Sunday, February 22, 2009

Europe Wants To Drill There, Drill Soon

Europe wants to drill, but the U.S. Congress - Democrats, primarily - are reluctant to approve new petroleum and gas drilling projects within our own borders. An interesting report from AP today (2/22/09) tells us that the Europeans are eager to develop their ability to produce their own energy from "fossil fuels." While there have been Europeans pushing for such and effort before now, the recent Russian natural gas cut-off has spurred Europe to move faster toward the goal of energy independence. There is a great irony to this story. AP quotes Don Hertzmark, "an international energy expert," as saying that "The Europeans never bothered to develop this stuff." Here's the irony: The Europeans will do it with American technology because they have not developed their own, and while the U.S. has the ability, our federal government has essentially crushed efforts to increase our own domestic production for decades because of pressure from environmentalists. Hertzmark, reports AP, says that using American technology would save European companies years of developing their own methods. (Why re-invent the wheel?) "If the same technology works in Europe," writes AP's Mark Williams, "it could free up an enormous amount of energy, and potentially provide a buffer against cross-border disputes to the east." It's a shame that the US Congress, as a whole, doesn't seem to understand that. If the same American technology that Europe now hopes to use were actually put to full use by American companies domestically, it could provide a buffer against higher energy prices and the potential for blackmail and extortion by other nations. Enviromental activists are continuing their push for a moratorium on U.S. offshore drilling. H. Josef Herbert wrote about at on February 11 (emphasis added): At a House hearing, Philippe Cousteau, grandson of legendary ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, urged Congress to reinstate the offshore drilling bans that until last fall had been in effect for 25 years in Atlantic and Pacific coastal waters. "It's absolutely critical for the health of the oceans," said Cousteau, a board member of the advocacy group Ocean Conservancy. "Oil spills still occur." The argument that "oil spills still occur" is an absurd red herring. Yes, the possibility of a spill from a domestic offshore project is a possibility, but an oil spill is an oil spill is an oil spill. Whether that spilled oil comes from one of our own ships or drilling platforms, or from a foreign oil tanker en route to a US port, makes no difference to the birds and fish. Cousteau and his comrades represent the "not in my back yard" mentality taken to a global scale. Our oil consumption is supplied, in part, by drilling in other parts of the world. That foreign oil is transported in ships across vast oceans. The probability of a spill, from foreign drill to U.S. port, is greater than it would be from domestic drill to domestic port. Less distance plus less time equals less opportunity for accidents. Oil spills are not exactly common occurances. In fact, they are rare, as noted by the Minerals Management Service (MMS), a bureau in the U.S. Department of the Interior. MMS "tracks spill incidents 1 barrel or greater in size of petroleum and other toxic substances resulting from Federal OCS oil and gas activities." You can see their spill statistics at The environmentalist radicals are almost always also opposed to "American imperialism." It is odd that they cannot connect the dots between imporation of oil and that "empire." If the United States reduced its dependence on foreign energy sources, it would simultaneously reduce our footprint on the economies of other nations. Therefore, less "imperialism." Logically, they should be cheerleading an effort to increase domestic energy production. However, logic and a basic understanding of capitalism do not fit well into their anti-business agenda. According to Williams' AP report, "European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso says the dispute between Russia and Ukraine demonstrated the need for Europe to stop keeping all of its eggs in one basket when it comes to energy sources and supply routes." Williams quotes Barroso as saying, "It was utterly unacceptable that European gas consumers were held hostage to this dispute between Russia and Ukraine," Barroso said. Indeed. It is also unacceptable that the U.S. is often held hostage to pricing whims of other oil producing nations such as Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members. It would be a great irony if Europe uses American technology to become energy independent before we achieve that worthy goal. It would be nice to be able to tell OPEC and Russia to stuff it, we've got our own. RELATED: Another Wake-Up Call? Europe Remains Divided Over Energy Security... Russian gas crisis should inform US policy Our Self-Created Energy Problem FACTBOX-Major energy pipelines in central/southern Europe NEWS WATCH: Europe Concerned Over Dependency On Russian Gas Russia deepens gas hegemony EIA - Petroleum Basic Data (U.S. Dept. of Energy) Iranian Oil Bourse Soon to Be a Reality Political Lore .com Iran Starts Oil, Petrochemicals Exchange in Tehran Iran Opens Oil Bourse to Sidestep U.S. Sanctions José Manuel Barroso President of the European Commission - Opening speech External energy conference External energy policy conference Brussels, 20 November 2006 CNB RSS Feed