Thursday, September 25, 2008

The problem with rational thinking...

So I've been thinking, which is always a dangerous thing:

They (the ubiquitous "they", of course) are talking about building offshore oil rigs, about a rate roughly equal to the number of rigs built between 1979 and 1983. During that time, a total of nearly 300 MODUs were put into service. 230 jackup rigs were delivered at an average cost of $35 million each. 48 semisubs were delivered at an average cost of $84 million. 8 drillships were also delivered at a cost of $72 million each. That's about $12 billion in investment in rigs that started pumping at capacity about 6 years after they were started.

To equal that output now will cost about $35 billion in construction costs, plus operating costs once the rigs are operational. If we start January 23, 2009, we will be able to start re-couping our investment around the end of 2014 and they will be fully operational by the end of 2016.

If we have all of these rigs working at capacity, they will have the potential to offset about 2.3% of our dependence on foreign oil. Which is not an insignificant amount. But there are the environmental risks, as many have discussed. And things like hurricanes will continue to get in the way. And eventually the oil will run out.

So we're talking about investing (at a minimum, because the figures I pulled up were from 2006) $35 billion and six years before this off-shore drilling plan can start to alleviate the price at the pump.

And I guess I'm wondering what we might get if we invested that same $35 billion in alternative energy companies and gave the developers the same six years? If we could offset that same 2.3% with a renewable/clean energy source, wouldn't that be worth it?

Am I doing this math wrong?


Ellie Creek Ellis said...

the "correct" math seems to be determined by who's in power...

we know what the BIG PICTURE math is...but will they?

winter said...

No, I think you've got it exactly right.

Thhgakmy - the sensation of having swallowed a bug in mid-speech, just after you started getting a little too full of yourself.

Mike Carter said...

You have it right, and it won't happen. Big Oil has too much power, and they won't give it up if they have any choice at all.