Listen To The Story


MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: The Senate is likely to approve an offshore oil drilling bill this week, but this raises a couple of questions. One, how will the differences between the Senate bill and the House version be resolved? Second, does the Senate measure take the country towards energy independence? Here's Marketplace's Scott Tong.

SCOTT TONG: The Senate bill would give drillers access to eight million acres in the Gulf of Mexico. Natural gas there could yield a fraction of one year's supply for America.

That's compared to fours years of supply in the House bill, which allows much more exploration.

Even if the two chambers resolve their differences and the drillers drill, is anything really down there?

Here's Mike Rogers of PFC Energy.

MIKE ROGERS: If you went out and looked at the last say 10 to 20 years, frontier plays are successful in less than 20 percent of the cases. So in other words for every five new frontier exploration play concepts we come up with, we're pretty lucky if one of those actually works.

The promise in the Gulf is largely natural gas, but even if there's oil too, no one's talking energy independence.

Each day, America consumes 20 million barrels. It produces five million.

In Washington, I'm Scott Tong for Marketplace.

Follow Scott Tong at @tongscott