Romney’s horizontal fibbing on oil drilling

In his campaign speeches yesterday, Mitt Romney was promising that the new technology of “horizontal drilling” would open up new reserves of oil and gas, and allow the US to become energy independent.

Like most Romney “facts,” it isn’t true in any meaningful sense of ‘truth’.

The fact is that drilling sideways rather than straight up and down has been going on since the 1920s, when it was the subject of lawsuits as drillers were accused of stealing oil from other people’s land. Horizontal drilling was also at the center of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Iraq was upset that the Kuwaiti wells were taking oil from their land.

Oil drilling

Oil via Shutterstock

There have been recent developments that have improved this technology — notably, “fracking,” which has made gas reserves available (but not without environmental costs). But these are incremental improvements in technology rather than radical technologies that will solve US energy problems at a stroke. As with every extractive industry, the oil and gas industry are forced to innovate just to maintain current production. The resources that are easy to reach are extracted first, what’s left is anything but easy.

As Obama pointed out, the US has 2% of proven oil reserves but consumes 20% of global production. The idea that the US can become energy independent, without conservation and a major expansion in renewables, is a fantasy and a lie.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000163871579 Melissa Ann Edwards

    drill upside down sideways front to back but this nation needs to be able to stand on its on 2 feet

  • Naja pallida

    He doesn’t need to invade. Harper is happy to sell it to the highest bidder.

  • Snarki, child of Loki

    Shhh! Romney’s plan for invading Canada is supposed to be a SECRET!

    First, he has to gin up a pretext.  Probably something about a fight breaking out at a hockey game. 

  • hollywoodstein

    If you’re not lying, you’re not trying.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Once again: The chimera of ‘energy independence’ is nothing but an illusion, a term created to fool the rubes.

    When an oil company pumps that oil out of the ground it belongs to them. They’re free to load it onto tankers and ship it anywhere else in the world where they can get more money. The only way this nation called the United States of America could be independent in the way expressed by the leaders of both major political parties is if all the reserves and the oil companies themselves were nationalized and oil exports banned. Same thing with natural gas and coal. If another country offers more money, that’s where it’ll be sold.

    But then why am I even saying this? At the current rate of worldwide oil extraction, it’s going to run out by time the next generation begins to reach middle age anyway, with gas running out in their children’s lifetime and coal a generation after that.

    At which point there may not even be a biosphere left to save.

  • Bill from Dover

    Why would anybody expect this douch-nozzle to erupt in a rare moment of truth at this late date?

    Seriously, people…

  • Naja pallida

    Romney has also stated that US energy independence relies on Canada’s oil supply. So obviously, Romney has no idea what the phrase ‘energy independence’ means, so pretty much invalidates his ideas on the issue.

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