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Bush Did It

March 13, 2012

Fox Business this morning clued me into some wonderful data over at Whitehouse.gov that I thought was worth comment.  It’s a wonderful window into the worldview of the Obama administration and how it is guiding the narrative.  The chart itself is not separable in any fast way, so I’d encourage you to go check it out, but I wanted to remark on a few items:

Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than anytime in the last eight years… we have a near-record number of oil rigs operating right now…

Well if we can’t blame the Bush administration for everything these days…   Typically there’s about a three to four year lag in permitting for drilling to actual production given the government hoops.  So if there’s a record amount of oil coming out of the ground in the US, then we should just blame our last  administration for that one… oh, wait, that’s probably good.  Wonderful charts show our oil production increasing as we also decrease our dependence on foreign production.  And all this is great.  What I’d like to see is the projected trend now that oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is in steep decline and the private lands are slowing their ramp.

We’ve opened up millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration where appropriate…

Um, sure, it’s open mostly because you know there’s little chance of actually finding oil.  And now as an administration you can insist that oil companies look there first before you open up the lands they’re really requesting.  I think this one is called, “bait and switch.”

The administration is touting the huge growth of natural gas production, and that one I won’t fault them for highlighting.  Check the article I pointed to yesterday for how well that’s going.  And it’s going that well mostly because the feds aren’t sticking their noses into it yet.  A few more EPA regulations, and we might have a different story.

While profits soar, oil companies are receiving about $7,610 a minute in tax breaks.  That’s $4 billion a year.

Okay, I’m ambivalent on this one.  Taking those tax breaks away would probably just force the oil companies to raise the $4B by increasing gas prices.  I haven’t seen the latest, but an average oil company makes about $0.10 per gallon of gas sold, and that’s been pretty consistent over time.  If they’re making more profits directly off of gas, it’s because they’re making and selling more.  Isn’t that good?  Otherwise, most of the profits aren’t actually coming off of gas.  So this is mostly just a smoke screen for wanting to get the money back.  Hey, if you want that money back, then can we stop funding solar companies that lay off their employees as they lose their shorts to China?

There’s a note that oil prices don’t set gas prices.  I’d agree, and note that more refineries in the US would really help gas prices, but that would probably be another post.  They note that global instability is more an indicator of gas prices.  But that’s solved if we actually drill more here, since the instability causes less pain as a result.  Just sayin’.

There’s lots more there to argue, but you get the point.  The message is that we can’t just drill our way to freedom.  Sure, I’m with you Mr. President.  But can we perhaps use it as part of our “all-of-the-above” approach that you keep touting?  Thanks.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ellend permalink
    March 14, 2012 8:43 am

    According to the Institute for Energy Research, “the increase in oil production in the US has been in spite of federal policies, not because of them”. Their charts show that the increase in production has been on private and state land. Oil production on federal land has decreased by 44% since 2003.

    http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/2011/11/15/falling-production-on-federal-lands/

    • March 14, 2012 9:57 am

      Yep, and a lot of that increase will be done in the next couple years. It’s tapering off now. So what’s the message next year? Oh, wait, that won’t matter since the election will be over.

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