September 2009: Giant oil discovery in the Gulf of Mexico to yield more than three billion barrels of oil

Thursday, September 03, 2009

You can read about it here. BP announced yesterday the discovery of a new well that should bring in the equivalent of 4 to 6 billion barrels, which is equal to the US demand for crude for one year.

That doesn't sound like that much when compared with American consumption, but bear in mind that what matters most to a country is not simple consumption but where the energy comes from. The US uses 20.8 million barrels of oil per day, but the most important number is 60%, which represents the amount that must be imported. Taking a look at the countries from where these imports come, we have the following from most to least:

Canada, Venezuela, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Angola, Iraq, Russia, Colombia, Brazil, Algeria, Kuwait, United Kingdom, Ecuador, Norway.

From a political standpoint some of these countries are better than others. Canada is no problem, neither is Brazil, UK, Norway, etc. Venezuela in second place though isn't a good thing for the US - that's a tad too much potential leverage for a country their size in spite of the fact that the new US administration has been able to turn down the rhetoric with Venezuela since its inception.

Quick conclusion: a nice break, but the US still needs to achieve energy independence as quickly as possible. Cash for clunkers has been a good example of a program that has resulted in quite a jump in average fuel efficiency. The next big thing will be the mass adoption of electric vehicles, probably starting with cheap vehicles like the Nissan Leaf.

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