Consider These Details
Politicians, television pundits, radio talking heads, and newspaper columnists have one thing in common: simple solutions, ignoring the facts, for complicated social problems. An example is Fred Wolferman's Aug. 15 column about oil.
Nice ideas, but they fail to include the big picture. Oh, you say, just details. Ah, but the devil is in the details.
Everyone's favorite location for oil is offshore United States, the last frontier. So let's get the rigs out there and start drilling. Only problem is most rigs aren't available for the next three to four years.
Even the deep-water rigs being built today already are under long-term contracts to companies such as StatoilHydro and Chevron at $475,000 per day, or $1.7 billion annualized, beginning in late 2009 and 2010.
Standard jack-up rigs costing $80,000 per day or more could be available by the end of 2010. With a maximum water depth of 200 feet and a drilling depth of up to 20,000 feet, these rigs would be a great addition to the view from the Outer Banks or from the Johnny Mercer pier at Wrightsville Beach.
And there is the question of what happens after the well is completed. You have to build a production platform, lay underwater pipe from that platform to the shore, and then use another pipeline to the refinery or the natural gas processing facility. And all the time you hope a hurricane won't damage the structures or pipeline.
Finally, Wolferman's concept of a $2 federal tax on gasoline is a little weak. He wants that money used to "rebuild infrastructure and develop energy sources." Sounds to me like Harry the Shoe Clerk and Wilma the Waitress are being asked to bear the burden the energy companies should be paying.
Jack Queeney, Pinehurst
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