This week in petroleum

Woke up to a shock this morning–we use propane to heat the living room in our house, and the propane bill showed we were being charged a whopping $2.75/gallon… at least a $0.60/gallon increase from the last bill I remember looking at. To find out if this was a reasonable price I did some searching and came across the Energy Information Administration’s This week in Petroleum website that tracks propane prices across the country. I guess things could be worse, the website shows for the week ending 12/17/07 the average price of propane in New England was $2.93/gallon.

But propane prices aren’t that interesting to blog about. [no offense] What jumped out at me on the site was this little graph that compared petroleum exploration investment to actual increases in petroleum reserves. Basically, there appears to be no correlation:

We’ve been spending more on petroleum exploration every year since 2000 but we haven’t seen anything come of it. Granted, the website says there may be reason for this: “It sometimes takes years from the start of exploration before oil is discovered and then designated as ‘proved’ reserves. Also, higher costs for raw materials and drilling rigs mean that some of the additional spending went into just maintaining what companies were already doing.

Pay no attention to that last sentence about petroleum exploration dollars going towards maintaining existing systems… Instead, take this information with the recent energy bill that passed congress, where: “nearly half of House Republicans condemned the legislation as a ‘No Energy Bill’ because it lacked expanded access to new oil and gas exploration“.

But according to the EIA website the results of new gas exploration has gained traction “only two of the previous 17 years.” One would conclude that the money we’re putting into new gas exploration isn’t bearing fruit! So why then would House Republicans push for putting more money into exploration?

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