Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Drill, Baby, Drill -- Not

Phil Reisman, the mad genius of the Journal News, takes on the recent suggestion that Long Island Sound would be a good place to drill for oil, in today's column, here. Tongue in cheek, obviously, Phil writes:

"Drill, baby, drill!" should be shouted across the placid waters from Pelham Bay to Bridgeport. Where to begin? Hmm. Ah, how about a few hundred feet off Premium Point?

After joking around a bit, he quotes me, of all people, making the point that Long Island Sound is owned by New York and Connecticut, and it's just not rational to think that either state would allow drilling, assuming that there's oil there in the first place, which is assuming a lot:

Tom Andersen, a former newspaper colleague of mine who authored "This Fine Piece of Water: An Environmental History of Long Island Sound," said even if there were oil out there, it would be a very long shot that drilling would ever be allowed.

"One serious point is that Long Island Sound are not federal waters," Andersen said in an e-mail. "Any drilling in the Sound would have to be approved by whichever state the proposal happens to be made in.

"Given the states' recent, admirable performance critiquing, reviewing and then rejecting the proposal for a liquefied natural gas terminal in the Sound, it's unimaginable that they would even consider drilling for oil."

Given that the candidate who proposed drilling in the Sound is the longest of long shots, criticizing the proposal is shooting fish in a barrel. But in this case it's worth taking the shots, just to make sure no one takes it seriously.

And also just so you don't think I'm a complete dunce, the email I shot off to Phil said, "... Long Island Sound waters are not federal waters." He must have made a transcription error and quoted my email as, "... Long Island Sound are federal waters."

The only drills I want in the Sound are oyster drills, and not too many of those either.


Blogger Sam said...

What you're looking for is natural gas, not oil. A large area between Sable Island and Nova Scotia has been developed for several years and yes, they're getting lots of natural gas although reserves seem not as robust as earlier thought. There are fears that the southern end of this field, the Georges Bank which tails down to about 70 miles off Cape Cod, could be developed. That would be in US waters of the EEZ.

Long Island Sound would be the last place I'd look for natural gas, so I think you're safe. Some have expressed interest in the offshore East Coast below New Jersey in another field although I am not sure anyone ever shot a test well. Further south, there are some geologic reef features that could trap some oil and gas, but these are very small compared to inside the Gulf of Mexico, Cuba to the Yucatan and all of the US Gulf states. So far, only the Nova Scotia fields have done worth a darn and there's only four rigs there - there are over 10,000 in Gulf of Mexico.

So you're probably safe. As to the oyster drill, there might not be many now but when we used to have a huge oyster industry, those suckers were everywhere! This was one of nature's Franken-critters for sure, a snail so mean it could use grinder mouth parts to eat through an oyster shell and suck out the goodies. The oystermen could handle the nasty spider crabs, jellyfish, and muck but those millions of oyster drills meant lost money. -sam

8:40 PM  

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