Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Reason #137: Drill Baby Drill


Just saying that makes me queasy.

But look: at this point, it's a foregone conclusion that the US is the top oil-consuming nation on Earth. Hopefully one day we'll get into something better, but right now it makes sense to use what we've got, especially if the only other option is to be increasingly in hock to Saudia Arabia and other oil producers who can then take it out on us politically.

So that's why Obama needs to stop restraining the oil industry and open up more offshore drilling, and let them build the Keystone pipeline, right?

Well, apparently not. Apparently, after falling more or less consistently since the 60's, US crude oil production has been going up again for the last three years, and the total number of rigs in already-active oil fields has quadrulped in the same amount of time. All this has little to nothing to do with lessened regulations, increased regulations, UN climate change initiatives, or the price of gas (which experts say will keep going up anyway), and everything to do with improved technology - we're learning from the natural-gas and fracking industries, for better or worse, and applying that knowledge to more efficient oil wells.

Obama obviously didn't create this upsurge personally (and the graph above is a smidge unfair in that it leaves out just how far production had dropped from its earlier heights), but the recent turnaround is still a pretty definitive counterpoint to the notion that the current administration is in any way stifling the oil industry.

(Side Note: for the next two weeks, I am conducting a survey of visitors to this blog. Whether you're a regular reader or this is your first time, I'd love to hear from you - just follow this link. This notice will accompany every post this month, with Saturday, March 3rd being the final day to participate. Thanks for reading!)

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