4:49 PM | Posted in
As Michele Bachmann continues to ramp up the rhetoric about drilling the outer continental shelf and in ANWR being the key to bringing gas prices down immediately, the available evidence mounts refuting that claim. A Fact Check article in Newsweek notes that such drilling would be unlikely to have an affect until 2030:

EIA: The projections in the OCS (Outer Continental Shelf) access case indicate that access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030.

Something that takes 22 years to deliver significant results hardly qualifies as a "short-term" solution.

From Politifact there is an article which reaches much the same conclusion:

Dr. A.F. Alhaji, an associate professor of economics at Ohio Northern University and an international expert on oil markets, said he supports offshore drilling as a long-term way to lower dependence on foreign oil and thereby improve national security.

However, he said, “I have a problem linking the drilling to current gas prices for political reasons. The reality is there is no correlation between today’s prices and what gasoline will be discovered in the outer shelf.”

Bachmann would like you to believe that there are over 86 billion barrels of oil locked away off the shores of the United States. In fact, local right wing cheerleader Gary Gross documented the statement just this morning:

11:45– Citizen asks why Michele is pushing oil drilling instead of biothermal energy, etc. Michele then explains that Congress hasn’t taken action on extending tax credits for alternatives, a clear shot at the do-nothing congress. She then says that only 3% of leased lands have the energy they’re looking for. OCS has 86 billion barrels, ANWR has 10 billion barrels. “We’re for an all of the above policy.” “We have more oil in [mountain west] than in Saudi Arabia.” As expected, she’s drilling the questioner with facts, dispelling the myths out there.

The reality is that roughly 80% of that 86 billion barrels is located in offshore areas under NO moratorium. Last August, during hearings on the Outer Continental Shelf, the head of the Minerals Management Service indicated that there were only 18 billion barrels of oil found in those areas currently off limits to drilling.

As part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the MMS did an assessment of O&G resources on the OCS (including the 600 million acres under moratorium) and estimated that there remains an additional 86 billion barrels of recoverable oil (bbl) and 420 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas. The area under moratorium accounts for 18 bbl of oil and 76 tcf of natural gas. Cruickshank noted that this estimate is based on data that is over 25 years old and a more detailed assessment is needed to get a more accurate assessment of OCS resources.

The above figure from an EIA Report indicates that the vast majority of oil currently offshore is available for lease and drilling.

I would hate to accuse Michele Bachmann of lying about an issue to drum up votes but it is clear she is vastly overstating the case for offshore drilling in an attempt to appear as though she is actually concerned about bringing down the price of gasoline.

Cross Posted on Dump Bachmann