…that's how much oil giant BP believes may be lying buried deep beneath the Gulf of Mexico. By comparison the current proven reserves in the US are 30 billion barrels).
Most of that's unreachable with today's oil drilling technology. But that's not likely to last. Yesterday the British company announced the discovery of Tiber Field, a giant oil field in the Gulf that could contain up to 3 billion barrels of oil, though 'only' about 500 million barrels — and perhaps even less – are accessible with current technology.
BP made the discovery by drilling the deepest oil well ever — 9.4 kilometers (5.8 miles) below the sea bed. Depending on your point of view, this is either a really good sign that the end of oil in the Gulf is further away than we think, or a terrible, terrible harbinger of unthinkable planetary doom.
BP and Shell estimate that their worldwide oil and gas production will increase steadily through 2013. Increase. And Tiber field is proof that they will employ as much new technology as possible to keep drilling deeper, doing whatever it takes to get more and more oil to market. It's not their fault, it's just business. It's ours; we keep demanding it.
So, in the fight to slow, stop, and ultimately reverse the effects of global warming, WE ARE STILL LOSING. Yes, there's lots of talks among presidents and ambassadors and there are climate summits and even legislation. There's the 'green movement,' and all sorts of eco-friendly marketing, and so on. These are all good things.
But the bottom line is there is still a great and growing thirst for oil in this country. That thirst is playing havoc with our planet's climate and ecosystem, and appears to be making Earth a tougher place for seven billion people to make a living.
Not much else to do in the face of such gloom, right? Might as well drink. So, take one down, pass it around…