A report assembled by an industry-centric US Department of Energy committee recommends the nation start exploiting the Arctic due to oil and gas shale basins running dry.
In the just-submitted report, first obtained by the Associated Press, the DOE's National Petroleum Council — many members of which are oil and gas industry executives — concludes that oil and gas obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) will not last beyond the next decade or so, thus the time is ripe to raid the fragile Arctic to feed our fossil fuel addiction.
The NPC just launched a website and executive summary of the report: Arctic Potential: Realizing the Promise of U.S. Oil and Gas Resources.
Confirming the thesis presented by the Post Carbon Institute in its two reports, “Drill Baby, Drill” and “Drilling Deeper,” the National Petroleum Council believes the shale boom does not have much more than a decade remaining.
The NPC report appears to largely gloss over the role of further fossil fuel dependence on climate change, or the potentially catastrophic consequences of an oil spill in the Arctic.
The first mention of climate change appears to refer to “concern about the future of the culture of the Arctic peoples and the environment in the face of changing climate and increased human activity,” but doesn't mention the role of fossil fuels in driving those changes. Instead, the report immediately pivots to focus on “increasing interest in the Arctic for tourist potential, and reductions in summer ice provide an increasing opportunity for marine traffic.”
ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, a National Petroleum Council member, chimed in on the study in an interview with the Associated Press.
“There will come a time when all the resources that are supplying the world's economies today are going to go in decline,” remarked Tillerson. “This is will [sic] be what's needed next. If we start today it'll take 20, 30, 40 years for those to come on.”
The National Petroleum Council also deployed the energy poverty argument, utilized most recently by coal giant Peabody Energy in its “Advanced Energy For Life” public relations campaign, to make its case for Arctic drilling as a replacement for fracking.
“But global demand for oil, which affects prices of gasoline, diesel and other fuels everywhere, is expected to rise steadily in the coming decades — even as alternative energy use blossoms — because hundreds of millions of people are rising from poverty in developing regions and buying more cars, shipping more goods, and flying in airplanes more often,” reads the report. “In order to meet that demand and keep prices from soaring, new sources of oil must be developed, the council argues.”