Where’s the Oil and Gas?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

With all of the discussion on offshore drilling, I thought it might be useful to examine where we might expect future domestic supplies to come from.

According to assumptions for the Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook 2008, the U.S. has 165.67 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil and 1,364.61 trillion feet of technically recoverable natural gas. These estimates do not include areas where drilling is officially prohibited. The offshore component of these resources is 24.6% of oil and 15.7% of natural gas.

The Moratorium on Offshore Drilling signed by President Bush in June 1990, resulted in making a significant portion of estimated future natural gas and oil supplies unavailable for development. Estimated undiscovered conventionally recoverable resources in the Federal Offshore area total 75 billion barrels of oil and 362 trillion cubic feet of gas, of which an estimated 21% of the oil and 17% of the gas are in the moratorium area. As of 2000, undiscovered conventionally recoverable resources in the Gulf of Mexico were estimated at 193 trillion cubic feet of gas and 37 billion barrels of oil, with the moratorium area in the Gulf containing about 4% of the gas and 7% of the oil. Along both the East and West coasts, all estimated undiscovered conventionally recoverable resources (47 trillion cubic feet of gas and 13 billion barrels of oil) are in the moratorium area. In the North Aleutian Basin in Alaska, about 6% of the estimated 123 trillion cubic feet of gas resources are in the moratorium area and about 1% of the estimated 25 billion barrels of oil.

Oil (Billion Barrels)
Onshore = 124.9
Offshore
Annual Energy Outlook 2008 = 40.8
Restricted Federal Offshore = 15.8
Restricted Gulf of Mexico = 2.6
Restricted East and West Coasts = 13.0
Restricted North Aleutian Basin = 0.3
Total Offshore excluding restricted areas = 40.8
Total Offshore including restricted areas = 72.4
Total excluding restricted areas = 165.7
Total including restricted areas = 197.3
Percent from Offshore excluding restricted areas = 24.6%
Percent from Offshore including restricted areas = 36.7%

Natural Gas (Trillion Cubic Feet)
Onshore = 1151.1
Offshore
Annual Energy Outlook 2008 = 213.6
Restricted Federal Offshore = 61.5
Restricted Gulf of Mexico = 7.7
Restricted East and West Coasts = 47.0
Restricted North Aleutian Basin = 7.4
Total Offshore excluding restricted areas = 213.6
Total Offshore including restricted areas = 337.2
Total excluding restricted areas = 1,364.6
Total including restricted areas = 1,488.3
Percent from Offshore excluding restricted areas = 15.7%
Percent from Offshore including restricted areas = 22.7%

The statistics present two questions: 1.) “Is the restricted resource large enough to offset the risks to the environment and tourism?” and “Is the restricted resource large enough to attract bids from oil and gas companies?”

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