Thursday, August 14, 2008

Will “Drill now, Drill here” affect the August 20 prices ?

Could Minority Leader John Boehner (OH-08) be correct the Republicans daily “Drill now, Drill here” protests are "already helping to lower oil prices" ?

Well, maybe no.
The Wall Street Journal reported: “Hard evidence is emerging that the changing behavior of consumers and businesses may be making a dent in the oil market. The Energy Department reported last week that demand for gasoline for the four weeks ended Aug. 1 was 2.3% lower than in the same period last year. [Americans drove 9.66 billion fewer miles in May than they did a year earlier, according to the Transportation Department.] Declining demand is the prime force behind the oil market's recent slide.”

But, maybe yes … and that’s a bad thing.
On August 20, Minerals Management Service of the Department of the Interior will hold its second lease sale this year for Gulf Coast. Sale 207 encompasses about 3,400 unleased blocks covering approximately 18 million acres in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area offshore Texas.
The Republican “Drill Now” antics may actually lower the price at the lease sale … as the companies begin to realize that more off-shore drilling possibilities may be in the future. It’s supply and demand. Will their bids factor in that they already have enough work as their rigs are tied up (read yesterday’s commentary), and they foresee greater opportunities in a few years ?
If the price is higher at the August lease sale then the March sale that doesn’t mean that the prices wouldn’t have been higher without the Republicans ranting.
The revenues generated from these sales go to the Gulf States (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas) as well as the federal treasury …. funds that are needed with the exploding national debt.

But even at lower prices, this should mean jobs, right ?
But for whom ?
So, who is drilling in the Gulf of Mexico ?
According to Minerals Management Service report lists a number of companies include:
-- Australia's BHP Billiton
-- Brazil's government-run oil company Petrobras
-- Canada Nexen Inc.
-- Cobalt International Energy LP (which is owned by the Carlyle Group which is known for their relationships with George H. W. Bush and the bin Laden families)
-- ENI Petroleum Co. Inc. operates as a subsidiary of Eni Norge AS (Norway)
-- Shell Offshore Inc., (part of Royal Dutch Shell)
And you probably thought it was good-old US based Exxon-Mobil !
The argument offered is that America must become energy independent and not reliant on foreign countries … but that doesn’t mean that foreign business won’t be involved.
But are these employees, taxpaying Americans ?
Recalling how Kellogg, Brown & Root, a company that has experience in the oil patch, classified its employees so as not to pay taxes, the question should be asked. Although legislation has been initiated such that domestically controlled foreign persons performing services under contract with the United States Government are treated as American employers for purposes of certain employment taxes and benefits, but since these are foreign-controlled domestic corporations that may not apply.

If we’re going to do more drilling, American business needs to invest in more rigs and train more American workers … that’s the way to have America become more energy independent.

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