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Trump’s effort to expand offshore oil and gas exploration has stalled, and may be dead in the water. The newest obstacle is an April ruling in Alaska’s U.S. District Court that blocked Trump’s order to lift a ban on energy leasing in Arctic waters.

特朗普擴大海上石油和天然氣勘探的努力已經停滯,可能會在“水中擱淺”。最新的障礙是阿拉斯加地區法院今年4月做出的一項裁決,該裁決阻止了特朗普解除北極水域能源租賃禁令的命令。

Trump’s 2018 order opening nearly all U.S. coastal waters to offshore drilling is now in limbo, and may be significantly revised. If Trump is voted out in 2020, the plan won’t survive. And even if he is reelected, there are logical arguments for shelving it.

特朗普2018年的命令幾乎開放了美國所有沿海水域,允許近海鉆探,但目前這一命令處于懸而未決的狀態,可能會被重大修改。如果特朗普在2020年被淘汰出局,該計劃將無法繼續存在。即使他再次當選,也有理由將其擱置。



Why would Trump even consider such an unpopular move? One driver may be his determination to erase the environmental legacy of his predecessor, President Obama.

為什么特朗普會考慮這樣一個不受歡迎的舉動?一個推動因素可能是他決心消除前任奧巴馬總統留下的環境遺產。

In December 2016, invoking a provision of the 1953 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, Obama banned offshore drilling in large areas of the Arctic and along the Atlantic coast. Trump sought to kill the ban using an executive order – an approach that reflects his broader effort to extend the limits of presidential power. But Alaska’s District Court ruled that only Congress can reverse Obama’s action.

2016年12月,奧巴馬援引1953年《外大陸架土地法》的一項條款,禁止在北極大片地區和大西洋沿岸進行海上鉆探。特朗普試圖通過行政命令廢除這一禁令,這種做法反映了他擴大總統權力范圍的更廣泛努力。但阿拉斯加地方法院裁定,只有國會才能推翻奧巴馬的舉措。

Nonetheless, the Interior Department is still processing applications to conduct surveys for oil and gas deposits off the Atlantic coast. And the White House is moving to undo new drilling safety requirements adopted in response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
How much would the oil industry gain from more access to federal waters? Trade groups welcomed Trump’s order, but their statements aren’t especially convincing – mainly because estimates of potential offshore reserves in the contested areas pale compared to the central and western Gulf of Mexico, where energy companies have been drilling since the late 1930s.

盡管如此,內政部仍在處理對大西洋沿岸石油和天然氣礦床進行勘探的申請。白宮正在采取行動,撤銷針對“深水地平線”災難采取的新的鉆井安全要求。
如果能更多地進入聯邦水域,石油工業將從中獲得多少好處?貿易組織對特朗普的命令表示歡迎,但他們的聲明并不特別令人信服——主要是因為與墨西哥灣中部和西部相比,對有爭議地區潛在海上儲量的估計并不樂觀。自上世紀30年代末以來,能源公司一直在墨西哥灣進行鉆探。

The action is on land
More to the point, an onshore oil and gas boom is underway, centered in several major provinces of the lower 48 states. These areas offer far more potential with much lower drilling costs than the offshore.
Some of the world’s largest private oil companies are focused on the Permian Basin, an 86,000 square mile region in West Texas and southeast New Mexico. One measure of the stakes is a battle between oil giants Chevron and Occidental over a roughly US$50 billion merger with Anadarko, a company that holds significant value and high standing in the basin.

陸上行動
更重要的是,陸上石油和天然氣的繁榮正在進行中,主要集中在美國48個州的幾個主要省份。與近海相比,這些地區的鉆井成本要低得多,潛力也大得多。
世界上一些最大的私營石油公司都集中在二疊紀盆地,這是一個面積8.6萬平方英里的地區,位于德克薩斯州西部和新墨西哥州東南部。
衡量股權的一個標準是石油巨頭雪佛龍和西方石油公司之間圍繞與阿納達科公司約500億美元的合并展開的斗爭。阿納達科是一家在該盆地擁有巨大價值和極高地位的公司。

According to published figures and confidential sources I have spoken with, the Permian Basin holds approximately 70-100 billion barrels of oil and over 300 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. In a 2018 study the U.S. Geological Survey more than doubled earlier estimates for the Delaware Basin, part of the greater Permian Basin province.

根據我與之交談過的公開數據和機密資料,二疊紀盆地擁有約700億至1000億桶石油和300多萬億立方英尺天然氣。在2018年的一項研究中,美國地質調查局對特拉華盆地的估計比之前提高了一倍多。特拉華盆地是二疊紀盆地的一部分。

These numbers reveal the enormous scale of new resources that have emerged over the past decade from combined use of advanced horizontal drilling and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing. In contrast, estimated reserves in the offshore areas Trump wants to open are far smaller: Only 5 billion barrels of oil and 38 trillion cubic feet of natural gas for the entire Atlantic seaboard, with perhaps another 13 billion barrels and 50 trillion cubic feet combined for the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and offshore California.

這些數字表明,在過去十年中,先進水平鉆井和多級水力壓裂技術的結合使用,已經產生了巨大規模的新資源。相比之下,特朗普希望開放的近海地區的估計儲量要小得多:整個大西洋海岸只有50億桶石油和38萬億立方英尺天然氣,墨西哥灣東部和加利福尼亞離岸地區可能還有130億桶石油和50萬億立方英尺天然氣。

These volumes aren’t trivial, but they are likely to be spread over millions of acres. And oil prices, which recently have ranged from about $55-75 per barrel, would need to be much higher to generate any solid interest in such areas.

這些數量雖然不算小,但很可能分布在數百萬英畝的地區上。最近油價在每桶55-75美元之間波動,要想在這類領域產生任何實質性的利益,就需要更高的油價。

Perhaps the biggest benefit for the oil industry from expanding offshore leasing would be defeating environmentalists on a signature issue. That could make it easier to open other areas that currently are off-limits to drilling.

或許擴大海上租賃對石油行業最大的好處,將是在一個標志性問題上擊敗環保主義者。這可能使目前其他禁止鉆探的地區更容易開采。



I believe that any president who wants the United States to play a major role in the world’s energy future should be beating the drum for other sources. Fossil fuels will not disappear soon, but low-carbon and carbon-free sources will become ever more essential. And strategies like maximizing offshore oil production will be ever more difficult politically, economically or scientifically.

我認為,任何一位希望美國在世界能源未來發揮重要作用的總統都應該大力宣傳其他能源?;劑喜換岷蕓煜?,但低碳和無碳能源將變得越來越重要。而像最大化近海石油產量這樣的策略將在政治、經濟或科學上變得更加困難。