Dang, I think I have to support offshore drilling in California

Having lived through the various oil spills in California over the years and the subsequent hiatus in new offshore drilling, and having been an engineer for big oil in both Saudi Arabia and arctic Alaska, I feel well acquainted with the ins and outs of risk on the issue of opening our shores to additional development.

And as a California resident I have been a staunch opponent of efforts to restart exploration on our shores.

But I think I need to change my position, for ethical reasons. My desire to protect my coastline, unless I work vigorously to get Californians out of their cars, is really NIMBYism at it’s worst. “Please don’t pollute our coasts, but please do continue to pollute others and while you’re at it please be as inefficient as possible about bringing petrol to us. See if you can bring it from half way round the world, that would be fine.”

I hate this, but it makes far more sense for us to extract and refine our fuel locally. Doesn’t it?

Oil, as you know is a commodity. A replaceable commodity. Our coastline is not replaceable. Oil spills and spoiled views. And drilling off California will not lower your gas prices even one percent. Just drive less.

Well the politicians agree with you because they let the ban on offshore drilling expire last month.

You’re telling me that the coastlines of the Saudi’s are replaceable? Drive less is correct, but whatever driving we do seems to me to be best done on our own oil.


With that logic we should just shut down all oil production.

The thing is, at this point we don’t give a fuck about the Saudi’s coastline. We have stepped over the “I’m All Right, Jack,” boundary.

Not to mention that the Saudi regime has little choice but to continue to pump oil…their entire economy is based around it. The USA’s isn’t.

Oil prices have fallen tremendously since drill, baby, drill was in vogue this summer. Ruining the California coastline for 60 dollar/barrel oil? No way.

California gets lots of tourism dollars. Saudi Arabia doesn’t.

I wonder how much oil we’d get from off-shore drilling in California. I also wonder how the view of oil rigs off the shore line would affect things.

Yeah but this $2.25/gal gasoline we’re seeing can’t last. We need to ramp up production now in order for it to be viable in 5-10 years to bridge the gap between now and the realization of new technology to get us around. Only as a stopgap measure.

I suppose once you build the rigs they are there to stay…

A question re: drilling off the coast of California.

How far offshore are we talking here? Will people actually be able to see the rigs from beaches, or will they be farther out than that?

What, you’ve never been to Santa Barbara? Looky here.

Looky where?

Does that mean you’re in favor of a ban on production in those gulf states that thrive on tourism? Been to Dubai recently?

But it’s an interesting point. I think it’s in our best interests, in the long run, to see other economies become more diverse and stable (which I think would improve transitions to more democratic forms of government). Which is another reason why to me, we need to eat our own dog food.

Americans are utterly disconnected from the impact of their driving habits on the environment and on the planet. By design, to some degree, if we look at the Bush “EPA” stance towards California’s efforts to improve fuel economy standards for cars. Maybe we need to confront that.

I was answering FoieGrasIsEvil’s question. The picture is of a drilling platform that is clearly not far from shore. From the shore in SB, the drilling platforms are pretty much the first thing you notice, they’re not far out at all. Quite a few of them, too.

Perhaps it would be dangerous to point out that most Saudi fields are on shore?

Correct. If we could satisfy our demand for oil from domestic sources at prices competitive to buying oil overseas, that would be a good situation. We can’t. It’s not even close. What does more drilling help us do?

  1. Pay $140 per barrel for a good that cost $70 a barrel from foreign sources. Place high tariffs on imported oil to equalize prices. Gas is still super-expensive, our economy suffers, and this possibility is still very far down the road if we started today. .

  2. Up production of domestic oil only to levels competitive with foreign oil. We still don’t have enough oil to stop depending on foreign sources. Every barrel of oil we produce drops the price of foreign oil due to decreased demand. What is profitable to produce now becomes unprofitable down the road. Still subject to OPEC’s whims and fluctuations. Still no discernible effect for at least a decade

As long as we’re making plans for our long term oil usage, how about we actually make a plan to stop using so much? That would actually fix things, instead of scoring short term useless political points. An electric car made by Ford or GM would be a boon to our failing auto industry, eliminate our dependence on foreign oil, and allow us to switch to cleaner energy sources like nuclear, solar, wind, and tidal to transport us.

We need to ramp up production now. We can’t. New drilling won’t hit us for 5-10 years. The stopgap measure was decreased usage. As oil prices rise again, we’ll decrease usage just like we did this summer. When the new technology is realized, we’ll slowly switch while oil prices fall.

Yes, but your link doesn’t work. :slight_smile:

Bah – the site is blocking links. Try this. Same pic.

Why that’s beautiful! They really ought to consider festooning it with colorful streamers and balloons, with a nice dock where pleasure craft can come aboard and visit the welcome center for a nip of brandy and some pleasant conversation with the staff.

OK, well that answers my question anyway. So is the entire drillable area of coastline along California’s beaches all this close to shore, or does the shelf or whatever they are drilling into reach farther out to sea?

I’m saying the Saudis can make their own decision about whether oil lucre is worth the potential for environmental destruction, and Californians can make their own decision.

I don’t think it is pure NIMBYism to say that you don’t want oil rigs off of your beautiful coast. I think you could well say that the potential costs still outweigh the benefits. And think of it: drilling off the coast of California, Florida, or pretty much anywhere else in the US will not reduce gas prices any more than, at maximum, three cents a gallon. If you think it is worth three cents a gallon to put your coastline at some small level of risk, then vote for drilling. If you don’t, don’t.

On the question of whether it’s more efficient to produce and refine oil in the US, the answer is, it doesn’t matter one whit. It is a global market. Nobody cares where they get their oil and gas from, so the cost of buying a gallon of home grown gas are exactly the same as buying oil from the furthest reaches of the Earth. What’s more, with economies of scale, it generally makes more sense to have fewer refineries that serve the whole country, rather than refineries that serve states. (With caveats about maintaining a surge capacity, laws about different gas blends for different parts of the country, etc.) Pretty much the same idea that Toyota doesn’t need car plants in each of the states in order to produce cars more efficiently.