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The Cost of Not Drilling

Posted on Aug 22, 2010
Wikimedia Commons

The Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf before the explosion that killed 11 crewmen and led to a federal drilling moratorium.

Previously undisclosed documents have measured the economic impact of the U.S. federal moratorium on deep-water oil drilling at 23,000 jobs lost and billions of dollars in frozen investment. Federal officials went ahead with the ban, now tied up in court, because they distrusted industry safety equipment and standards.

While 23,000 is a lot of jobs, that loss may pale in comparison with the economic devastation caused by the Gulf oil well blowout. —JCL

The Wall Street Journal:

Critics of the moratorium, including Gulf Coast political figures and oil-industry leaders, have said it is crippling the region’s economy, and some have called on the administration to make public its economic analysis. A federal judge who in June threw out an earlier six-month moratorium faulted the administration for playing down the economic effects.

After his action, administration officials considered alternatives and weighed the economic costs, the newly released documents show. The Justice Department filed them in a New Orleans court this week, in response to the latest round of litigation over the moratorium.

Spanning more than 27,000 pages, they provide an unusually detailed look at the debate about how to respond to legal and political opposition to the moratorium.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, August 24, 2010 at 8:05 pm Link to this comment


I’m on your side in the Middle East as well.

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By Inherit The Wind, August 24, 2010 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment

We are pretty much in agreement.  I’d like to see the latest gen of nuke plants doing that. And the excess energy of wind and solar and tidal can store the energy as H2, getting past their inconsistency.

I’m aware that it takes more energy to produce H2 from water than you get back, but if your energy source is one in which most is wasted anyway…like solar, you lose nothing really by the equation that it takes more energy to make the H2 than you gain.

And yes, Pickens is right about weaning us off foreign petroleum with gas.  It can go far to reducing our carbon footprint as a bridge.  Of course T-boone and his family hope to make BILLIONS from dominating the domestic LNG market, but, unless they do harm by it, I haven’t got a problem with that.

See?  A TRUE Conservative and a conservationist aren’t that far apart!

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By rico, suave, August 24, 2010 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment


I’m all for hydrogen. The problem goes beyond distribution though. It takes energy to isolate it. Maybe those Texas windmills (under-utilized because nobody wants the powerlines necessary to carry it away running through their back yards) could run some electrolysis plants and get the ball rolling. Use it locally on some demonstration projects.

My personal favorite is building a bunch of nuke plants dedicated solely to making hydrogen, federally subsidizing a distribution system (a la the interstate highways), and letting the private sector build machines that use hydrogen instead of carbon.

Gas is better than oil, but it still is carbon based and doesn’t alleviate global warming (don’t go there!). And Pickens’ point, I think, is parochial: Gas developement weens us off of foreign oil.

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By Inherit The Wind, August 24, 2010 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment


Maybe you better check out the vast wind farms in Texas—running ‘WAY under capacity because there’s no infrastructure to get ALL the electricity out of there.

At least T-Bone Pickens has a point: Natural gas is a heluva lot cleaner than petroleum and could EASILY handle our short term energy needs until hydrogen technology is on line.

BTW, the PROBLEM with hydrogen is the difficulty of distribution.  That’s been what has been neglected.

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By rico, suave, August 23, 2010 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment


Are platform workers disproportionately overpaid monopolists? Did you really ask all those other tradesmen?

See, this is what I meant by the progressive mindset concerning “the working man.” As a generic, etherial concept, they’re all about helping “the working man.” But start talking about actual “working men” doing actual jobs and they’re more than happy to throw them under the bus in the name of the “conceptual working man.”

“our electricity is growing too important, to be left in the control of war mongering, greedy capitalists”

So are you suggesting we turn electricity generation over to the geniuses in the government? That’s working really well in Venezuela!

And as for hydrogen. Excellent idea! Where is all this abundant hydrogen hiding? Water? How do we get it out of water? Where does the energy for that come from? Windmills (except off Martha’s Vinyard)?

“millions of Americans have had their lives destroyed… and the lives affected stretched to every vacationer in the world.” You have set the standard for hyperbole my friend. And there’s another example: “millions of Americans”, that amorphous, non-specific group that you champion, as opposed to the tens of thousands of real oil company employees and the thousands of real people who make livings supporting them. Fuck them, they’re part of the money grubbing class.

