Here’s a good article with a little bit of perspective on the whole “Drill baby drill” argument. It’s from a website that I visit regularly called The Oil Drum that usually has lengthy blog posts with some pretty detailed analysis of what’s going on in the oil and gas industries. It’s not too long, and even has some graphs to help you along. The authors boil it down to three main points:
The macro relationship of drilling and energy production is quite clear, and can be summarized in three main points:
1. There is very little chance that even a great increase in drilling will significantly increase US domestic oil production. Given the extraordinary strategic and economic importance of oil, this a critically important point.
2. There is more hope for natural gas, with production likely to continue increasing for some time. However, unless you are a true believer that we are in a completely “new era”, the statistical relationship of diminishing returns on increased drilling activity is likely to also sharply constrain the gains possible in the domestic production of gas…
3. The reason for the diminishing returns on drilling effort is that the geologists know their business. Historically, the overall energy we gain from domestic drilling has shown essentially no response to increased drilling effort. This is because periods of high drilling activity generally open only marginal resources that do surprisingly little to increase overall national production.
After the GOP convention, Thomas Friedman said in an interview with NPR’s Terry Gross, “When I heard Rudi Guiliani lead that crowd (at the Repub convention) in chanting ‘Drill Baby Drill,’ I thought, what planet are these people inhabiting? It’s as if on the eve of the advent of computer technology, the Republicans were out there saying ‘Let’s stick with the IBM Selectric Typewriter.’ Type baby type. Type. Type. Type.”