Obama Blames Lazy Oil Companies for America’s Energy Shortfall

With $5/gallon gas closer to reality than 7% unemployment, Americans want oil companies to get out there and ‘drill, baby drill.’  Some surveys show a majority of us support drilling in Alaska’s oil rich Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. If the American people seem to be demanding more drilling, why are we still sending billions and billions of dollars to unfriendly governments in the Middle East, while we sit on these rich oil reserves? The answer is simple, oil companies are just too damn lazy to get out there and drill for it – President Obama basically said so on Friday. Sean Higgins of Investor’s Business Daily picked up on the Presidential blame-storming at Friday’s press conference, his ears pricked up when Obama said the following about our energy needs and the oil drillers:

There is more we can do, however. For example, right now, the (oil) industry holds leases on tens of millions of acres — both offshore and on land — where they aren’t producing a thing. So I’ve directed the Interior Department to determine just how many of these leases are going undeveloped and report back to me within two weeks so that we can encourage companies to develop the leases they hold and produce American energy. People deserve to know that the energy they depend on is being developed in a timely manner.

The guys who drill for oil also took exception to the President’s words, as reported by the Oil & Gas Journal’s Nick Snow;

Oil and gas industry groups immediately challenged his statement. “The Obama administration continues to delay or defer action on developing our domestic resources of oil and natural gas at every turn,” American Petroleum Institute Pres. Jack N. Gerard said. “The trend is alarming. The administration has postponed lease sales in offshore areas. It has cancelled lease sales in onshore federal lands. It has extended permitting timelines for current leases and added unnecessary regulatory burdens. It has chosen inaction on essential energy projects that would create jobs, drive economic growth, and boost federal revenues.”

Speaking of doing things in a ‘timely manner’ – it was late February when the government issued the first deep water drilling permit since the BP-Deepwater Horizon blowout happened in April of last year.  Before you start applauding and hope that this bodes well for domestic oil production,  check out the item that appeared on Politico just a week earlier:

The Obama administration has fired another shot in the fight over the speed with which the Interior Department is — or isn’t — letting oil drillers resume work in the Gulf of Mexico after last year’s Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. The administration late Friday appealed a judge’s orders directing the department to act on several pending Gulf Coast deep-water drilling permits.

Politico also brought to light the comments made by former President Bill Clinton on Friday at a closed-door meeting during CERA’s 30th anniversary seminar in Houston.  Clinton joined George W. Bush on a high powered panel about energy and both supported more exploration for domestic oil.  The highlight of the session from Darren Goode‘s item:

“Bush said all the things you’d expect him to say” on oil and gas issues, said Jim Noe, senior vice president at Hercules Offshore and executive director of the pro-drilling Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition. But Clinton added, “You’d be surprised to know that I agree with all that,” according to Noe and others in the room. Clinton said there are “ridiculous delays in permitting when our economy doesn’t need it,” according to Noe and others.

Bill Clinton and George W. Bush agree on the most obvious answer to America’s energy needs as our current President insists that supply is not the problem while his administration works to slow down efforts to access the oil we know is available. And every week the prices at the pump rise on speculation that the supply lines from the Middle East may be cut.