Thursday, May 29, 2008

Who's The Villain?

Oil Prices are through the Roof. Current prices in the Chicago Area are $4.199, and it's easy to blame Big Oil. But are they really the guys in the black hats? The answer has repeatedly been shown to be a resounding NO!

If you wish to blame someone, blame yourself. It is Congress who made this mess and we elected them. The good news is we can change our vote. Previous posts have made the case that Congress is to blame for the high gas prices. More evidence comes from "The Wall Street Journal" on-line edition in the form of this opinion article: Blame Congress for High Oil Prices.
...[I]f there is a villain in all of this, it is Congress itself. That venerable body has made it impossible for U.S. producers of crude oil to tap significant domestic reserves of oil and gas, and it has foreclosed economically viable alternative sources of energy in favor of unfeasible alternatives such as wind and solar. In addition, Congress has slapped substantial taxes on gasoline. Indeed, as oil industry executives reiterated in their appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 21, 15% of the cost of gasoline at the pump goes for taxes, while only 4% represents oil company profits. [Emphasis mine]
It is interesting that the Federal Government receives almost 4 times as much of the "Windfall Profits". This article clearly shows the effect of supply and demand. The author says that supply and demand account for 97% of the variation in the pretax price of gasoline.

In other words, "He who has the Gold, makes the Rules". In this case the "Gold" is the available Oil in the Ground. Because Congress forbids most Domestic Production, 80% of the Oil available to the Big Oil Companies comes from Foreign National Companies.
...[S]upply has been curtailed by the cartel-like behavior of foreign national oil companies, which control nearly 80% of world petroleum reserves. Faced with little competition in the production of crude oil, the members of this cartel benefit from keeping the commodity in the ground, confident that increasing demand will make it more valuable in the future. Despite its pious denunciations of the behavior of U.S. investor-owned oil companies (IOCs), Congress by its actions over the years has ensured the economic viability of the national oil company cartel. [Emphasis mine]
Congress is looking for a scape-goat. They are unwilling to accept, or even admit, that they are the problem. Congress continues to outlaw Domestic Oil and Gas Production while world wide demand (principally fueled by China's rapid growth) for Oil products is rapidly growing.

The impact of the Congressional Ban is enormous.
[Congress is] preventing the exploitation by IOCs of reserves available in nonpark federal lands in the West, Alaska and under the waters off our coasts. These areas hold an estimated 635 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas – enough to meet the needs of the 60 million American homes fueled by natural gas for over a century. They also hold an estimated 112 billion barrels of recoverable oil – enough to produce gasoline for 60 million cars and fuel oil for 25 million homes for 60 years.
And there's more.
This doesn't even include substantial oil shale resources economically recoverable at oil prices substantially lower than those prevailing today. In an exchange between Sen. Orin Hatch (R., Utah) and John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Company during the May 21 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the point was made that anywhere from 800 million to two trillion barrels of oil are available from oil shale in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
There is a rather simple solution. Congress should immediately allow production and exploration to begin of Domestic Supplies. As in the 1970's, the announcement alone would cause the Foreign Oil Cartel's to increase production, before Our Domestic Production could fill the Pipeline. We further need to expand our Oil Refineries. Currently they are operating at near capacity (about 97% I believe).

It is time for us to make our pain at the pump felt in Congress, because they have the solution. Tell them to stop looking for someone to blame and accept responsibility and then ACT accordingly.

No comments: