There are 68 million acres of land offshore and onshore in the United States that have already been leased by oil companies to drill on but have not yet been used. If oil companies tapped the 68 million federal acres of leased land it would generate an estimated 4.8 million barrels of oil a day - six times what ANWR would produce at its peak. (TPJ: Thus no need to drill off the coast of Florida).
Current inactive leases could produce an additional 4.8 million barrels of oil and 44.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day.
That would nearly double total U.S. oil production, and increase natural gas production by 75%. It would also cut U.S. oil imports by more than a third,
On that point, a group of Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation that would compel oil companies to drill in lands they are now leasing from the federal government.
"Oil corporations are trying to take control of as much land now during the oil-friendly Bush administration years, but are holding off on drilling until thesoars to $200 or $300 a barrel so they can make even greater profits," said , a New York Democrat and a sponsor of the drilling bill.The bill would force oil companies to pay fees for leased lands that go unused. The fees would increase over time.
McCain recently said that opening up federal waters to drillers would have a “psychological impact that I think would be beneficial.” (TPJ: How's that work? Is it going to hypnotize me into thinking that I'm not paying as much as I am at the gas pump? The only psychological effect that this is having upon me is that it is making me psychotically furious at the McCain campaign for trying to pull one over on the American people. It's the classic Republican play book, use peoples' fears to hoodwink them into voting for you.)
Though McCain was clearly talking about the calming effect such a policy decision might have on oil futures markets, Obama cast the comment as an attempt to pander to voters. “In Washington-speak, that means it polls well,’’ Obama said, adding that the drilling would have little practical effect and amounted to “the same old gimmicks.’’TPJ: This McCain flip-flop on oil drilling off Florida is clearly a gimmick and a smoke screen to allow Big Oil to add to their already massive acres that they aren't using. The McCain claim that drilling off Florida's coast would help gas prices in the short term has been debunked as it would take up to 20 years to see any oil pumped from those offshore acres. That is vital time that should be used to develop alternative energies.
So clearly this is a give-away to the oil companies using American desperation for relief in gas prices and fear of financial depression to line the pockets of the greedy oil corporations even further while trying to scare up votes in the process.
The unused 68 million acres owned by Big Oil reminds me of the diamond market. There are a few diamond companies and they hoard diamonds in vaults to be able to control the price to always ensure high profits. This is exactly what these oil corporations are doing by not drilling in those 68 million acres.
In other news: A new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll seems to back up the Newsweek poll. This new survey has Obama up 12 points over McCain (49%-37%). More: "On a four-man ballot that included independent candidate Ralph Nader and Libertarian Bob Barr, voters chose Obama over McCain by 48% to 33%.”
TPJ: At worse, Obama is still ahead by 6 points in a Gallup poll and in another poll that I can't remember.
PHOTO CREDIT: Damaged oil platform washed up on a beach off Alabama's coast after Hurricane Katrina.