SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Offshore Oil Drilling Myth Busters


Myth-Busters: The Tale of Misinformation
There are numerous misnomers about offshore oil drilling, many of which are perpetuated by the industry as reasons why we have to continue risky extraction practices rather than turning our sights to safer, cleaner, more sustainable energy sources. Here are 3 typical drilling Myths.

drop_in_bucket.jpgMYTH: Drilling for oil will lead us to energy independence – we need MORE oil!
FACT: Drilling will NOT lead to energy independence.
Based on current consumption rates (20 million bbo/day), even if we were to recover all of the “technically recoverable” oil in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and along our Atlantic shoreline, it would only last the US 13 months. We could drill every national park, wildlife refuge, and coastline, and still need to import over 60% of what we would need. U.S. oil is only a drop in the bucket.

MYTH: The U.S. provides most of its own oil.
FACT: The U.S. does not provide most of its own oil, and the oil we do produce makes up a small part of both our supply and demand.
The U.S. imports approximately 66% of its oil needs from both allies and hostile political regimes. The other 34% comes from domestic crude oil production, which means the U.S. imports approximately two-thirds of our oil needs each day. Domestic offshore drilling only generates 9% of the total amount of oil Americans consumes.

MYTH: Fuel economy standards won’t stop consumption of oil
FACT: Better fuel economy standards conserve both oil and money consumers spend on gas every year
Raising fuel economy standards to 40 miles per gallon by 2010 would save more than 50 billion barrels of oil over the next 50 years, and each higher mpg target would have huge benefits. Each 3-mpg increase in fuel economy would conserve 1 million barrels of oil epr day and save as much as $25 billion per year in fuel costs

MYTH: Drilling for more oil will spare our pocket-books.
FACT: Drilling will NOT provide relief at the pump.
Despite what the oil lobby wants us to believe, the fact remains that more drilling will not lead to lower gasoline prices. The number of drilling permits granted has increased 361% over the past 8 years while gas prices have simultaneously doubled. The Department of Energy even admits that “because oil prices are determined on the international market,… any impact on average prices is expected to be insignificant.”

electric_vehiclesMYTH: Electric vehicles won’t do anything to stop our need for drilling
FACT: Electric vehicles can save billions of barrels of oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Based on EPA data, the most energy efficient hybrids cut gasoline consumption by around 40% compared with similar conventional cars, and plug-in hybrid vehicles replace half of the remaining gasoline consumption with electricity. One million new plug-in hybrid vehicles on our roads that could get up to mpg on a single gallon of gas could save ~10 million barrels of oil, if we shifted fuel consumption to the electrical grid and relied on a variety of cleaner, renewable energy sources.

MYTH: Drilling for oil can be done cleanly, safely, and without failure.
FACT: Drilling is NEITHER safe nor clean.
Big oil’s track record with offshore drilling is ugly. Offshore operations have had 40 large scale spills (>42,000 gallons) since 1964. Thirteen of those were in the past decade and those are just the largest spills. Smaller spills and pipe leaks happy everyday. The 2010 BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is now the U.S.’s largest environmental catastrophe of all time. Millions of barrels of oil are gushing into the once-prized fishing grounds of the U.S., destroying ecosystems, economies, and ways of life. Also, in the past 10 years, 7 of the 13 large spills were hurricane-related. Considering the vulnerability of our southeast coastline to hurricanes and tropical storms, these statistics have serious implications for us since most of the drilling happens in hurricane-prone areas.