Not expanding drilling may cost U.S. $2.4 trillion

WASHINGTON Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:34am EST

A gull flies at a coastal area in Bayou La Batre, Alabama November 10, 2009. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

A gull flies at a coastal area in Bayou La Batre, Alabama November 10, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. economy will lose $2.4 trillion over the next two decades if the federal government does not allow oil and natural gas drilling in restricted onshore lands and in offshore areas previously closed to energy companies, according to a new study released on Monday.

The report, prepared for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, also said U.S. imports of crude oil, petroleum products and natural gas would increase by $1.6 trillion over the period without access to the energy resources.

In particular, the United States is expected to pay the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) $607 billion for an extra 4.1 billion barrels of crude, the report said.

Separate congressional and presidential bans on drilling in most U.S. waters beyond the western and central Gulf of Mexico ended in 2008, and the Interior Department is now considering whether to expand exploration in only a small part of the formerly closed areas.

"It's clear from this report that the status quo on energy production simply won't suffice," said David Parker, president of the American Gas Association. "We encourage lawmakers to heed the results of this study and take a closer look at the energy-rich areas in our country that are currently off limits."

Many environmental groups say the United States should rely less on oil and gas and more on cleaner energy sources like wind and solar.

The study also raised the estimated U.S. oil and gas resources that are available in all areas based on advance drilling technology and easier development of energy supplies trapped in shale rock.

As a result, U.S. resources of crude oil were increased by 43 billion barrels to 229 billion and natural gas was raised by 286 trillion cubic feet to 2,034 trillion cubic feet.

(Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by Michael Urquhart)

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Comments (5)
geoffni wrote:
This is just simple economics, let supply and demand dictate us moving away from oil and gas. As supply becomes less than demand then other forms of energy become more economical. We are messing things up by not letting demand dictate supply. I would argue that the net affect of these “green” energy alternatives are really not that green, and they are just giving more green to those who invested in alternative energy and taking more green away from our taxes to invest in a direction that our economy is not ready for.

Feb 15, 2010 11:54pm EST  --  Report as abuse
bozo2228 wrote:
Let the world drill their oil. We will have a beautiful country and oil in the ground 20-30 years from now….what will they have?

if we include social costs how much will it cost us to drill in protected areas? is this acceptable?

Feb 16, 2010 12:11am EST  --  Report as abuse
dickkie wrote:
Well the Ultra right wing as sholes like geoffni here dont care about social cost – because god has told them not to research anything new -

Feb 16, 2010 12:30am EST  --  Report as abuse
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