18 April 2010

Will Americans shift oil attention to own offshore?

According to figures in a 2006 study for the United States federal government, the Atlantic offshore area that may be opened soon to drilling likely contains at least 3.8 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

That puts it on par with the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore.

But the total United States offshore potential is more than 86 billion barrels of oil and 419 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

President Barack Obama committed last month to open up portions of the American offshore to drilling. 

Obama talked about the same issue during the election campaign in 2008 saying he was willing to consider lifting the current ban if it would mean lower prices for American consumers.

So far the major oil companies are sending positive signals about the decision.  It’s also a bit too soon to see what impact this may have on exploration offshore Newfoundland and Labrador.

This is a development worth keeping an eye on, however.  Given a choice between working at home in stable working environment and working in places where policies tend to shift erratically, the big oil companies with the deep pockets may opt for working closer to home.