The price of a barrel of crude oil is over $90. The price of a gallon of gas is predicted to be over $4.00 this year.
Normally, when the price of oil rises, folks in the oil and natural gas drilling industry are smiling. That's good news. Drilling speculation increases and it's full speed ahead with hiring. Service companies expand and those employers hire workers.
These are not normal times. Not only will increasing prices harm the economic recovery of the country and stifle consumer spending, our dependence on foreign oil producers increases. There is no winning in this situation.
This is not a game. The Obama administration and especially Interior Secretary Salazar are determined to shut down offshore oil and natural gas drilling. An exaggerated response to the tragedy of the Gulf oil spill in 2010 - both the loss of human life and environmental damage - does not honor those lost or support those left behind. Holding hearings and allowing those with no experience in the industry to make and enforce new layers of red tape and governmental regulations does not produce good energy policy.
Issuance of drilling permits remains non-existent.
More than two months after the Obama administration lifted its ban on drilling in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico, oil companies are still waiting for approval to drill the first new oil well there. Experts now expect the wait to continue until the second half of 2011, and perhaps into 2012.
And this: The slowdown also has long-term implications for U.S. oil production. The Energy Information Administration, the research arm of the Department of Energy, last month predicted that domestic offshore oil production will fall 13% this year from 2010 due to the moratorium and the slow return to drilling; a year ago, the agency predicted offshore production would rise 6% in 2011. The difference: a loss of about 220,000 barrels of oil a day.
With growing instability in Venezuela and in Russia, why would this administration allow shortages in oil drilling to continue? All methods of obtaining energy are needed, not just alternative energy ideas at the expense of oil and natural gas exploration. Obama approved millions to be sent to Brazil for their oil drilling efforts. Our oil and gas industry is the most regulated and taxed of any U.S. industry.
The lengthy delays in reviewing new permits have caught the industry off guard. When the Obama administration lifted its ban on deep-water drilling on Oct. 12, many experts had expected a few permits to be issued before the end of 2010, followed by a gradual ramp-up of activity this year.
Blind ideology - illogical prejudice - against any national industry with international repercussions is no way to make energy policy. Drilling for oil and natural gas has successfully and safely been done for decades in our country.
It is time to drill here and drill now.