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Kevin Bullis

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Responses to Exxon's Big Oil Discovery

It’s a lot of oil, but the discoveries in the Gulf won’t come close to making the U.S. energy independent.

  • June 10, 2011

This week ExxonMobil announced a major oil find: an estimated 700 million barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. It made the announcement after a drilling ban in the Gulf was lifted. The discovery provided an occasion for renewed calls to change government policies to promote drilling of domestic oil.

From Reuters:

(The discovery) speaks to the fact there are resources in the Gulf and if we have a tax and regulatory environment that will encourage us to find and produce our own domestic oil, the industry will respond,” said Mark Routt, an energy industry consultant with KBC Advanced Technologies.

According to Bloomberg, that’s “the biggest discovery in the region in 12 years.”

The Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committed, Doc Hastings (R-Washington) said the find showed the importance of increased drilling offshore:

Today’s oil and natural gas discovery in the Gulf of Mexico is a significant step forward for American job creation and energy production. This is the exact reason why Republicans have been pressuring the Department of the Interior to issue offshore permits—America has abundant oil and natural gas reserves, we simply need to allow the hardworking men and women in the energy industry to do their job.

The Wall Street Journal celebrated:

Exxon Mobil Corp.’s huge new oil discovery in the Gulf of Mexico is good news for domestic energy production, but it’s even better news as a sign that last year’s panic over the BP spill won’t continue to cripple American offshore oil exploration.

The Times-Picayune opined:

[The discovery] shows why the Obama administration needs to ramp up the approval of safe drilling permits.

But not all were pleased.One blogger started out jubilant …

Yay! Energy problems solved! We can tell those OPEC thieves to go KISS OUR GRITS!

Then ended on a more sober note after noticing that the find amounts to only a month’s supply of oil (37 days based on 2010 Energy Information Administration figures).

Anyone got a horse (with buggy) we can buy? Cheap.

Here’s a little more perspective, again from Reuters:

Irving, Texas-based Exxon had reserves of 24.8 billion barrels oil equivalent at the end of last year.

In other words, the huge find boosted Exxon’s reserves by only 3 percent.

Climate activist Joe Romm wrote:

The discovery doesn’t prove we have ‘abundant’ oil reserves, as Hastings claims. It proves the exact opposite, that ‘Drill, Baby, Drill’ can’t solve our problems.

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