

    You may continue blaming environmentalists and liberals regardless. I’m sure it’s the best you can do.

  10. #10 dean
    November 28, 2011

    martin: the one country that supplies us with more oil than any other is canada (mexico seems to be second). find some other paranoid bit of ignorance to rant about (I’m guessing it won’t be hard: you sound like the type that has plenty of unsupportable statements at the ready).

  11. #11 Jason
    November 28, 2011

    Liberal Hack.

  12. #12 dean
    November 28, 2011

    Jason, it must be rough having reality constantly at odds with the way you want the universe to operate.

  13. #13 Ford
    November 28, 2011

    Good post. I agree that we (or someone) will probably burn all the oil and coal unless we come up with a better alternative first, despite the environmental consequences. But if we wait a bit, prices will be high enough that we will be able to afford more pollution controls and such.

  14. #14 Brad K.
    November 28, 2011

    Sharon,
    but we can’t hope for miracle

    Of course we can, and should, hope for miracles! But I do agree that we dare not count on them.

    @ Marlin Covert,

    The Peak Oil argument goes that world production has passed, or soon will the point that most of the easily accessible oil has been discovered and is in production. As fields mature, as the production removes the most easily obtained amounts, it takes more expensive drilling, at ever increasing costs, to maintain production. Middle East fields were reputed to break even at $18 a barrel, loaded onto a ship, about 2000, if I recall the numbers and dates. in 2009 that number was closer to $58.

    Peak Oil also contends that there are two parts to the “cheap energy” factor that is now threatened, the “cheap” part. We likely won’t see any world producer dropping below the price of Middle East oil, at least in my lifetime.

    A year ago the reports were that we were discovering oil in new fields at 1/4th the rate that we are burning it. That doesn’t sound like finding new fields will be a bright spot on the horizon. China and other nations made news last year for contracting decades of production from new fields. That won’t be dropping prices or delivering oil the the US, either.

    There are lots of fields off the coast lines that have been reserved for specious reasons as well as real reasons, to put money in various pockets, to protect tourism and various special interests, etc. The fact that they aren’t in use this year doesn’t mean they won’t be available in future decades, and President Obama might possibly be trying to reserve as much of the oil under the US for the future as he can. He could also be venal and corrupt, intending enrich the few at cost to the many, he hasn’t explained himself to me.

    Traditionally many Republican donor want to here that their investments in oil will continue making them richer. I haven’t seen much deeper integrity from Mr. Gingrich than that. And recall, the phantom enemy is a much-favored political tactic; convince the voter there is something threatening that the politico has an answer for (pay not attention to the man behind the curtain). Gingrich cares nothing about whether the oil numbers add up, if he can add up votes and donations.

    Please, don’t let deceptive rhetoric, even here, persuade you to accept deception and false dreams.

  15. #15 RichBarnett
    November 28, 2011

    The sovereign territory of the United States holds approx. 3 to 4 trillion barrels of easily recoverable oil. Most of this oil sits under National Parks. The Green River Basin (formation) contains upwards of 1.5 trillion barrels.

    The new SSBN replacement for the current Ohio boats will keep that oil safe for the next 40 years.

    The USA has so much oil we’ll be selling twice our consumption at some point in the next 15 years. Bet your life on it.

  16. #16 Sharon Astyk
    November 29, 2011

    I think it is funny that folks think I’m a liberal or a Democrat – I’m very much not. A leftist, yes, but those are very different things. Still, I can understand how they get confused in an America without a meaningful left.

    Sharon

  17. #17 Rebecca
    November 29, 2011

    FWIW, I think Gringrich understands oil better than he lets on. That speech was all about politics, not reality. The two diverged a long time ago in this country.

    Sharon -I have the same problem, constantly; people are always assuming things about my political opinions that aren’t true.

  18. #18 Anime DVD UK
    November 29, 2011

    I wholeheartedly agree, especially about the brutality of man when the chips are down. Nothing as cold as the human heart.

  19. #19 NJ
    November 29, 2011

    RichBarnett@14:

    The sovereign territory of the United States holds approx. 3 to 4 trillion barrels of easily recoverable oil. Most of this oil sits under National Parks. The Green River Basin (formation) contains upwards of 1.5 trillion barrels.

    The Green River formation in WY, CO & UT contains approximately 1.5 trillion barrels of oil locked up in solid form in oil shales, which are in no way easily recoverable.

