5/26/2009 - As the political debate over drilling for gas and oil off Virginia's shores heats up, the Thomas Jefferson Institute today released an updated version of its paper, Virginia Off-Shore Oil and Gas: Fact and Fiction.
The seven-page fact sheet - a particularly useful tool for researchers and reporters - reviews available data for both petroleum, coal, and natural gas resources, production times, environmental implications, revenue potential, and public support.
It notes that there are significant oil and natural gas resources off our coast, and their development can not only help Virginia create new jobs but add to the state treasury. Among the paper's specifics -
· No one knows for certain how much oil and natural gas is available off Virginia's shores, but it is most likely well in excess of Federal estimates, although not likely as large as some have suggested.
· Development of off-shore resources is about reducing U.S. dependence of foreign oil and gas. It is not about global warming. It is about keeping jobs in the U.S. rather than losing them to other nations. It is about expanding Virginia's economic base and it is about reducing the cost of living for Virginia and U.S. citizens. 72% of citizens support off-shore drilling.
· Using modern drilling techniques, off-shore oil reserves may produce from 130 million to 2 billion barrels of oil, an amount that would provide from less than one year's worth of Virginia crude oil needs to 14 years of our crude oil needs.
· Estimates for off-shore natural gas reserves range from 1.14 to 36 trillion cubic feet, an amount that would provide 3.6 to 100 years worth of Virginia natural gas consumption.
· Off-shore production could produce about $69 million in state royalties for the Commonwealth, if that production supplied 100 percent of Virginia's oil and gas needs and no more.
· Estimates of $200 million a year in royalties for natural gas alone do not seem likely at this time.
· Environmental impacts from offshore exploration and production are negligible.
· Sixty-three percent (63%) of adults now say finding new sources of energy is more important than reducing the amount of energy Americans currently consume.
The fact sheet may be found here: www.thomasjeffersoninst.org/pdf/articles/Virginia_Offshore_FactBrief.doc.
The paper is authored by Dr. David Schnare, Director of the Thomas Jefferson Institute's Center for Environmental Stewardship. Dr. Schnare is available for interviews by calling (571) 243-7975.