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Home > Natural Resources > Land Management for Sustainable Communities and Natural Resources

Negabarrels vs. Drilling for Oil Saves Money and Natural Resources

Not only is drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge expensive and problematic, but it is a major security risk. Read Lovins' article for his research justification for that judgment.

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Amory Lovins with the Rocky Mountain Institute has made a career out of studying transportation and conservation issues. His recent article entitled, "Drilling in All the Wrong Places" points out the value of conservation in dramatic ways. By substituting resources that do oil’s tasks better and cheaper, the U.S. can lead the world beyond oil. Face facts: America’s oil output peaked in 1970 and Texas is now a net importer of oil. Let’s get on with what we can do together, better than anyone: saving oil quickly and depleting it slowly.

If the U.S. had kept saving oil as fast as it did during 1976–1985, we wouldn’t have needed any Persian Gulf oil ever since. But now wildcatters are finding new gushers of savings: more than 8 million barrels per day (nearly a Saudi Arabia’s worth) in the Detroit Formation, 0.9 in the Seattle Formation--in all, over 14 million barrels per day of “negabarrels” (saved oil) that is all-American and inexhaustible, climate-safe and secure, costing an average of $12 a barrel.

If oil companies went to the ends of the earth drilling for very expensive oil that might not even be there, while innovators and entrepreneurs found all those negabarrels under Detroit, wouldn’t the old-fashioned drillers be embarrassed, even bankrupt?

Smart developers drill the most prospective plays first. We should all be able to agree about that. If we do it, then the oil we don’t agree about—at least 50 times smaller and several times costlier—will become superfluous, America will be richer and stronger, and the world will be cooler and safer.

SOURCE: "Drilling in All the Wrong Places", Rocky Mountain Institute



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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