Crude Prices Rise, Far Right Confront President on Off-Shore Drilling

In late July, the Washington, D.C.-based American Petroleum Institute released its statistical report for 2012’s first six months.

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“Overall petroleum product demand was down 2.6 percent. Gasoline demand was down about 1.0 percent,” said John Felmy, American Petroleum Institute (www.api.org) chief economist, in a July 26, 2012, teleconference press briefing. API represents more than 500 oil and natural gas companies.

Despite lower demand, gas prices haven’t weakened. “Rising crude oil prices have been by far the largest contributor to rising gasoline prices across the country,” Felmy said just two weeks later. World demand for crude is increasing, and the world’s excess oil production capacity is not keeping up, he added. “Buyers are also concerned about the instability of major Middle East oil producing nations.”

Perhaps with that instability and energy independence in mind, the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Governors Coalition—Louisiana, Texas, Alaska, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina and Virginia—wrote President Obama on Aug. 8, 2012, to express disappointment and concern with the federal government’s failure to communicate with those states, regarding access to off-shore oil-and-natural-gas fields.

“We are concerned that your administration did not properly consult with the coastal states on the Proposed Final Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Natural Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017 prior to its release by the U.S. Department of the Interior on June 28,” the governors wrote. What resulted from the federal government ignoring the states? “The administration fails to expand adequate access to resource-abundant areas in the Arctic and fails to establish leasing in the Mid- and South-Atlantic,” said Felmy.

Citing a recent poll of 1,016 registered voters across the U.S. conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute, API President and CEO Jack Gerard said “strong majorities of voters support more domestic energy development, regardless of party affiliation. And they don’t like what they’re seeing in Washington where development has been slowed or stopped despite millions of Americans still out of work.”

The survey reported that 70 percent of American voters favor increased access to U.S. oil and natural gas resources, 90 percent believe more oil and natural gas development could lead to more U.S. jobs, and 87 percent believe it could lower energy costs for consumers. Three out of four respondents (75 percent) support building the Keystone XL pipeline, and more than seven in ten (73 percent) support a change in policy to allow more offshore drilling.

More than nine in ten (92 percent) say energy security and producing at home more oil and natural gas is an important issue this election.

C. Kenna Amos, ckamosjr@earthlink.net is an Automation World Contributing Editor. 

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