    Very little oil sits under national parks; a relatively small amount (compared with Middle East reserves) is believed to exist under the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

    Proven reserves in the US are on the order of 21 billion barrels, with on the order of 134 billion additional barrels of technically recoverable prospective resources. I don’t have time to look up the most recent numbers, but these numbers from Wikipedia are probably within about 10-15% of them.

    This makes you not just 0 for 3 on your statements, but off by an easy factor of 20 or so.

    The USA has so much oil we’ll be selling twice our consumption at some point in the next 15 years. Bet your life on it.

    About the only safe bet here is that you are horrifically misinformed and too gullible to figure it out. Next time ask a geologist about geology, not an email from your wife’s cousin’s business partner’s next-door neighbor.

  20. #20 anandine
    November 29, 2011

    There will come a time when oil is much scarcer than it is now, and only a few countries have oil in the ground. When that happens, oil will be very, very expensive and likely a cause of war. When that happens, we will be very, very glad that we are one of the countries that can still drill its own. We should cap all our wells and use other people’s oil until they run out, and then use our own.

  21. #21 mk
    November 29, 2011

    @ anadine…

    What do we do when ours runs out?

  22. #22 Composer99
    November 29, 2011

    Yeah, let’s burn all the available oil in the US. Why not dig up and burn all the available coal, too?

    It’s not like that would result in further enhancement of the already unprecedented greenhouse gas forcing & resulting climate shift currently going on.

    It’s not like the resulting melting Greenland & Antarctic ice sheets will force us to overspend on protecting vulnerable coastal regions and then eventually give it up as a bad job once sea levels rise too much.

    It’s not like the resulting collapse of ocean ecologies due to an unprecedented acidification in the ocean will drastically cut down on ocean-based food supply for hundreds of millions.

    Oh, wait…

  23. #23 clew
    November 29, 2011

    Even ignoring *all* the ecological problems, it’s dumb to drill our last oil until we know what we’re going to do next. Until we’ve planned the next energy infrastructure, and until we’re building that infrastructure, using our current oil leaves us no better off and even more at a disadvantage against countries who haven’t dead-ended themselves.

  24. #24 Greenpa
    November 29, 2011

    Your post title, “Newt doesn’t understand oil”, could be taken, by inference, to suggest that there is something Newt DOES understand.

    I’m puzzled! What evidence can you present?
    :-)

  25. #25 simon
    November 29, 2011

    Entertaining to notice the following:
    Sharon provides a taste of a very little tinny tiny drop of geology and resource limits and she gets delusional-name-calling responses. Greer’s ArchDruid and Mobus’ QuestionEverything blogs are SO right.

    Exasperating and also disheartening to see, here and at other varied forums, such a large percentage of Americans informed only by corporate newspeak and newz-tainment bits.
    And these are people with access to information and research practically for free. Instead they’re zombiefied to consume and further to react to anyone showing any grasp on reality –much like zombies go into a frenzy at sensing brains nearby.

    I would have called such responses un-American just a few years ago, but now realize all that time I was only over-stylizing America, much like the Japanese do on their manga of a perfect and beautiful Japan.

    Japan is alluded to in the hopes that some here will dig a bit through their superficial grasp of the revisionist history they’ve learned and find how Japan and WWII was all one big massive petroleum and coal war and the attempt to secure the few places outside of the United States (i.e. southeast Asia and Russia) known to have these largely untapped at that time. So, don’t think for a minute petroleum wars will happen, they already have, WWII not being the only one.

    Am not stunned at the depths of populist-ignorance-of-the-reactionary-kind Newt is willing to plumb for, is like his only interest is for zombies, much like mine is ;-).
    But am startled that in America in 2011 we have a Newt running for public office. A Newt whose personal choices and character is narcissist at best, and most resembles others in our recent past who’ve taken humanity on to very dark years of inhumane violence and self-destruction. He’s not the only one of that lot that seem bent on taking us there.

    Here we stand at the edge once again and is like the sacrifices of the Great Generation were for nothing. But well…given much has been watered-down and revised in our history it is likely the ‘sacrifice’ and the ‘Great Generation’ were simply newspeak tools of the political structure of the time [like so much else is today].

  26. #26 RichBarnett
    November 29, 2011

    Hi number 14 in NJ.

    You cite an open forum online encyclopedia to refute my facts and insult the truth?

    80% of oil shale in the Green River Basin rests under Federal land. Prove that factual statement wrong. I’ll save you the effort: you can’t.

