The Instigator
parkerdoc
Pro (for)
Winning
27 Points
The Contender
TeaandScarves
Con (against)
Losing
15 Points

Should the US government develop oil fields in the US and not big business.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/17/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,553 times Debate No: 573
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (13)

 

parkerdoc

Pro

The US government should be developing the oil in the green river river oil shale fields and anwar, and charging standard oil, exxonmobil etc to purchase it.
TeaandScarves

Con

First of all, I want to make sure I understand what you're saying. You're seem to be saying that instead of helping big corporations, the U.S. should focus its energy towards finding oil within the U.S. and then charge the big oil companies within the U.S. to buy from the government. If I have this wrong, please correct me.

Going off of this statement, I see several fallacies here. First off, the oil industry is big business. You cannot separate the two. Finding oil is about making money, and making money is what big business is all about.

Second of all, it sounds to me like you're supporting what could ultimately end up as fascism for the government's benefit. If the government did find oil and then force the oil companies to buy it from them, we would lose a main part of capitalism and these companies would be forced to the government's demands. I'm not sure why either side would really this. The people would then want to overthrow the government due to a no longer truly capitalist society in terms of business. Even if this particular situation did not happen, it would not be good.

Lastly, what would really be the most economically sound and best for the people, the country, and ultimately the world would be working on developing a environment friendly replacement to oil for several reasons.
1. We are running out of oil fast.
2. The oil that is left is creating conflict, especially in the Middle East.
3. Oil used in cars and other industrial equipment releases CO2 emissions into the air along with other greenhouse gases and quickens the effects of global warming. Finding oil on our land also destroys natural habitats.
4. Upon finding an eco-friendly alternative to oil, business will boom for that particular item, especially if the U.S. found it first, and the three issues above would become void.

Please let me know if I have misunderstood the original question at hand. I look forward to this debate.
Debate Round No. 1
parkerdoc

Pro

The Green River Oil Shale field is the second largest concentration of oil in the world. It is approx. 200 more dense than Saudi Arabia. Each square mile contains over 1 billion barrels of oil and there are over 1650 square miles just in Colorado. This oil used to be cost prohibitive, around $55 per barrel.

A company called Oil-tech has devised a new retorting process to get the oil out of the shale for around $6-$8 per barrel, cleanly also, with almost no need for water. The byproduct is propane, which is bottled and sold. President Bush, in His 06 energy bill called for the developtment of this oil. However, the way is stands now, Exxonmobil will just go in and pull this oil, and put into world supplies. We, the average american, will see no benefit, while the oil companies will continue to post billion dollar profits. You and I will still pay $4 per gallon of gas. The catch is, the oil sits in national lands. Our land, our taxes our oil!

My proposal is simple. The Government, like ALL other oil producing countries, develops that oil and sells is for a profit to big oil. Let us just say the gov. pulls the oil for $8 per barrel. It then sells it to Exxonmobil for $15 per barrel and makes a $7 per barrel profit. Exxon is then allowed to refine and sell gas at the same margin as it does now. So it makes its money!

In the meantime, the government has a profit of $7 per barrel on Oil sold to the US. This is enough $$ that we could put say $1 per into a fund to find better energy sources. We could put $1 per to pay the deficit, $1 to social security, etc... The oil we sell to the world goes at the price of oil and a huge profit. Enough to get rid of income tax, have a clild health plan etc...

There is enough oil to max produce for about 120 years. Then we are onto better energy sources and out of the middle east and energy dependance on them. In fact, it is very possible THEY run out in 12-15 like experts say and need to buy from us, and we can reward their greed.
TeaandScarves

Con

Thank you for clearing up your argument. It makes much more sense now.

One of your main arguments that the oil companies will go into this reserve themselves and take our oil is not completely true. I know I made a statement in my first argument about the government controlling the oil companies to an outrageous extent. I would now like to recognize my statement as false and I apologize for being misleading in any way.
With that said, I would now like to say why your statement for oil companies just taking it to be false as well. The deposits of oil are "under federally owned and managed lands. Thus, the federal government directly controls access to the most commercially attractive portions of the oil shale resource base." so the government already does have the power here. In short, you are wrong that the companies get the oil, but you are right in that it is "Our land, our taxes our oil!" The government already has the power to do what you want them to.
I cannot deny that the use of the oil would be a benefit to the world economy. Oil prices everywhere would go down due to the sudden increase. I did mention before that the oil industry is big business, this is just reiterating the fact. "Developing oil shale [is] economically unviable", however and "crude oil prices are highly volatile" (RAND xiii).
I must still contest though that digging up this oil shale would not be good for the environment. You are first of all wrong about the use of water. According to the RAND Corporation, "About three barrels of water are needed per barrel of shale oil produced" (RAND xiii) Our country and world is already having water scarcity issues. But this is not the only environmental impact. The production of the oil alone will admit many greenhouse gases such as CO2 which will greatly disturb the air quality in these regions and elsewhere. The land in these regions will also be greatly disturbed and unlikely to be replenished. All of these things will directly affect the people who live there now. There are high chances that their health will worsen, their property value will go down and the most they would ultimately get out of it is lower gas prices.
While yes, it is true that the oil will last for 400 years in theory and that solutions to the greenhouse emissions problem will be solved by then, there is one main issue with this: we do not have 400 years to figure out an alternative to greenhouse gases and the natural elements (like oil) that cause these gases. Global warming is happening fast. We may have the means to keep our way of life going for 400 years, but our means of life are destroying the earth, our ultimate source of life. If we have alternatives 400 years later, our mother earth will be almost deteriorated by then.

sources:
http://ostseis.anl.gov...
http://www.rand.org...
Debate Round No. 2
parkerdoc

Pro

Your arguements are thoughtful, and I think I only disagree on one point that I will go over in a moment. According to the patent that Oil-tech submitted and according to the environmental impact study there is little to no environmental impact.
Process Description

"After shale rock has been mined, the rock is further crushed. This rock is then lifted via conveyor equipment to the top of an 80 foot building and deposited in a feeder bin setting on top of the heating column, known as a "retort". The retort heats the shale rock until the hydrocarbon vapors containing organic materials are released. These vapors are then vacuumed into a condensing unit, thereby producing raw shale oil.

