So, as I noted before, the US used an estimated 8.9 MMBD on motor oil, while in 2002 (the first nine months) imported 11.2 MMBD of oil, leaving domestic supplies to make up the additional 43% of oil consumed.
If the US were to drill in ANWR, where would that put us? Would this, as Republican House members would like us to believe, achieve the holy grail of energy independence? A simple back of the envelope calculation throws this in to question. Let us first turn to the DoE.
In early 2000, the Energy Information Administration (EIA), in response to a Congressional request, issued a report on potential oil reserves and production from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The report, which cited a 1998 U.S. Geological Survey study of ANWR oil resources, projected that for the mean resource case (10.3 billion barrels technically recoverable), ANWR peak production rates could range from 1.0 to 1.35 MMBD, with initial ANWR production possibly beginning around 2010, and peak production 20-30 years after that.
Clearly these numbers don’t add up. If we assume the peak production rate of 1.35 MMBD, 11.2 MMBD imported – 1.35 MMBD from ANWR clearly don’t equal zero. If we remember back to the previous entry, our estimated usage of oil is expected to grow about 670,000 Barrels/Day in 2003. ANWR drilling, if it were to hit peak production in the next few months (and from above, a more realistic date is 2010), would only gover our GROWTH in usage for the next two years, assuming 3% growth. Even if the estimates above prove conservative, and we take a more optimistic scenario of 2.5 MMBD, we are only likely in 2010 to have reduced oil importation to today’s levels. And this doesn’t talk about offsetting the declining domestic production of oil elsewhere.
Of course, as stated before, oil is now a global market, with potentially huge reserves coming online over the next decade and beyond in other regions. But, at the same time, looking at oil consumption elsewhere points to a grim picture for worldwide markets.