LETTERS to the editor 

I Drink Your Milkshake

As a 30-year veteran of oil and gas exploration both foreign and domestic, I would like to make a few comments on the article about offshore drilling. ("Here's the Drill" by Stratton Lawrence, Aug. 13)

First and foremost, I must take issue with some of the expert sources quoted in the article. It appears to me that many of the numbers being quoted have been produced and promoted by agenda-driven people or organizations who wish to minimize the potential impact of new offshore discoveries. There are numerous areas that had been totally written off by "experts," i.e. having zero potential, the best example of which now holds the world's largest reserves, Saudi Arabia. Another great story is East Texas, where an old promoter named Dad Joiner bucked the conventional wisdom and ultimately discovered the largest oil field in the Lower 48, the supergiant East Texas Field in 1930. (Interestingly enough, the almost immediate effect of this discovery in this "barren" area was a drastic drop in the price of oil, to about one-tenth of what it had been.)

Secondly, it bothers me that so many of these so-called "experts" have never actually drilled a well. The drilling, completion, and equipping of oil and gas wells is a very high-tech operation that contains a redundancy of safety systems, both surface and subsurface, to protect both personnel and the environment. The commonly held misconception of nasty, black oil shooting out of the ground and soaking the countryside simply does not occur in the modern world of oil and gas exploration. The vast majority of large oil-related disasters have, in fact, been transportation accidents involving oil tankers, not exploration or production, and our ever-increasing dependence on foreign oil requires the visitation to our ports of even more tankers.

Thirdly, I read with utter amazement the comments by the fisheries expert and wondered if he has ever actually been near a producing oil and gas platform. I spent many years fishing the inshore and offshore waters of south Louisiana, home to hundreds of oil and gas platforms. The fishing is nothing short of spectacular, and the best places to fish are next to the oil and gas platforms, which have created a vast network of artificial reefs that are home to a hugely diverse and abundant marine fauna.

Finally, I would like to say that the people of this country better wake up real quick to the true agenda of the environmental extremists. History will show "man-made global warming" to be one of the biggest hoaxes ever perpetrated, primarily on the people of this country. Like it or not, we are an oil-based economy and will remain so for the foreseeable future; the majority of so-called "alternative energy" solutions are decades away from a reliable, economic implementation, if at all. To all of the "alternative energy" proponents I have only one question: "Where can I get some for my car tomorrow, or next week, or next year, or in the next five years?"

Michael A. Johnson
Johns Island

All the World's a Stage

The Olympics are done, so here's a big shout out to our host with the most. That's right, folks. Let's hear it for China!

Granted, China, you had a lot to overcome, what with all the lead-soaked toys you've been shoving down our throats, not to mention the SARS epidemic and destroying the global economy with your sub-poverty wages and manufacturing practices. But hey, you triumphed! And no amount of prerecorded, post-edited fireworks, or chunky smog could get in the way of your shining moment!

Switching out that singing kid was pure genius. I, for one, do not want to see some buck-toothed brat singing the national anthem.

Entering those toddlers in gymnastics was brilliant, too. Yep, I'm not ashamed to admit I prefer my gymnasts the old-fashioned way: prepubescent, starving, and just a little terrified of getting beaten (by the coach) like those wide-eyed Romanians back before Bela Karolyi got soft.

Finally, a big giant "thanks" for beating the crap out of all those Tibetan monks. What a bunch of whiners! Please. It's high time someone showed them the back side of a hand, if you ask me, and you delivered, China. (We would've taken care of them ourselves, except for that stupid war in Iraq.)

Wendy Sang Kelly
Isle of Palms

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