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Friday, August 01, 2008

"Offshore Drilling Claims Are a Political Hoax"

Given that

Mr. McCain’s claim that opponents of offshore drilling are responsible for high gas prices is ridiculous... Yet Mr. McCain’s gambit seems nonetheless to be working: public support for ending restrictions on drilling has risen sharply, with roughly half of voters saying that increased offshore drilling would reduce gas prices within a year.

it's important to try to get better information to people so they won't be fooled by the onslaught of deceptive presentations of the facts from those trying to gain political advantage on this issue.

John Berry does a good job of explaining why offshore drilling won't make much difference for gas prices:

Offshore Drilling Claims Are a Political Hoax, by John M. Berry, Bloomberg: It's absurd to argue that ending the moratorium on drilling off parts of the U.S. coasts would quickly bring down the high price of gasoline.

This chimera is being touted by President George W. Bush and other Republican politicians, including the party's presumptive presidential nominee, Senator John McCain...

To get around the fact that it would be a decade or more before any oil would be likely to flow, a few partisan analysts have said that the cost of gasoline would fall right away. They argue that the prospect of additional oil supply in the future would lead oil companies to produce more oil immediately...

Well, wouldn't that depend on whether a producer had the capacity to pump more oil today, and whether it thought lifting the moratorium would add a significant amount of oil to future supply relative to future demand?

There are good reasons to question whether another 1 million or 2 million barrels of crude a day would make much difference in prices when world consumption is running at 85 million barrels a day. ...

Nevertheless, the assertions continue: lift the moratorium and gasoline prices will fall. And since McCain's Democratic opponent, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, is opposed to ending the moratorium, he therefore is responsible for high gasoline prices.

Drilling proponents point to an estimate from the Minerals Management Service that there are probably about 76 billion barrels of oil waiting to be discovered offshore.

The problem is that little of that oil -- perhaps about 18 billion barrels -- lies in areas subject to the moratorium. A third of the total is off the coast of Alaska, where drilling is extraordinarily difficult and expensive, and most of the rest is in the Gulf of Mexico where drilling is permitted.

Some 3.5 billion barrels in the Minerals Management Service estimate are off the Atlantic coast in the Baltimore Canyon...

Beginning in the late 1970s, huge tracts were opened for exploration and oil companies jumped at the chance to drill. About 35 wells were sunk off Cape Cod, New York and New Jersey... The result? Nothing. Neither oil nor gas was found. ...

Republicans are hoping that the public, believing their foolish claims that drilling will lower gasoline prices, will put ... pressure on Democratic opponents... Bush, McCain and their allies ... prefer to mislead the American people and escape blame for effects of their past lack of action on the nation's energy problems.

    Posted by on Friday, August 1, 2008 at 12:24 PM Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (69)


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