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Sunday, July 20, 2008

No Excuse Not to Drill Now: It Won't Take 10 Years to Get the Oil

And the dirty little secret why Democrats want gas prices to go higher still!

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.
-Abraham Lincoln

By now, readers will be very familiar with the Democrats "big lie" strategy. It's one they have used time and again. Whether it's global warming, or the surge in Iraq has failed or lately, that even if we drill for more oil today it won't be available for at least ten years. The big lie works. Lie loud enough and often enough and get your friends in the "news" media to repeat it and many people will accept it as fact.

But as Lincoln said, you can't fool all the people all the time. Some you can, and we will continue to call them Democrats. So, this news about how quickly we could begin lowering the price of oil by increasing the supply will come as a shock to them. Be kind, before you pass this along to any lib friends, make sure to hand them a hanky to cry in.

Earlier this month President Bush removed the Executive ban on offshore oil drilling and urged the Congress to follow suit. Congress will have to act one way or the other as the congressional moratorium on offshore drilling expires on September 30. Harry Pelosi and Nancy Reid (or is it the other way around?) have dug in their heels and refused to allow new drilling to take place offshore, or anywhere else for that matter.

Chief among their objections was that it would take "ten years" to get that oil to market. Like so much else in their repertoire, that statement too is untrue:

Does It Have To Take A Decade To Bring New Crude To Market?

...Polls show most Americans favoring opening federal lands and offshore areas to energy production. As it stands, 97% of our offshore areas and 94% of our federal lands are off limits.

President Bush raised the likelihood that that could change with his lifting of the federal moratorium on offshore drilling.

But he's been opposed by Congress, which argues it will simply take too long — as much as 10 years or more — for the new oil to come to market to do any good.

That doesn't appear to be true.

To begin with, industry analysts note, much of the drilling delay is self-inflicted — a result of excessively stringent environmental and land-use regulations.

Scrap those, or modify them, and new oil can be produced in far less than 10 years.

Producing oil from new sources has three stages, which can take years, notes Marilyn Crockett, executive director of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association in Anchorage. First, comes an environmental impact report, then bidding on leases and, finally, drilling.
Yet, in some areas, the regulatory processes is largely done, so oil can come to market far sooner than 10 years — if Congress lets it.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told IBD oil from the Chukchi Sea, believed to hold 15 billion barrels of oil, could flow much sooner than 10 years with new legislation.

"Those areas Congress can help us with right now," she said.

Congress' delays have become an issue in this year's campaigns.

"Those are problems that can be solved with legislation," said Craig Williams, a Republican congressional candidate from Pennsylvania, who traveled to the North Slope of Alaska last week and spoke to IBD by phone. He said streamlining the environmental impact process and tightening the four- to six-year schedule for bidding would make a big difference.

Bureaucracy's not the only problem.

"The chilling effect is the lawsuits at every single step of the way," said Crockett. "There is tremendous legal attention on oil and gas development participation in new areas. . . . I have been in this industry 38 years and know what happens."

According to the Institute for Energy Research, a private think tank, citing Bureau of Land Management data, protests, appeals and lawsuits over oil development averaged 1,180 per year between 2001 and 2007, a 706% increase over 1997-2000. The IER notes, for instance, that 100% of New Mexico's 78 oil leases were protested by environmental and neighborhood groups.

The group also noted that a critical pipeline from the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska has been held up by lawsuits — even as Congress blames oil companies for not producing oil from its leases there.

"They're stuck in position because they can't transport the oil 200 or 300 miles away," said Williams
In areas where the bureaucratic hurdles are over and lawsuits are absent, oil has been drilled and brought to the market in as little as one or two years. Louisiana's offshore areas are an example.

California's 10 billion barrels in offshore oil could be brought to market in as little as a year "if the moratorium were lifted," according to a recent Sanford C. Bernstein report said, citing that the oil is under shallow water and drilling platforms already exist.

To be sure, oil won't be flowing tomorrow even if all drilling restrictions were lifted.

That doesn't mean it won't impact prices.

Oil prices are influenced by futures markets — where people buy and sell future supplies of oil. Futures prices are now higher than spot prices, a signal that supply is tight.