One ton of shale rock will typically produce between 30 and 60 gallons of shale oil compound. This oil is subjected to a process which creates two marketable products – refinery feedstock and pyridine nitrogen. Pyridine is a basic, organic, and aromatic nitrogen with many uses and markets. This may be used amongst other purposes as an asphalt additive. The pyridine makes up approximately 2% of the shale oil.

The refinery feedstock has been shown to be low in sulfur content and is thus viewed as "sweet" or "light".

The resulting spent shale has a large heat value that will be used as a source for heating new shale rock entering the retort. The spent shale also has residual carbon content that may be combusted to further produce energy. Finally, after all hydrocarbons are condensed, propane, which is non-condensable at atmospheric pressure, may be scrubbed, compressed, chilled and bottled as clean energy, ready for market.

The spent shale has potential market value in various areas as building materials, industrial spill absorbents and for land fill. Such potential has not yet been fully investigated.

Environment Impact

The retort is a sealed unit, vacuum purged and environmentally friendly, with no toxic output. Propane/methane gas, the cleanest burning gas known to the energy industry, is a byproduct of the process that may either be flared off or used to support the cogeneration efforts.

The raw spent shale has been tested by the State of Utah and found to be non-polluting. The State thus granted permission to store spent materials on the surface. The State is also interested in using the spent shale to fill old abandoned Gilsonite mines.

Minimal water is required for the process. Unlike most other designs, the retort does not require water for its operation. The mining operations and spent shale operations will require a small amount of water for activities such as dust control and cleaning equipment."

My only disagreement comes on the greenhouse gas hoax. I do believe in Global Warming, although, according to NASA the earths temp went down last year. I am not convinced that we are the cause, or more specifically, that automobiles are the cause. This is a different debate, but Stephen Hawking worked out a mathematical formula that proved that if everyone in the world stopped driving tomorrow, it would make no difference. It is possible that coal burning for electricity contributes more, but I believe this greenhouse gas thing is again, big business, global economy and global tax driven.
However, As I stated, this would allow us to get off the OPEC teet in two years and give us the money to invest in cleaner technologies. Other side effects would be increased capital to the government, and a switch from a trade deficit to a trade surplus, thereby making your dollar worth $1.60 instead of $.60.
TeaandScarves

Con

"Propane/methane gas, the cleanest burning gas known to the energy industry"
Yes, I agree with this statement. It is the cleanest known the industry. But that does not make it clean, or clean enough. Just because one can say it is the best we have for the moment does not make it the best.

"These vapors are then vacuumed into a condensing unit… to fill old abandoned Gilsonite mines."
This is still dangerous. These containers filled with these gases cannot be completely reliable and could leak out these gases. Even if they did not leak these gases, the containers themselves would pollute the inside of the earth where companies suggest putting them.

"The retort is a sealed unit, vacuum purged and environmentally friendly, with no toxic output… Minimal water is required for the process. Unlike most other designs, the retort does not require water for its operation."
1. I would like to know what they mean by "minimal" and other vague words such as "low in sulfur content". 3 barrels of water to 1 barrel of oil could seem like minimal to some, as I cited before.
2. After looking up the retort process, you seem to be correct that it would use less water. This is only, however, if Shell comes up with their version of in situ retorting as seen here: "Shell is working on an in situ retorting technology, in which the rock could be heated without being removed from the mountain. They claim to be able to produce oil at a cost of $30 per barrel, and in situ processing should reduce the environmental, energy, and water costs." They think they will have an idea if the project is economically feasible by 2010. If it is, then they will move forward with plans to discover if they can do this procedure. But this is costly but more importantly it would take time. If we really want to protect our environment, our time and energy would be better put into discovering an alternative instead of trying to buy time with what we have now, and then discovering an alternative.

"I am not convinced that we are the cause, or more specifically, that automobiles are the cause… It is possible that coal burning for electricity contributes more, but I believe this greenhouse gas thing is again, big business, global economy and global tax driven."
1. These two arguments don't necessarily match up. Automobiles and electricity for buildings, while they don't necessarily use the same energy source (coal v. natural gas), both end up releasing CO2 into the air along with other greenhouse gases.
2. I also don't understand why you would think that the idea of greenhouse gases would be run by big businesses and the economy. What do they have to gain from this? Right now most businesses are dependent upon energy sources that release these gases. Finding out that these are harmful would not help them in any way.

"give us the money to invest in cleaner technologies."
This seems to be a paradox. You earn the money to create cleaner gases by using the harmful gases you're trying to combat? I understand again that it would be helpful to the economy, but other things we are doing (or not doing) would help our economy even more than this, such as ending funding for a war that is going nowhere.

"would be increased capital to the government"
I completely agree that it would help the economy. My concern ultimately, as I have stated, is that what is the point of a good economy for a short period of time if our habitat is destroyed in the long run?

It has been a pleasure debating with you. You provide good viewpoints and back them up with good sources. I have learned a lot from this debate and I hope we debate again sometime.

Sources:
http://www.energyquest.ca.gov...
http://www.eia.doe.gov...
http://www.econbrowser.com...
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by griffinisright 9 years ago
griffinisright
Good debate you too. Close call
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