U.S. takes key step toward Atlantic drilling, sparking debate over sea life


This week's Interior Department endorsement of seismic testing in Atlantic waters is a first step toward allowing drilling from Delaware to Florida's Cape Canaveral for the first time in decades.

The American Petroleum Institute calls the recommendation a critical step toward bolstering U.S. energy security, while environmentalists say the decision turns the Atlantic Ocean into a "blast zone" that could be a "death sentence" for marine mammals.

Actual drilling of test wells can't begin until an existing ban on Atlantic production expires in 2017, and even then only after the government agrees to lease ocean tracts to energy companies.

The area, particularly off the coasts of Virginia and the Carolinas, is estimated to hold ~3.3B barrels of oil and 312T cf of natural gas.

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Comments (24)
  • Ray Lopez
    , contributor
    Comments (1815) | Send Message
     
    I doubt there's oil or gas there. If it was anywhere, it would have seeped up through the Virginia Beach area at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, where, about 52M years ago, a bolide stuck and cracked the sea bed. Oil should have come up to the surface because of this, but I've not heard of any. The seas in the Atlantic were not shallow enough for carbon-based life to settle and form oil.
    1 Mar 2014, 09:25 AM Reply Like
  • Seth Walters
    , contributor
    Comments (675) | Send Message
     
    This is good news, because I am a human and not a marine mammal, and cheap energy is good for humans. :)
    1 Mar 2014, 10:26 AM Reply Like
  • rmff
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
     
    … and if something were to happen, like in the Gulf of Mexico, you'll not only have cheap energy, but poisoned fish. Full steam ahead!
    2 Mar 2014, 07:59 AM Reply Like
  • Hendershott
    , contributor
    Comments (1741) | Send Message
     
    I don't know about the cheap part.
    1 Mar 2014, 10:31 AM Reply Like
  • Copious28
    , contributor
    Comments (442) | Send Message
     
    Its not like there isn't sea life in the Gulf, or any where else in the ocean where humans drill. "Not in my backyard!"
    1 Mar 2014, 10:50 AM Reply Like
  • PalmDesertRat
    , contributor
    Comments (3736) | Send Message
     
    I frequently go fishing in the Keys. I rent a car, a boat, stay in a hotel, hire a guide, eat/drink. I spend a lot of money which flows into the Florida tourist economy and I consume a fair amount of energy (gasoline, air conditioning,etc).

     

    My son takes his family to Disney World and spends a ton, as well as consuming energy.

     

    Floridians benefit from other regions taking all the risks to produce energy. Why shouldn't Florida take some risk too?
    2 Mar 2014, 09:00 AM Reply Like
  • SoldHigh
    , contributor
    Comments (991) | Send Message
     
    21st century Environmentalists are a hypocritical group who claim to loathe carbon fuels while flying in their elitist, oil-burning private jets and driving their gas-chugging luxury cars. The goal of this fascist group is control over people, which they hide behind their pretending to care for the planet.
    1 Mar 2014, 12:04 PM Reply Like
  • Tricky
    , contributor
    Comments (2317) | Send Message
     
    How I do love a broad sweeping statement to universally characterize a large and diverse group of people that one does not agree with.

     

    "goal fascist group is control over people" was an especially nice touch.

     

    Ah, Seeking Alpha. Good times, good times.
    1 Mar 2014, 01:12 PM Reply Like
  • SoldHigh
    , contributor
    Comments (991) | Send Message
     
    Nothing is more offensive than the truth
    1 Mar 2014, 03:44 PM Reply Like
  • userwcSX
    , contributor
    Comments (63) | Send Message
     
    Here's some truth. The entire estimated reserves of the east coast (3.3B bboe) is about 90 days worth of petroleum, just for the US.
    1 Mar 2014, 04:09 PM Reply Like
  • Jake2992
    , contributor
    Comments (1084) | Send Message
     
    Funny because fascism is actually a right wing ideology.
    1 Mar 2014, 04:34 PM Reply Like
  • userwcSX
    , contributor
    Comments (63) | Send Message
     
    Sorry, math error. _45_ days.
    1 Mar 2014, 05:16 PM Reply Like
  • Fracjob
    , contributor
    Comments (1960) | Send Message
     