    Are you under some impression that National Federal Park system was founded so you could hike and go on nature walks? Sorry, you’re not a serious person and you know it.

  27. #27 NJ
    November 29, 2011

    RichBarnett@26:

    Glutton for punishment you are.

    You cite an open forum online encyclopedia to refute my facts and insult the truth?

    I did note that the actual numbers may vary somewhat. If you have evidence that the actual totals are more than 20X higher, let’s see it. Oil industry or USGS numbers only, not Glenn Beck, bucko.

    80% of oil shale in the Green River Basin rests under Federal land.

    BLM land is not a National Park. Apparently you can’t even read your own posts…

    Are you under some impression that National Federal Park system was founded so you could hike and go on nature walks?

    From nps.gov:

    Since 1916, the American people have entrusted the National Park Service with the care of their national parks. With the help of volunteers and park partners, we are proud to safeguard these nearly 400 places and to share their stories with more than 275 million visitors every year.

    So far all you have done is demonstrate that your education wasn’t serious.

    Come back when you need more public humiliation!

  28. #28 Composer99
    November 29, 2011

    RichBarnett:

    You haven’t cited any supporting documentation whatsoever to back up either your claim of fact or what appears to be an inferred conspiracy theory regarding the US national park system so I think NJ’s way ahead of you even with Wikipedia.

  29. #29 RichBarnett
    November 29, 2011

    The U.S. government controls 72% of all U.S. oil shale acreage (1)

    In 1910, Congress passed the Pickett Act which was inmediately signed into law by then Predident Taft. From 1910 to 1925 the Navy developed the Naval Petroleum and Oil Shale Reserves Program. The program became official in 1927. President Roosevelt expanded the scope of the program in 1942 as the U.S. geared up for war with Japan and Germany. (2)

    (1), (2). source: US Congressional Record. http://www.US.gov.

    Oil Shale and Oil Sands are easily recoverable at $70+ PPB.

    So you either believe in Peak Oil and therefore must accept that this oil will be extracted, or you don’t. No false choice there.

  30. #30 RichBarnett
    November 29, 2011

    lol @ “inferred conspiracy theory”

    “As not only the largest owner of oil lands, but as a prospective large consumer of oil by reason of the increasing use of fuel oil by the Navy, the Federal Government is directly concerned both in encouraging rational development and at the same time insuring the longest possible life to the oil supply.” – Message to Congress by President Taft, December 6, 1910. (3)

    “You are authorized to proceed immediately with negotiations toward the purchase, if possible, of all lands lying within the geologic structure in which naval petroleum reserve No. 1 is located.” Letter from President Roosevelt to the Secretary of Navy, March 21, 1942 (4)

    source (3),(4): US.gov http://fossil.energy.gov/programs/reserves/npr/npr-90years.html

  31. #31 NJ
    November 29, 2011

    It is now roughly 9:35 EST on 11/29/2011; I seem to have a comment from earlier in the evening stuck in moderation. Upon such a time as our gracious host can permit it to be added (or it becomes clear that the servers have eaten it and I regenerate it), a reply to RichBarnett will appear.

  32. #32 Lewis
    November 29, 2011

    Sharon -
    “. . . . as we get further down the energy curve, most of our available energy resources will be exploited if it is economically viable to recover the oil or the gas.”

    The caveat “if it is economically viable” is pivotal here. Given that the US DOE graph of April 2009 as used by EIA showed a shortfall by 2018 in all-sources global oil supply of ~21% off conventional consumption growth (about 15% below current supply),
    and that a rising fraction of output is being used in producer nations thus further cutting internationally traded supplies,
    the resulting higher prices and impoverishment of highly oil-dependent economies imply a serious lack of global demand for high priced oil from remote or difficult reserves –
    as well as an intractable lack of investor confidence in their 10-year development schedules.
    Deep-water, arctic and tar-shales may all prove utterly uneconomic under those conditions in 2018, which is now just seven years away.

    A more descriptive statement might thus be:
    “as much of our available energy resources will be exploited as it is economically viable to recover under conditions of severe economic decline.” This dynamic is plainly already active – even with oil prices holding at the highest for longest ever, there is no sign of new affordable supplies raising the global output faster than massive old fields are being depleted.

    With my thanks for your insights – and your perseverance -

    Lewis

  33. #33 Wow
    November 30, 2011

    > much like the Japanese do on their manga of a perfect and beautiful Japan.

