Email of the day (1)
Comment of the Day

December 17 2012

Commentary by David Fuller

Email of the day (1)

On US shale reserves (from Switzerland):
"This is earth-shattering if true…how can it be? Can you please check this out through the Collective? This changes the world, potentially…USD 37 trillion of non-tax revenues! You hardly need to tax the [wealthy] on top. USA better than slow growth Euroland too…see UK turning around on shale too?"

"A thought provoking quote from Wikipedia (I take no responsibility for authenticity etc):

A stretch of largely vacant federal lands in Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado may hold more recoverable oil than all the rest of the world put together. That is what Anu Mittal, Director of Natural Resources for the General Accounting Office, informed the House Science Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment in her written testimony on May 10:

The Green River Formation - an assemblage of over 1,000 feet of sedimentary rocks that lie beneath parts of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming - contains the world's largest deposits of oil shale. USGS [U.S. Geological Survey] estimates that the Green River Formation contains about 3 trillion barrels of oil, and about half of this may be recoverable, depending on available technology and economic conditions.....

Because this oil is largely on federal lands, an enormous amount of federal revenue could be generated through lease options and royalty payments without raising tax rates at all.

How much? The standard royalty payment in the oil and gas business is "one-eighth of production free and clear of costs" or 12.5 percent of the value of the oil extracted. Assuming that the 3-trillion barrel figure is accurate and that the price of oil remains in the neighborhood of $100 per barrel, then the federal non-tax revenue from royalties alone could be as high as $37.5 trillion. However, that figure is no doubt an overestimate of revenue. As more oil is extracted, the price of oil will drop, and hence it will not be economically feasible to recover more of the oil at that point.

But even if only 30 percent of those royalty revenues flowed into the U.S. Treasury, that would be enough to pay off the entire national debt without raising tax rates or cutting federal spending. Moreover, state taxes on oil and gas produced would enable state governments to keep tax rates low without affecting government operations....

"Wow! That makes the glass look half full from an economic point of view - or half empty from an ecological one - depending on your take...

"View full article on Wikipedia under Green River Formation oil shale..."

David Fuller's view I understand your excitement; the implications of the Wikipedia article are astonishing.

There is also an informed second email on this subject, also from Switzerland.

Back to top