Effect Measure

Oil on troubled waters

There’s a lot of concern about the environmental effects of drilling for oil off the US coast, but I don’t buy it. Yes, I know it won’t produce any meaningful amount of oil, ever, and no oil at all for years. But that’s a technicality. Politically it’s a compelling idea and even though it won’t do any good, what’s the harm? Drilling for oil in coastal marine environments is perfectly safe. Experts from the oil and gas industry have said this is true and who would know better?

In fact, who has more experience with oil on the high seas? These guys have been shipping oil on the world’s oceans for decades and nothing ever happens. Well, practically nothing, if you consider how many nautical miles their tankers have traversed. I figure that per mile, the spill rate must be very, very low. That’s probably why astute politicians everywhere have such confidence in the oil companies. Even in Australia:


  1. #1 Stacy M.
    August 23, 2008

    Wow, it’s like a Monty Python sketch.

  2. #2 Stacy M.
    August 23, 2008


  3. #3 MartinDH
    August 23, 2008

    Very funny…if it weren’t so close to the bone!

  4. #4 MartinDH
    August 23, 2008

    Very funny…if it weren’t so close to the bone!

  5. #5 Charlie B.
    August 23, 2008

    LOL! Clarke and Dawe hit the spot as usual. I think this was their response to the Kirki oil spill off Western Australia in 1991.

    These two have been doing this segment weekly since 1989, and this segment still closes the ABC’s 7:30 Report on Thursday evening. They’re very sharp and very satirical. John Clarke (the bald one…) was inducted into the Logies Hall of Fame (Aussie Emmies/BAFTAs for you US/UKians out there…).

    And to MartinDH – great satire is *always* close to the bone… 🙂

  6. #6 revere
    August 23, 2008

    Charlie: Thanks for the references. I’ve seen other clips from these two but didn’t know who they were or any background.

  7. #7 Charlie B.
    August 23, 2008

    You’re welcome!

    Very similar in style and tone are John Bird and John Fortune, a British pair who have often worked with impressionist Rory Bremner. It’s well worth checking out their “Iraqi Oil” skit on google video…

    I’m not sure if vicious satire comes more easily to Brits and Aussies, but it seems to me that other than the Colbert/Stewart axis there’s not a great deal coming out of the States right now. I’d be delighted to be educated otherwise!

  8. #8 Chelonian
    August 23, 2008

    Charlie B, you might want to check out Roy Zimmerman. He’s an American satirical singer/songwriter; his latest albums (National Security and Faulty Intelligence) are very funny and carry quite a sting. Plus, he got the Tom Lehrer seal of approval 🙂

  9. #9 neil
    August 23, 2008


    Did Abbot and Costello do that schtick first? Who’s on First? No, Who’s on second? The ship that wasn’t safe, the one the front fell off of? No, the one that’s built so the front doesn’t fall off, the safe one.


  10. #10 M. Randolph Kruger
    August 23, 2008

    Revere….. This is pretty funny I have to admit but the message is that we can get by without drilling off shore now and to use oil leases that already exist. I completely disagree. The T. Boone Pickens program isnt going to work as so many have now stated. It would take years, it would take billions and it still wouldnt take care of the problem.

    He owns all sorts of gas rights and wells and this is a bit self serving on his part I think.

    Maybe Shell’s gas to liquid program might be viable after a lot of infrastructure and vehicular changes but no where near immediately and thats what we need now, an immediate fix. The US and most of our allies get oil from increasingly unstable sources. Within the next 6 months to a year, Iran is going to get bombed plain and simple and thats going to create a big oil problem.

    Either we will do it or the Israelis will. Regardless of the actual or perceived problems in the Middle East, it would only take four or five strategic hits to start an all out World War. I think we are much closer to that now than at any time since 68. I see assets moving into place that are heavy hitters around the world and it may be getting to game time soon.

    The reason is simple and its on the tube every day. Oil, oil, oil… But now its about the gas line in Georgia and the oil too. 25% of European gas goes through that line. They dont do heating oil as a rule there because its too expensive.But there are dozens of oil lines that cut through Georgia and S. Russia. The Georgians were going to put more in and that is and was yet another reason for the invasion. Russian economics. Their lines would have become less cost effective so every gallon or cubic foot of gas would have been pushed down the Georgian pipes that was possible at the expense of the Russians.

    Putin sitting back and yukking it up at the Olympics didnt change a thing. The fact is that he was actively invading a sovereign nation and now with the Kuwaiti response behind us, precedent is set. We have to get them out. We sat and watched as the Russians took Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and the Baltic States after WWII and thats not going to happen again. No Cold Wars on this one because those people are going to fight. We will get dragged into it because they would all fall under the curtain again. Subjugation at its finest is underway.

    We are here because we didnt and havent gotten what we have been paying for and that is viable alternative energy via that 18.6 cent gasoline tax. We have a few games but not any we can play. Some of those plays are that we did battery cars via the Prius. But if everyone owned one and plugged them all in at 6 o’clock at night, the power grid would collapse and it would cost 500 billion just to upgrade the wires just to be able to do it.