    Though they are quite content to have a japan ruled by a military whose heads, apparently avuncular, are wholly corrupt.

    They got seriously gypped by those in charge they trusted.

  34. #34 Neil Craig
    November 30, 2011

    Newt is right. What critics haven’t realised is that the oil price is affected by speculation. In recent years the price went from $30 a barrel to $140 not because demand had tripled but because of what appeared to be a rising trend and people therefore kept back supplies. If the US changed the rules to allow more drilling long term, as would presumably happen under President Gingrich it would create a correct expectation that prices were on the way down. If the king of Saudi Arabia has to decide whether to sell more or less at the current price his decision is likely to be different if he expects next year’s price to be $30 than if he expects it to be $150.

  35. #35 Wow
    November 30, 2011

    No, critics realise that speculation changes price offers.

    Please prove that the only reason why prices went from $30 to $140 was the rising trend (of what? price rises? you have an ouroboros there.).

    The US could not have gained shale oil unless price of oil rose because it costs more to get it out.

    The rest of your post is just wishful thinking.

  36. #36 RichBarnett
    November 30, 2011

    “If government ownership of land and natural resources was the best way to protect the environment, then we should have found a Garden of Eden in the Soviet Union after the Iron Curtain came down.  Instead, there was one environmental horror story after another.” – Sen. Malcom Wallop, WY

    Fact: Adjusted for inflation, the average PPB for oil since 1879 or so has been $29.

    Fact: Oil Shale; even the deep waxy stuff in the Green River Basin can produce 1mm barrels per acre.

    Fact: There will be no Black Sunday this time. Oil has not reverted to the mean.

    Fact: Hubbarts Peak Oil theory demands that Shale and Oil Sands will be brought to the market for generations. The PV of these reserves approaches 500 Trillion dollars.

    How much do we owe China?

    Fact:

  37. #37 Wow
    November 30, 2011

    “Fact: Adjusted for inflation, the average PPB for oil since 1879 or so has been $29.”

    So that was a massive amount of inflation in the 2000′s, then..!

    “How much do we owe China?”

    How much do you owe your future?

    And it’s not how much you owe China, it’s how much you’re responsible for.

    How many facts did you manage there?

    Fact:

  38. #38 RichBarnett
    November 30, 2011

    Lots of snark and little substance. Facts are stubborn things to ignorant folks.

    Once more time for the ignorant: 72% of oil located within the sovereign territory of the United States in all forms rests under Federally owned lands.

    80% of all oil forms contained in the Green River Basin is owned by the Federal Government.

  39. #39 Wow
    November 30, 2011

    Yes, you managed no substance.

    Putting “Fact:” in front of something doesn’t make it a fact.

    But I note you didn’t address the revelation of your strawman about China. It’s not what you owe THEM. It’s what damage you’ve done.

    Who cares if China goes last if we’re all sunk? NOBODY.

    Given you haven’t defended those “Fact:”s, you concede they’re made up about what you owe china and the price of oil has been $29 inflation adjusted?

  40. #40 RichBarnett
    November 30, 2011

    You must be the life of any party you attend. And, by life, I mean the hired clown.

    What sort mind creates a syllogism where actual claims have been conceded without any sort rebuttal of those facts? I’m not going out on any limb here assuming you’ve never participated in any CEDA style Debate?? I demand proof of your high school diploma STAT.

  41. #41 Composer99
    November 30, 2011

    RichBarnett:

    You’ve done well in actually going and finding some sources of information.

    They don’t seem to go anywhere to substantiating your claims in your comment #14, which were the ones in dispute, though.

  42. #42 Wow
    December 1, 2011

    “What sort mind creates a syllogism where actual claims have been conceded without any sort rebuttal of those facts?”

    You?

    Your claim about oil prices was countered with the requirement for a 80% inflation rise between 1995 and 2005 (ish). Actual history shows this hasn’t happened.

    You remain quiet and repeat your canards, therefore the facts described remain undisputed and are therefore accepted.

    Your claim it was about how much you owe china was shown to be false.

    Again, no refutation, the point stands.

  43. #43 Neil Craig
    December 1, 2011

    Wow’s alternative to evidence is to demand proof of others to a level that wil satisfy him (when given he never acknowledges the fact but merely comes up with another poinjtless question. This is known as moving the goalposts and widely recognised as an invalid form of argument . However this time he has exceeded himself with

    “Please prove that the only reason why prices went from $30 to $140 was the rising trend (of what? price rises? you have an ouroboros there.).”

