“In 1980 America consumed more than a quarter of the worldwide production of 60 million barrels a day to propel our cars, trucks, boats, to heat our homes, and drive industry and to provide raw material for petrochemicals.”
Nine million barrels came from domestic wells and the remainder imported controlled by (OPEC) Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
The U.S. has the equivalent of nine reserves left. Sixty thousand oil and gas wells were drilled in 1980. The investment in the search reached 20 billion dollars.
At the close of each year estimates are made of new fields and pool discoveries. In addition, estimates for proved reserves for fields and or reserves discovered prior to current reserves and adjusted for by: 1) changes in the area, 2) revisions on better defined performances of the reservoir and, 3) “the effect of the current year’s production.”
“In 1982, we consumed almost 5.7 billion barrels of liquid petroleum products and some 18 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Thus, petroleum provided more than two-thirds of the energy we used that year. Nearly one-third of that oil and 5 percent of that natural gas we import.”
In 1977 we accounted for nearly 48 percent of our domestic demand of oil. This illustrated a remarkable decline in our imports. As economic conditions in the U.S. improved this result in an increase in our dependency on energy from insecure foreign sources.
In the past we witnessed that such heavy dependency on foreign oil can mean in times of tight energy supply. “The Arab embargo of 1973-74 and the interruption of supplies caused by the 1978-79 Iranian Revolution both took their toll on U.S. consumers in skyrocketing prices and fuel shortage at the pump.”
If we find and develop our own energy resource the U.S. need not rely so heavily on foreign oil for so much of its energy.
During the embargo the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) quadrupled oil prices. This shocked the non-OPEC world. Only the Soviet Union produced all of the oil that they needed.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) indicates that the United States “may have as much as 180 billion barrels of liquid petroleum and more than 1 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas remaining to be produced,” 9 from known and yet to be discovered reservoirs.
Underlying the submerged country of the United States is believed to be about 30 percent of our future oil and 28 percent of our future natural gas supply. Under the water of the Alaskan Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) is believed to be a substantial portion of the offshore oil and gas. The off shore lands comprises Nearly three quarters of the nations total off shore area. Despite the petroleum potential only a small portion of Alaska has been explored. This is due to remoteness, high cost of exploration, the need to create a transportation system onshore and offshore.
In 1970 our national bill for imported oil was three billion dollars. By 1980 it rose to 80 billion dollars. During this time the purchasing power of the dollar dropped. We were conserving fuel and we were also in a recession. Also during 1980 oil rose from three dollars a barrel to more than thirty-two dollars a barrel. World supplies were threatened while the war between Iraq and Iran dragged on.
“Even though we import oil, we are the world’s third largest producer of petroleum. We are at the moment virtually self-sufficient in natural gas.”
The Soviet Union and Saudi Arabia are the world top producers.
PRODUCTION (see Appendix 5)
In the early days a gusher was a common sight. A quaker is a wasteful and hazardous sporting of oil over the country side. There are three methods used in the production of oil, primary, secondary and tertiary.
“If the well strikes oil it is sealed with mud while the final casing is run. When all is cemented in, narrow tubing is run down to the level where the oil occurs.”
The casing is perforated there for it allows the oil to flow. To prevent the flow between the spaces of the tube and casing a plug or packer is used.
A group of valves on top of the well called a Christmas tree regulates the flow of oil. Once “the oil leaves the well head it goes through several drums.”
The drums are used to remove gas take out water and remove salt. If the oil pressure is high more drums are needed and visa versa.