    We have listened to similar statements about how we couldn't produce domestic land based oil and natural gas for the last few decades. Go fish.
    1 Mar 2014, 05:30 PM Reply Like
  • bigbenorr
    , contributor
    Comments (1090) | Send Message
     
    US consumption is something like 20 million barrels per day right? I get about 165 days at that rate. Anyway, they have no idea how much is actually there until they drill it. Bakken reserves were listed at under a billion just a few years ago. Now CLR estimates more than 20 billion.
    2 Mar 2014, 12:36 AM Reply Like
  • bigbenorr
    , contributor
    Comments (1090) | Send Message
     
    Also, if it is really 312 TCF that would be like 12 years of gas supply (assuming 70 BCF/day average) for the country, nothing to sneeze at IMO.
    2 Mar 2014, 12:39 AM Reply Like
  • Ray Lopez
    , contributor
    Comments (1815) | Send Message
     
    You do realize that fracked reserves fall at a much faster rate of production, and even Bakken will be dry in a decade or two? And 20B bbls is only about 3 year supply, or six years of imports. We need to raise CAFE limits, develop nuclear and solar, and tax energy more.
    2 Mar 2014, 04:39 PM Reply Like
  • bigbenorr
    , contributor
    Comments (1090) | Send Message
     
    Until they go in with secondary recovery techniques. The Bakken will be a rockin for a good while, yes maybe only 3 years if it was the only source for the entire country, the important thing is there are many other formations like the Bakken waiting to be tapped. I am certainly a fan of nuclear power (not big on solar) but we have to face reality, oil is needed to maintain civilization in its current form, and that means drilling is required. If you want to tax and diminish the use of energy you are basically arguing for a step back in progress, development, population growth etc. Better to put the pedal down and produce as much energy as possible to continue growth and development. Sorry if a few fish have to die, people are more important.
    2 Mar 2014, 06:07 PM Reply Like
  • Rich in NJ
    , contributor
    Comments (80) | Send Message
     
    Everything you should be done with a cost-benefit analysis. If it meets that test, fine, but it is why we shouldn't just drill without regard to the ecological consequences.
    1 Mar 2014, 01:56 PM Reply Like
  • akendzio
    , contributor
    Comments (25) | Send Message
     
    This is a bad idea. Environmental concerns aside, another blown site would wreck fishing and tourism industries for the coast involved. Those are kind of important industries for the US. For now.
    1 Mar 2014, 02:34 PM Reply Like
  • saratogahawk
    , contributor
    Comments (2533) | Send Message
     
    akendizio, lets see we can build Cape Wind and other offshore wind farms that affect fishing, wind, tourism, the subsea benthos, etc and we can't explore for our single most important energy source. I call screwed up priorities and I do this for a living as I just did cost and environmental analysis for 2 possible east coast wind farms.
    1 Mar 2014, 05:05 PM Reply Like
  • Hendershott
    , contributor
    Comments (1741) | Send Message
     
    Does this mean that the present administration is not anti fossil fuel?
    1 Mar 2014, 06:02 PM Reply Like
  • Msabet
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
     
    If what Mr Lopez says is correct, then there shouldn't be any oil in the Gulf of Mexico; since the consensus is that it was formed by the collision not by a bolide but by a huge meteorite.
    2 Mar 2014, 05:16 AM Reply Like
  • mosheoskar
    , contributor
    Comments (68) | Send Message
     
    energy sources like oil will probably stay high if not a lot higher in coming years.
    Big oil companies are having difficulties rising production and it's going to stay this way for the coming years. Only higher oil prices can sustain the current earnings.
    This is kind of "peak oil" dynamics theory just not like people are expecting it to be.
    2 Mar 2014, 12:54 PM Reply Like
  • bigbenorr
    , contributor
    Comments (1090) | Send Message
     
    Maybe the majors are just looking in the wrong places?

     

    http://bit.ly/1eHl8Uj

     

    Sucks to be late to the party, but better late than never right?
    That chart is actually kind of old, Texas is over 3 million now.
    2 Mar 2014, 01:01 PM Reply Like
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