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By rollzone, August 23, 2010 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

hello again. i only offer my opinion because my brain already bleeds fromm working elsewhere, and i need a break. yes, captian of the LOVE boat, oil rig workers are disproportionately overpaid- ask any dockworker, steel worker, pipe fitter, carpenter, plumber, HVAC worker, electrician, truck driver, logger, anybody but those sliming greedy whining overpaid elitist ‘life blood of energy’ monopolists. again, my opinion, but everyman of good moral character willing to trade his time away from his home and his family is worth the same pay. these oil barons have brought us from unlimited energy horizons into pidgeonholed oil wars and mass murder, and many concur the unburnt hydrocarbons from internal cumbustion engines is the predominant inner city cause of cancer. yes, Mr. Tesla was correct. yes hydrogen energy is safe, clean, and abundant. yes we have an oil glut and the barons are searching for any sympathy to drive up the prices. the cost of not drilling is: the weaning of America from its oil addiction, its oil dependence, its unquenchable oil diet. it is the gradual process, of resurfacing buried technologies, inventing new ones, and perfecting those already available. our electricity is growing too important, to be left in the control of war mongering, greedy capitalists: oil barons. the time to embrace other technologies is upon us. preliminary findings from the massive blow out determined cost cutting recklessness was a major contributor (greed), and other drillers have claimed (in Congressional testimony)they would have been more responsible. while the lieyers and GoldenSacks now hide the truth to minimize BP’s guilt, millions of Americans have had their lives destroyed. our beautiful gulf, now with underwater demons, is much larger than the little puddle CEO Tony saw, and the lives affected stretched to every vacationer in the world. oil workers need to start building green.

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By Inherit The Wind, August 23, 2010 at 4:49 am Link to this comment

“Curses are like young chickens. They always come home to roost.”

29 years ago Ronald Reagan took office and immediately began to kill any and every alternate energy program that was in place, going back to initiatives supported by both Nixon and Ford (whom Reagan detested), but especially Jimmy Carter. All to protect the oil companies, his donors. All the wind, solar, tidal and hydrogen technologies that could have been advanced were delayed for decades by this selfish short-sightedness.

To make things worse, the culture of de-regulation and non-intervention became the mantra of businesses and the Right.

But the Gulf doesn’t belong solely to the oil drilling companies, it belongs to all of us.  And when a system fails that’s supposed to be fool-proof, and EVERYONE uses that system, how can you roll the dice and bet that there won’t be ANOTHER failure?

Rico, we don’t KNOW why Deep Horizon failed causing this catastrophe.  We DO know that there isn’t much in the way of inspection and enforcement.  How many people lost their jobs and livelihoods as a result of this spill?  What will the effects be? So far, all we have is an optimistic cooked NOAA report.

Either way thousands will lose their jobs.  Should it be oil rig workers or those whose lives depend on the Gulf for other resources? 

For all we know, another well could fail tomorrow.

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By ronjeremy, August 22, 2010 at 7:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

what ever happened to tesla’s plan that would provide free electricity to everyone?

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By ofersince72, August 22, 2010 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment

Maybe not, but you are

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By rico, suave, August 22, 2010 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment

Ask an oil rig worker if he holds an “overpaid crony job.”

This is just one more piece of evidence that progressives are madly in love with “the working man” as an abstract concept, but could not care one bit less about a “real working man” trying to make a real living. The conceit and arrogance is, again, breathtaking.

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By rollzone, August 22, 2010 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment

hello. oil barons are sick energy mercenaries, whom
just dumped the worst sucking disaster in our lives
onto our economy, and although ...that many pages of
documents, interpreting the lieyering of the cases, is
unreadable, to even “War and Peace” enthusiasts; the
dumping of 23,000 overpaid cronies jobs, does not
compare to the millions of people losing income, and
healthy environment; from careless and faulty drilling
practices: and the moratorium preventing more of the
same is welcome. let them pollute elsewhere. keep
greedy, reckless operators out of our coastal waters.

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By rico, suave, August 22, 2010 at 10:51 am Link to this comment

Hooray! The Greens win another one. Fuck the working man! Save the turtles! The degree of enviro-wacko misanthropy is breathtaking.

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