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Letter of the Day: Snake oil

<b>Snake oil</b>

EDITOR: The Jan. 8 article about oil ("Push to export U.S. oil gains traction") shows how uninformed we are about the current oil boom. Contrary to industry claims, we haven't become a new Saudi Arabia, rejuvenated by an abundance of oil and independence from foreign sources. The surge in U.S. production since 2010 is the result of exploitation of the dregs of our oil resource -#8212; the source rocks from which oil bonanzas of the past flowed into easy-to-drain deposits, long since squandered.

The high price of oil (around $100 a barrel) fosters use of expensive technologies (horizontal drilling and fracking) to suck oil from rocks resistant to giving it up. Most such wells, costing upwards of $10 million each, show rapid declines in production in the first year, followed by production levels so low that new wells are required annually for a field to stay even.

The notion that exports will stimulate "further development of American resources, create more drilling jobs and increase the nation's energy security" is a recipe for failure and rapid exhaustion of the limited resources we have.

This is a Big Oil scam that will make us weaker and more dependent on a vanishing resource.

HOWARD WILSHIRE

Sebastopol


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