If we have the will to drill, we can break the negative market psychology and send oil tumbling back below $100 a barrel.

Just a little talk from President Bush last week about pushing for more oil supplies helped push oil prices down more than 10% to below $130 a barrel in just five days, even though a drilling ban remains in place.

The widely respected Cambridge Energy Research Associates estimates speculative bidding accounts for about 20% of the price of oil. The promise of more supply would help cut prices.

Breaking the continuity of thinking about supply also affects existing oil producers.

A big one, like Saudi Arabia which has spare capacity, will have more incentive to pump if it thinks it will lose markets. That's what drilling in the U.S. would do — threaten Saudi Arabia's and OPEC's market dominance, and force them to pump more.

All that stands in the way is a Congress that, ironically, calls a 10-year production window too long, even as it's bankrolled by the very environmental special interests responsible the delays.
Ah yes, those wonderful environmental groups which raise nearly $7 billion dollars a year by scaring the American people are the ones holding American energy independence hostage with an army of lawyers and bucketfuls of cash to bribe Democrats!

And why are they doing it? Oil exploration, transportation and use in this country has become remarkably safe. Especially when compared to the rest of the world.

Nature Pollutes MORE than Oil Companies and Users

In a largely unheralded report (you'll know why it was unheralded in a second) by the National Academy of Science titled "Oil in the Sea III" we learn:

Oil in the Sea III
National Academy of Science

New estimates indicate that the overall amount of petroleum released to the marine environment may be lower than earlier thought. This reflects, in part, advances
over the last decade in marine transportation and oil and gas production techniques. Spillage from vessels in North American waters from 1990 to 1999 was less than one-third of the spillage during the prior decade, and, despite increased production, reductions in releases during oil and gas exploration and production have been dramatic as well.
The chart at right shows that natural oil seepage from the ocean floor accounts for far greater petroleum contamination than mandmade sources in the United States. And the proportion of U.S. pollution to that of other nations is far less. There is no valid environmental reason NOT to drill for more oil.

A recent report on the oil tanker industry backs up the National Academy of Sciences conclusions by reporting that oil spills from tankers have reached historic lows.

And as we have seen, environmental groups are even willing to overlook their objections to oil drilling in even the most ecologically sensitive areas for the right price.

The Dirty Little Secret: Dems love high has prices

With all of the above in mind, why do Dems use every tactic to continue blocking new American sources of oil? The answer goes beyond mere money and the zealotry of the environmental movement. The answer is that controlling energy means controlling the economy and every facet of life in this country.

Readers will recall that Obama famously let it slip that high gas prices weren't such a bad thing. He just wished the price rise wouldn't have been so rapid.

Well, one writer in San Francisco (where else?) writing a column called "Shades of Green" (that should be a hint) wrote this:

$8-a-gallon gas
Commentary: Eight reasons higher prices will do us a world of good
By Chris Pummer
Market Watch
May 28, 2008

For one of the nastiest substances on earth, crude oil has an amazing grip on the globe. We all know the stuff's poison, yet we're as dependent on it as our air and water supplies -- which, of course, is what oil is poisoning.
Americans should be celebrating rather than shuddering over the arrival of $4-a-gallon gasoline. We lived on cheap gas too long, failed to innovate and now face the consequences of competing for a finite resource amid fast-expanding global demand.
A further price rise as in Europe to $8 a gallon -- or $200 and more to fill a large SUV's tank -- would be a catalyst for economic, political and social change of profound national and global impact. We could face an economic squeeze, but it would be the pain before the gain.
The author goes on to promise that once oil hits $8 a gallon a host of welcome change will befall us all. It's a pure socialist and Utopian fantasy and a dangerous one at that.

We have the oil resources in the United States to make us wholly independent from foreign sources. We could exploit those resources and take much of the money that would have been going overseas and use it to develop and implement the eventual oil free future that one day will come. And we can do it without a massive social and economic disruption or harm to the environment.

A blog by the name of "The Other McCain" had a good idea. Adapt Newt Gingrich's slogan "Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less." to ""Drill Here, Drill Now, Annoy Barbra Streisand."

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