Monday, April 25, 2011


President Obama is going to get to the bottom of rising oil and gasoline prices. Sure, he was insistent during the run up to the last election that under his energy policy that energy prices would "necessarily skyrocket," but that sort of incidental comment shouldn't stand in the way of some good old political posturing--especially when there is an evil corporation or greedy wall street gougers to take aim at.

From Fox News with a hat tip to Cold Fury:

Shell Oil Company has announced it must scrap efforts to drill for oil this summer in the Arctic Ocean off the northern coast of Alaska. The decision comes following a ruling by the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board to withhold critical air permits. The move has angered some in Congress and triggered a flurry of legislation aimed at stripping the EPA of its oil drilling oversight.

Shell has spent five years and nearly $4 billion dollars on plans to explore for oil in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. The leases alone cost $2.2 billion. Shell Vice President Pete Slaiby says obtaining similar air permits for a drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico would take about 45 days. He’s especially frustrated over the appeal board’s suggestion that the Arctic drill would somehow be hazardous for the people who live in the area. “We think the issues were really not major,” Slaiby said, “and clearly not impactful for the communities we work in.”

The closest village to where Shell proposed to drill is Kaktovik, Alaska. It is one of the most remote places in the United States. According to the latest census, the population is 245 and nearly all of the residents are Alaska natives. The village, which is 1 square mile, sits right along the shores of the Beaufort Sea, 70 miles away from the proposed off-shore drill site.
Here, Shell Oil has speculated in excess of $4 billion on a site that the government continues to deny access to despite pocketing a cool $2.2 billion selling the lease. (Incidentally, these represent some of the same leases that dolt progressives point to when they scoff at Drill Here, Drill Now enthusiasts. Why open up any new areas to drilling when there are currently so many leases already leased but undeveloped?

While Obama and Company decry the evil deeds of gougers and speculators they quietly help to issue in a situation where intentionally crippled American consumers cannot afford to buy as much fuel. However obvious, this doesn't make a very good policy plank on which to get reelected.

So, they need a scapegoat.

Blame it on evil speculators if you like, or blame it on hugely profitable and greedy oil giants, but the historical profit margin of big oil will remain roughly the same through the entire ordeal. Oil speculators (like airlines that must lock into fuel contracts in order to guarantee supply) and the evil gouging owners of Big Oil (such as countless public retirement funds with Shell in their portfolios) will forever do what they can to keep their businesses and shareholders afloat.

This is exactly what corporations and pooled capital funds are designed to do, but this doesn't jibe with what has become the model for a good citizen of the Earth.

The sooner that we all become good little citizens and reduce our carbon footprints the sooner we will all become content with necessary gasoline prices.

Suck it up, ya whiner.

No comments: