Monday, March 15, 2010

Vast Deposits of Oil In the Deep Dark Bottoms

Most of the Earth's crude oil remains undiscovered, deep underground or under the sea. Large oil corporations are tackling deeper and deeper drilling projects -- many of them in the savage environment of the open sea.
From the window of a helicopter 1,500 feet above the Gulf of Mexico, oil platforms look like Tinkertoys in a swimming pool. Dozens dot the horizon stretching south from New Orleans and continuing out as the water deepens and turns a darker blue. Then, about 50 miles offshore, the platforms stop, and for the next hundred miles there's nothing. This is the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, where the ocean floor is 8,000 feet down and covered in a heavy layer of muck. Below that is an ancient salt bed several miles thick, and hidden under that, trapped tens of thousands of feet down, there's oil—billions and billions of barrels of it. And it's all in U.S. waters. _Newsweek

Chevron's Tahiti platform, about 190 miles offshore, first appears as a speck in open water. Even up close, its size is deceiving. A three-level structure sits above the surface, but its 555-foot hull is entirely submerged. At 714 feet tall and weighing more than 80 million pounds, Tahiti is the equivalent of a 70-story skyscraper floating in 4,000 feet of water. The first thing you notice when stepping onto its platform is a high-pitched hum: the sound of thousands of barrels of oil being pulled from the depths and pumped back to shore.

To Chevron, it's among the most beautiful sounds in the world, proof that a decade of investment in deepwater-drilling technology is beginning to pay off for big oil companies like itself, as well as BP, ExxonMobil, and Shell. After a string of hurricanes led to seven straight years of declining oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, a handful of new deepwater projects reversed the trend in 2009. This year deepwater oil is likely to power the first year-over-year increase in total U.S. domestic production since 1991. _Newsweek

The upsurge in US oil production comes in spite of a tight lid the Obama - Pelosi regime wishes to hold over US energy output. The Obama administration is attempting to prevent the utilisation of vast US resources of coal, oil shales, heavy oils, and large reserves of Arctic oil. The "go-slow" policy of the Obama Nuclear Regulatory Commission puts off construction of new nuclear plants for many years and decades. The Obama EPA is attempting to cripple US use of Canadian oil sands. Altogether, a policy of "energy starvation" and a kneecapping of US industry.
US crude oil is just a drop in the bucket compared with all the crude oil in the world. And all the crude in the world is just a drop in the bucket compared with all the unconventional fossil fuels out there. And all the fossil fuels in the world are just a drop in the bucket compared to all the potential fission energy available. And all the fission energy in the world is just a needle in a haystack compared to all the fusion energy in the world.

And then there is solar and geothermal. All of that, without even leaving the mother planet. Just think of what is out there in the vast darkness of space.

Big oil bets at sea

Chevron Tahiti to record depths

More on Chevron Tahiti

More on the big picture of Gulf of Mexico oil drilling

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