    Anyone reading my previous post wil see thast the point I was making was that oil prices did not rise from $30 to $140 purely because of a trend but because of speculation & therefore that an expectation of falling prices would do the same in reverse. Wow, insofar as he has anyn idea what point he is making, seems to have now accepted that that is true and indeed nobody now feels able to dispute that Newt was correct.

  44. #44 Wow
    December 1, 2011

    What claims have you made that have had ANY proof?

    None.

    “Anyone reading my previous post wil see thast the point I was making was that oil prices did not rise from $30 to $140 purely because of a trend…
    Posted by: Neil Craig | December 1, 2011 8:30 AM”

    “Fact: Adjusted for inflation, the average PPB for oil since 1879 or so has been $29.
    Posted by: RichBarnett | November 30, 2011 7:27 AM”

    So either you’ve a sockpuppet in Rich, or nobody was talking to you.

  45. #45 dean
    December 1, 2011

    Looking for oil price data is an interesting journey. You run across such fascinating tidbits as “half the time prices were below the historic median…” – must have been written by someone who uses Excel for statistical analysis.

    A big problem comes from the price restrictions here in the US in the early 70s. If you look at data since then average price for US oil would be about $35, the world average about $38. At the end of 2009 the price was about $57 (all adjusted to 2010 dollars).

    The only hard data i found to save and examine is for US oil prices since 1946 (limited use I know). Prices, raw and adjusted for inflation, were incredibly flat until about 1970 – then things get interesting and variability skyrockets. The peak 5-year moving average is about $82, in 1984. In 2010 it was about $68.70, and the forecast for 2011 was $71.8 (lower limit $43, upper limit $100. As I said, lots of variability in this series). The last time prices were consistently below the $30 mark was during the 90s when some communist was in office here in the states. They began trending upward right around 2000, and other than a drop in 2008 have continued to do so.

    Again, these are for US prices since WWII only – I haven’t found a world-wide data set, or one that extends past WWII. I’ve seen charts for the latter, but nothing else. Maybe when I’m done giving tests I can look more carefully.

  46. #46 TTT
    December 1, 2011

    Rich Barnett @36: that’s a silly strawman statement. You don’t have to have government ownership of resources to protect the environment. Rather, you have to have….

    ….wait for it, this will blow your mind….

    …PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT to protect the environment!

    The USSR had no environmental restrictions of any consequence and gave industry a completely free hand to pollute as much and as quickly as possible. And before about 1940, the U.S. was exactly the same. If U.S. industries had done the right thing, we wouldn’t have required federal agencies to compel it of them. Instead, anti-government activists always dream up an ever faster race to the bottom. They never propose their own constructive plans before attempting to demolish the protections we already have on the books.

  47. #47 Wholesale Sunglasses
    December 1, 2011

    Gingrich needs the “find oil” app. for his iphone

  48. #48 Neil Craig
    December 2, 2011

    Anyone can see that Wow, being prevented from relying on ad homs, has “edited” my quote so that it is possible to disagre with it. What I actually said was “the point I was making was that oil prices did not rise from $30 to $140 purely because of a trend but because of speculation & therefore that an expectation of falling prices would do the same in reverse.” so clearly I did not deny that rise.

    Perhaps Sharon, having given her word that she will not allow ad homs and censored me on that charge but not an accusation that I am insane nor Wow’s “sockpuppet” remark would care to produce a list of ad homs which are allowed.

    I note that nobody now disputes the fact that Newt’s remark was entirely correct and the drilling he proposed would indeed cause an oil price cut.

  49. #49 dean
    December 2, 2011

    Newt was as wrong as he could possibly be Neal: only a true denialist would defend him. That’s why you jumped to it.

  50. #50 Wow
    December 2, 2011

    “has “edited” my quote so that it is possible to disagre with it”

    FALSE.

    I showed RichBarnett’s quote. RichBarnett who I was talking to.

    Not you.

    “the point I was making was that oil prices did not rise from $30 to $140 purely because of a trend but because of speculation”

    And NOBODY here (apart from Rich) has said that speculation wasn’t a factor.

    Therefore your point was WHAT, exactly?

    Pointless.