    So how about those alternative energies? Solar power is not so eco friendly when you are speaking of the environmental goat rope we are in. It takes about 1900 acres of solar cells to power a city of 70,000. Where would we put 8 million acres of that, because thats what it would take to power our needs during the day? I think drilling in the ANWAR would provoke less of a response myself. It starts to get cold and they will not have to worry about polar bears, they will have been shot.

    Wind power is nice but its a lot more than just an engineering problem to keep those rotors turning. They arent very reliable at all. The wind has to blow and generally it doesnt at night. The acreage that is needed for that to work is less than the solar, but its very localized where you can use it. Certainly cant be used anywhere there is a hypocritical Marthas Vineyard crowd…NIMBY!

    The simple fact is that none of this stuff works yet economically yet and might not for another 50 years. We dont have that kind of time any more as the world energy demands are rapidly outstripping our capabilities. Some speak of Peak Oil which I disagree with but not completely. It is though about peak people. How many people can the world sustain? Be it oil, gas, food, water and then everything else falls in behind that. I dont know but if we are at Peak Oil then the number of people is geometrically going to have to be reduced by natural or unnatural causes.

    The world is now putting their food into an ethanol fuel that actually takes your mileage down because it doesnt produce as many BTU’s as gasoline. So wheres the benefit? I havent seen any and the mash disposal is like dumping sewage… its toxic.

    The Dems want to tax to drive down demand. You and I are both old enough to know that part works. It does drive down demand because it knocks everyone out of work. Dont need it if you arent driving to work. The only thing though is that when Carter did it the government became everyone’s daddy. Then the socialists/communists in our government spent the money on programs that created a endless mill of tax, spend, tax more to cover the shortfalls in program costs. That lasted up until the time that the interest rate went to 21%, negative 2.2 growth in GDP, and we didnt go to the Olympics and the tax rate was about 70% for people making over 50K a year.

    We have bumped up to about a 5.25 unemployment rate. At the height of Carters Administration it was arguably as high as 12 but certainly no lower than 8%…. We approached the the tip over as one out of every four jobs was government created by tax money and not for things such as infrastructure. We got the Energy Dept. too, now there’s a laugh. Still waiting on this one after 30 years.

    But here is my point, I dont say just give up and toss in the towel and drill. I say fund the alternatives and their research…do it so that colleges and universities get the big bucks rather than the oil companies to remove any hint of collusion. And then drill.

    We are now in a helluva fix and its not due to oil prices… its supply and its on a 5000 mile long lifeline. 25% of the gas for Europe comes through those pipelines in Georgia and the bottom line is that if that line is cut, there will be war and I mean a no shit, butt kicking type that might result in the release of a nuclear weapon or two. Its not about a 10 missile interceptor base in Poland. The Russians wont go to direct conflict with the US over Georgia, but the US might along with NATO to keep that pipeline flowing. Therefore, its really about the oil and gas. A surplus in both in the world right now is what we need and jamming the unemployment rate to 10% to get it isnt a very good idea to avoid war by imposing a tax. The Russians need to be stopped with their obvious expansion issues. If they dont, it will just create more tension and thats what we have a lot of to go around. The way to reduce this is to increase the total surplus of oil and gas. The only way to get that obviously is to drill.

    I think you are not aware of something about the drilling off the coast of the US and that is that very little except in the deep waters would be loaded to ships. It would be transported as it is off the coast of Louisiana via pipelines. This would REDUCE the need for the supertankers that pop along our coastlines to the various refinery points and I do get the assertion. Many are 30 plus years old and only have single hulls. This is going to eventually lead to what you indicate what would happen and that is a full US coastline fouling on the scale of the Exxon Valdez. It is possible. You and I again are old enough to remember the Torrey Canyon disaster. But, we have to risk it else the next administration is going to have to have their cake and eat it too. The rhetoric of the mornings will be replaced by the beheadings of the afternoon. If oil goes anywhere near 140 again, then the dogs of war will start to hunt.

    The energy plan for this country is in doubt too if for no other reason that pandemic flu. If OPEC suddenly quits taking dollars and euro’s and demands gold as they did in 68, we are going to be in deep trouble and fast. Another reason to drill. We get 70% of our oil from someplace else that could tell us to go and screw off anytime they want. Its now a matter of national security.

    So unless the eco-people want to get lynched on the street when oil and gas go to 300 a barrel, or that a war breaks out over it that sends it to that level then the only way for now is to drill deep and drill now else risk the future of the US on environmental issues. If GW is part of this which it really is, then something is going to have to change. Our population is stable here. Those countries that are growing by huge leaps are the ones that are going to try to assert their control and that is Russia for one. China just signed a huge oil deal with the Iraqi’s and that is going to equate to new arms, missile help and obviously but more intently they will get in there to protect their nuke facilities. The wouldnt need much help either to intimidate Pakistan or Iran. They could simply transfer a couple of their FL-2’s and achieve tactical if not nuclear superiority over the entire gulf region. Only have to get close. This is of course if they dont build a super-carrier that could give them moderate air superiority in a theater, but more likely regional air superiority in a dust up.

    While the mini-movie is funny, the situation is degradating by every hour and you might end up thinking about this post in the very near future if something happens.


  11. #11 Lea
    August 23, 2008

    Thanks MRK for clarity.

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