Mystery of the month – why did Mr. Obama call in a take-out order for 22 million barrels of oil from the nation’s piggy bank?
Answer – we’ll never know. Great minds have been pondering his motives for over a week and no one’s figured out what sparks his pistons. That's why he's called the “Enigma-in-Chief.”
But not everything’s a secret. Outside the White House where information flows freely, there are things to learn that help solve riddles. Things like the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, slant-hole drilling, and a man’s devotion to his wife. Read on.
Strategic Petroleum Reserve In the 70’s, an idea was hatched to buffer the nation against disruptions of oil supplies. The plan called for stockpiling surplus oil in storage facilities – underground salt caverns – at key sites along the Gulf Coast. Four facilities went into service and the oil trickled in. 30 years later, the SPR filled to capacity at 727 million barrels. We were prepared for any emergency, regardless of magnitude.
According to latest USEIA data, America burns through 19 million barrels of crude oil and petroleum products every day. 7 million barrels is domestic production and 12 million is imported. The imports are from a diverse mix of countries, most of whom are friendly types, while the rest are cut-throat merchants motivated by mounds of moolah.
67% of our imports arrives from 5 countries. Canada is the single largest supplier, beating Saudi Arabia by twice the output. Nigeria and Mexico pick up the slack, followed by Venezuela whenever Hugo Chavez isn’t spellbound by Sean Penn’s down-with-America venom and babble.
USEIA statistics further show oil imports have actually declined since 2005. This infers we’re less dependent on unstable countries led by deranged moonbats with unpronounceable names, who on any given day could yank a million barrels off the supply shelf and send the market into apoplexy. Thus, the SPR’s raison d’etre.
What’s interesting is who’s absent from the list of oil suppliers…Iran...and if this doesn’t perplex, it should. Because without Mahmoud I’m-a-Dippy-Jerk threatening to close his spigot, where’s the urgency to open ours?
Just for grins, indulge the idea Mahmoud can make a cork big enough to stopper up our 12 million barrel import pipeline completely. Now run the numbers: When called into action, SPR facilities can provide for a maximum draw-down rate of 4 million barrels a day. If Mahmoud’s supply disruption persists, simple math says without a “Plan B” the SPR will be bone-dry in 6 months. Then what? Sunflower seeds and donkeys?
Oh, and Obama’s 22 million barrels? Gone in less than a week. And all we have to show for it is a tie-dyed T-shirt with pastel zeros. What fun!
Slant-Hole Drilling In the oil industry’s early years, long before the SPR or the horizontal drilling boom, typical wells were “straight holes.” These were wells drilled vertically, with little deviation, from the surface of the ground to the oil sands thousands of feet below.
In those days, most industry folks were diligent, hard-nosed and not adverse to work or risk. If their geology was good, operators were rewarded with barn-burners, prolific wells that came in at thousands of barrels a day and upwards. Nice payday.
Not everyone had the DNA to drill ethical wells. A devious technique called “slant-hole drilling” caught favor among oil field scoundrels. The goal was simple: rather than drilling a vertical well, “slant-hole operators” would change the direction of the drill-bit and guide it in at an angle, allowing them to slip under a neighboring operator’s lease-line and tap into his reservoir.
In legalese, this is “mineral trespass,” a little hunk of long-forgotten lore enjoyed mainly by unimaginative hacks who wanted nothing more from life except a free ride on the shoulders of others’ successes. Or ne-er-do-wells trying to see what they could get away with, like reaching underneath a table to cop a feel off another dude’s girl-friend.
Either way, miscreants were met with fair warning: “This ain’t yer proppity, so git off – trespassers will be violated!”
Devoted Husbands If a man is devoted to his wife, there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for her when she’s in a jam. Conversation overheard in the White House Oval Office:
“Hey, honey. Listen, I’m in Zambizi on our “Back to our Roots Tour” and you know Shaneiqua? Our budget director? Well, she’s clueless with numbers and we, like, ran out of gas and I’m stuck in this stink-hole with 400 whiny interns and assistants, two 747's on empty and 35 tons of clothes and luggage, and I was thinkin’ maybe you can talk to your homeys to get us some emergency fuel.”
“Sure thing, sugar-buns, think 10 million barrels would handle it?”
“Tell ya what, round it up to 22 million in case I have another emergency."
And there you go! No more mystery.