    (PS you still don’t know what an ad hom is, do you)

  51. #51 Grover Lembeck
    December 2, 2011

    I don’t see how Gingrich is right, given how oil and gas exploration works in this country. Companies buy an oil lease, then they sell that oil to anyone they want- there’s no gov’t oil rigs that can be deployed in a sort of fossil fuel Operation Overlord, there’s the rigs that we have, and then the rigs that they can build, which takes a while, and requires private investment.

    Is he calling for massive subsidies of the oil and gas industry? Is he just going to create a legal requirement that they spend billions more on exploration?

    And how do we make sure that they sell the oil to people in the U.S.? All China has to do is outbid the people at Space Age and Shell, and we won’t see any of “our” oil at all.

    Geology aside, it would require radical changes that would be opposed by his own political donors, and his own party. That or it would be a huge money pit that simply resulted in a larger national debt, as his donors rake in the cash.

  52. #52 RichBarnett
    December 2, 2011

    I went back and re-read my original post and realize that the adverb “easily” should be replaced with “surely” to make more sense.

    All oil forms will surely be recovered at price X or higher. I’m not exactly making any brilliant predictions with this claim.

  53. #53 RichBarnett
    December 2, 2011

    Whether on purpose or by accident, the United States has done an objectively great job of preserving her natural resources.

    Why create large scale ice walls to protect aquifers while simultaneously cooking the oil out of sand and rocks? It makes more sense to stick straws in the ground of far away deserts or letting corrupt places like Venezuela rape their own lands with no regard for anything other than dollars.

    But, make no mistake: The United States is fast approaching the tipping point where we will fix a dollar price to oil and begin the process of extracting the trillions of barrels of domestic oil sitting under Federally owned land. It almost happened in 1982.

    Bet your life on it that it will happen this time.

  54. #54 NC
    December 3, 2011

    I trust Sharon will not find me as being offensive if I say that I accept Wow’s claim that Rich not I said the remark about the oil price rising from $30 to $149, represents the very highest stasdard of honesty to which he aspires.

    After all nobody either honest or sensible would lie on such a trivail point and thus display themselves for all to see.

    I direct anybody intereseted in Wow’s credibility to read post 34 – the first reference to thaty increase & written by me.

    I accept Wholesale Sunglasses point #49 as the most factual attempt here to provide a sennsible dispute of the accuracy of Newt’s remark.

  55. #55 Wow
    December 5, 2011

    “Bet your life on it that it will happen this time.”

    When.

  56. #56 NJ
    December 6, 2011

    RichBarrett @ 53:

    The United States is fast approaching the tipping point where we will fix a dollar price to oil and begin the process of extracting the trillions of barrels of domestic oil sitting under Federally owned land. It almost happened in 1982.

    It is 2011. Shall we meet on Sharon’s blog in 2021 to discuss your prediction?

  57. #57 Neil Craig
    December 7, 2011

    I assume the day when America decides to allow cheap oil will come very shortly after they vote in somebody other than Obama, which looks like a sure bet.

  58. #58 Wow
    December 7, 2011

    They only have cheap oil because it’s heavily subsidised.

  59. #59 Neil Craig
    December 8, 2011

    Wpwe , even by your standards that assertion is lunatic. Perhaps you would produce evidence for it and at the same time evidence that we live on flat Earth sitting on an elephant. Since the very highest standard of honesty to which Wow aspires does not even aspire to sanity …

    “I note that nobody now disputes the fact that Newt’s remark was entirely correct and the drilling he proposed would indeed cause an oil price cut.”

  60. #60 Wow
    December 8, 2011

    “Perhaps you would produce evidence for it”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/04/business/04bptax.html

    Do you ever get tired being wrong all the time?

  61. #61 Neil Craig
    December 10, 2011

    Neither you nor the NYT understand the diference between not paying higher taxes and subsidy.

    I hereby charge £100 million on Neil Craig Tax on “Scirncebloggers”. However I also grant $100 million in subsidy to pay for it. I trust you are properly grateful that I subsidise you for being here.

    I know you are capable of logical debate because I read your post on Sharon’s “why I believe gratuitous rudeness does not enhance debate and censor it & closed the previous thread after allowing weeks of gratuitous rudeness against Neil & promise to censor anybody, particularly Neil, engaging in it in future and am now closinm this thread after allowing and indeed engaging in gratuitous insults against Neil” thread.

    Whenever I am wrong I acknowledge the fact. Hence the necessity rarely arises. I have once done so on 1 of the “scienceblogs” on a minor point, which is more than any other participant has done.

  62. #62 Josh Lukas
    December 19, 2011

    Its just another political issues.

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