CNN's Beck didn't challenge former oil exec's assertion that ANWR drilling would "probably" produce oil in "two to three years"

››› ››› MORGAN WEILAND

On his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck did not challenge former Shell Oil president John Hofmeister's assertion that drilling in ANWR would "probably" produce oil in "two or three years." In fact, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration concluded that any benefit from drilling in ANWR would not impact the U.S. oil supply for at least a decade.

During an interview with former Shell Oil Company president John Hofmeister on the August 8 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck, Beck did not challenge Hofmeister's assertion that drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) would "probably be two to three years to get some oil." As Media Matters for America has documented, in its May 2008 Analysis of Crude Oil Production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) concluded that oil drilling in ANWR would not impact the U.S. oil supply for at least a decade.

During the interview, Hofmeister asserted, "You know, you can find oil pretty quickly, you can put the engineering plans together if you've got infrastructure in place. And that's why the oil industry continues to have interest in ANWR, 'cause the infrastructure's there. The Trans-Atlantic pipeline is there. It can bring oil quickly to the United States if ANWR was opened up. And you don't have to build new infrastructure." When Beck asked Hofmeister, "How fast on ANWR?" Hofmeister replied: "ANWR would probably be two to three years to get some oil."

Beck did not challenge Hofmeister's assertions that the "infrastructure's there" and "you don't have to build new infrastructure" by pointing out that the EIA estimated it would take "3 to 4 years to construct the feeder pipelines; to fabricate oil separation and treatment plants, and transport them up from the lower-48 States to the North Slope by ocean barge; construct drilling pads; drill to depth; and complete the wells."

In assessing the impact of hypothetical legislation that would allow drilling in ANWR, the EIA "assumes that enactment of the legislation in 2008 would result in first production from the ANWR area in 10 years." The EIA stated: "The primary constraints to a rapid development of ANWR oil resources are the limited weather 'windows' for collecting seismic data and drilling wells (a 3-to-4 month winter window) and for ocean barging of heavy infrastructure equipment to the well site (a 2-to-3 month summer window)." The EIA continued:

The assumption that ANWR oil production would begin 10 years after legislation approves the Federal oil and natural gas leasing in the 1002 Area is based on the following 8-to-12 year timeline:

  • 2 to 3 years to obtain leases, including the development of a U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) leasing program, which includes approval of an Environmental Impact Statement, the collection and analysis of seismic data, and the auction and award of leases.
  • 2 to 3 years to drill a single exploratory well. Exploratory wells are slower to drill because geophysical data are collected during drilling, e.g., rock cores and well logs. Typically, Alaska North Slope exploration wells take two full winter seasons to reach the desired depth.
  • 1 to 2 years to develop a production development plan and obtain BLM approval for that plan, if a commercial oil reservoir is discovered. Considerably more time could be required if the discovered oil reservoir is very deep, is filled with heavy oil, or is highly faulted. The petroleum company might have to collect more seismic data or drill delineation wells to confirm that the deposit is commercial.
  • 3 to 4 years to construct the feeder pipelines; to fabricate oil separation and treatment plants, and transport them up from the lower-48 States to the North Slope by ocean barge; construct drilling pads; drill to depth; and complete the wells.

The 10-year timeline for developing ANWR petroleum resources assumes that there is no protracted legal battle in approving the BLM's draft Environmental Impact Statement, the BLM's approval to collect seismic data, or the BLM's approval of a specific lease-development proposal.

From the August 8 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: People say, "We'll never be able to pump a drop out in seven -- for seven to 10 years." I've heard that there are capped wells out -- just off the coast of California, and there are easier places where we could turn it around in months' time. True or false?

HOFMEISTER: True, if you turn the industry loose. The coast of California is a perfect example. There is infrastructure already in place that could carry off new oil from new wells, which could be drilled in a matter of months, not years.

BECK: I heard that there was a big discovery in Russia -- I think it was maybe somewhere near Turkey or something. They found this big, gigantic oil find. They found it back in June and I had to read this story like three times, 'cause it said they will be pumping oil from it in September, this year.

HOFMEISTER: They must have had existing infrastructure --

BECK: OK.

HOFMEISTER: -- because the infrastructure is usually the delay. You know, you can find oil pretty quickly, you can put the engineering plans together if you've got infrastructure in place. And that's why the oil industry continues to have interest in ANWR, 'cause the infrastructure's there. That Trans-Atlantic pipeline is there. It can bring oil quickly to the United States if ANWR was opened up. And you don't have to build new infrastructure. But in the coast of California is a different example than the Middle Atlantic states. If the Middle Atlantic states were opened up for oil exploration and production, yeah, it's probably somewhere between five, seven years before you get any.

BECK: How fast on ANWR?

HOFMEISTER: ANWR would probably be two to three years to get some oil.

BECK: OK. Back in just a second.

Posted In
Environment & Science, Drilling, Energy
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CNN Headline News
Person
Glenn Beck
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