So many words have been spoken the last week or so by various politicians about our energy needs and problems that is boggles the mind. We have some very fundamental differences about what is the best course of action to follow. The problem is that the differences are influenced more by political considerations than they are by economics, geology and petroleum engineering. I could be wrong, it wouldn’t be the first time, but it appears to me the “left” is more guilty of this than the center or right. They have certain preconceived notions about how they want society to function and who should control that functioning and will not abide any ideas that might run counter to those notions even if the ideas might otherwise have merit.
I observed a discussion between Biden and Graham over the weekend about this issue. Biden gave all the knee jerk reactions opposing any new drilling efforts in coastal waters and Alaska. We all are for clean air and water but some of us not to the point of threatening our national security and economic vitality. I actually think Biden has some pretty sound ideas regarding international relations on occasion but he is wrong on this. Senator Graham was challenged by the interviewer about his comments a couple of years ago opposing off shore drilling but now endorsing it. I did admire that he owned up to it and said the cost of oil and gas had gotten so high he changed his mind. I don’t have a clue where the left keeps getting their information that it will take 10 years to begin production for the new areas. It will take a while but not that long. Especially if the governmental entities involved would give a priority to the permitting processes. Those processes are what have killed the nuclear energy industry and the reason why we haven’t built any new refineries for decades. Any company trying to do so has to endure a blizzard of red tape and opposition.
Also I kept hearing that the oil companies have millions of acres under lease already that they are not utilizing. Well, that it true. But once again it shows the lack of knowledge about how the oil and gas industry operates. Oil production companies have for decades leased up land they thought might have a “play” as they say in the industry–an oil field with commercially viable production. Often the early indicators turn out to be wrong and the technology has improved greatly and much of the leased land is not really economically viable. So that is an example of a correct statistic but one that lies. It sounds good in a debate and makes a good sound bite but doesn’t make for intelligent discussion.
I wish each side would give some and reach a middle ground that would be best for us all. Let’s drill like hell and at the same time we can put effort into development of alternative fuels and conservation. The left keeps saying we are running out of oil and if they are right then drilling out this last little bit won’t do any damage of consequence in the long haul but it will ameliorate costs and dependence on foreign oil. After all that is one of their other arguments–that there isn’t enough oil there to really matter in the long run. I am old enough to remember very distinctly the left’s position during the 50’s, 60’s and even into the 70’s that we should import foreign oil because it was cheaper and was good for the poor and middle class Americans. They opposed any effort to increase our domestic production and promoted buying foreign oil. You are reminded that until the 70’s there were allowances established on domestic production. Yes, believe it or not, if you had an oil well in 1968 and it could produce 100 barrels a day you were only permitted to produce a percentage of that. In Texas it was controlled by the Railroad Commission and was set each month. Often that percentage was only 30%. Yes, it conserved oil but it also dampened drilling activity.
As always, I ask for honest and intelligent debate and I think I have a right to expect intelligent results from Government. I will confess I have been disappointed in that last hope on many an occasion.