Charleston Post and Courier
July 18, 2017
The rhetoric about Atlantic Coast offshore oil drilling has been upped from “energy independence” to “energy dominance,” but it is not really about energy — it is about oil producers’ stock prices. For example. Exxon Mobile lists 20 billion barrels of reserve, representing about 87 percent of the total asset value of the corporation. Its annual report, as is also true of BP and other producers, emphasizes the drive to replace “inventory” to maintain value.
This corporate strategy of pursuing of new inventory should come to an end, both globally and on our coast.
Current total proven world petroleum reserves are 1,700 billion barrels.
If all this oil is burned, it will release enough carbon dioxide to raise the global temperature by about 0.56 degree C from oil alone, not even considering the effects of concurrent burning of coal and natural gas, and deforestation. An increase of 0.56 degree may not sound like much, but the consensus is that a one degree temperature rise from this point in time could lead to unmanageable sea level rise, food shortages due to changing weather patterns, and other consequences.
Most of the 1,700 billion barrels of reserve are located in Russia, Canada, Venezuela and the Persian Gulf nations.
The current estimate of 4.5 billion barrels under the entire Atlantic outer continental shelf, even if expanded significantly, will not give the U.S. “energy dominance” — just fouled beaches.