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McDonnell and Salazar talk about wind energy, offshore drilling

Anita Kumar

Gov. Bob McDonnell and other Atlantic Coast governors are meeting with U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to talk about wind energy this afternoon.

But McDonnell told us in an interview today that he hopes to have a minute alone with Salazar to talk about the possibility of drilling for oil and natural gas off the coast of Virginia.

McDonnell has urged Salazar in a letter to allow for the exploration of oil and gas off Virginia's coast and to avoid any further delay in the lease, now scheduled for 2011.

"The lease-sale planned for 2011 is right in his office and it will be up to he and his agency to evaluate those petitions and determine whether that lease-sale goes forward in 2011,'' he said. "

U.S. Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner, both Democrats, and Republican members of the Virginia's U.S. House delegation have also written letters in support.

"I feel like we have a good head of steam with our Virginia congressional delegation -- broad, bipartisan support for this and the fact that they are communicating this to Secretary Salazar and want Virginia to be first in the country for Atlantic Coast research and exploration in drilling is a tremendous help to me,'' he said.

McDonnell's letter came months after then Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) sent his own letter to Salazar asking for a delay in drilling off the Virginia coast.

The 25-year-old federal moratorium on energy exploration and development off the coast of Virginia expired last year.

The Minerals Management Service, part of the Interior Department, included Virginia in its five-year plan and began soliciting companies to drill off the coast in 2011. It is the only state on the East Coast included in the plan. But Salazar halted the process to review the plan and get input from the public.

McDonnell also will meet with the Chinese ambassador today to discuss economic development opportunities for Virginia. (Remember, McDonnell wants to open a trade office in China). He will stop by an event for Minnesota governor and possible presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty tonight before heading back to Richmond.

By Anita Kumar  |  February 19, 2010; 2:55 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Next: McDonnell, Republican governors urge Obama to include them in health-care meeting


I think we should watch what these Bozos do when the first oil slick rolls up onto Virginia Beach and then into the Chesapeake Bay. Then we will realize that their environmental record probably wasn't going to be that stellar.

Posted by: Anglo_Rider | February 19, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Drill Here, Drill Now!!!!! Drill Baby Drill!!!!

Posted by: matthewcheadle | February 19, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

He wants to open a trade office in China and India and the UK while he savagely rips apart the educational opportunites and the job potential of the citizens and their children in his own state. What a governor!!! What a man!!!

It would be interesting to see just how many citizens of Va want off-shore drillling for oil. There have been some recent news articles on the shortage of water. Some localities are building de-salination plants and selling that water to areas where a shortage of water interferes with farming and the growth a those economies. Why doesn't Va get into the water purification business?

Posted by: ilcn | February 20, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Just because there was a moratorium on drilling doesn't meant that there's oil (or gas)in them thar waters. Now geologists have stated that the conditions appear likely for the possibility of finding something, however, the exorbitant costs of drilling, plus the lenght of period getting it to the user is going offset any quantity of oil to do any use in extending the happy motoring society for much longer.

this is from Reuters:

The search for oil has always been costly and involved risk taking, but the challenges
facing explorers have intensified as wells have moved further offshore, into deeper
reservoirs and to places with much higher political and physical risks.

Figures from upstream consultant Wood Mackenzie in Edinburgh show the cost of finding oil
has almost tripled over the last decade even though the rate of discovery has barely

Each barrel of oil equivalent cost an average of just over $3 to discover last year,
compared with just $1.18 in 2001, according to Wood Mackenzie. Data from BP Plc for the
cost of finding new oil show an even bigger increase -- more than four fold in the five
years to 2008.

Those figures may seem low given that world spot oil prices are close to $75 per barrel,
but discovery costs need to be multiplied many times as oil is pumped out of the ground,
processed at a refinery and becomes fuel at a service station.

Even established oilfields, such as those in the North Sea, now have breakeven costs of
around $50 per barrel.

The new ultra-deep offshore fields that lie beneath oceans more than 3 km (1.88 miles)
deep and in positions up to 5 miles from rigs impose even higher costs. Because the rigs
work in deeper water, they use more steel, new technology and are operated by highly
trained and expensive specialists. Operating costs for even one day can approach the one
million dollar mark, which is one reason why there are only four deep water rigs in the
entire world.

Posted by: bromisky | February 20, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I don't think this article has it correct. They were really talking about breaking wind and something was said about drilling the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Posted by: trey | February 20, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

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