Obama misleads on oil leases: WSJ

posted at 10:45 am on June 30, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The Wall Street Journal lambastes Barack Obama for disseminating falsehoods on oil exploration, either through malice or ignorance.  The Journal can’t identify the root cause, but in the end it matters little.  His misleading allegations regarding oil leases, joined by most of the Democrats in Congress, will lead to foolish and self-defeating policies, as anyone who has studied the process of oil production knows:

To deflect the GOP effort to relax the offshore-drilling ban – and thus boost supply while demand will remain strong – Democrats also say that most of the current leases are “nonproducing.” The idea comes from a “special report” prepared by the Democratic staff of the House Resources Committee, chaired by Mr. Rahall. “If we extrapolate from today’s production rates on federal lands and waters,” the authors write, the oil companies could “nearly double total U.S. oil production” (their emphasis).

In other words, these whiz kids assume that every acre of every lease holds the same amount of oil and gas. Yet the existence of a lease does not guarantee that the geology holds recoverable resources. Brian Kennedy of the Institute for Energy Research quips that, using the same extrapolation, the 9.4 billion acres of the currently nonproducing moon should yield 654 million barrels of oil per day.

Nonetheless, the House still went through with a gesture called the “use it or lose it” bill, which passed on Thursday 223-195. It would be pointless even if it had a chance of becoming law. Oil companies acquire leases in the expectation that some of them contain sufficient oil and gas to cover the total costs. Yet it takes years to move through federal permitting, exploration and development. The U.S. Minerals Management Service notes that only one of three wells results in a discovery of oil that can be recovered economically. In deeper water, it’s one of five. All this involves huge risks, capital investment – and time.

If anything, the Democrats ought to be dancing in the streets about “idle” leases. It means fewer rigs. The days of hit-or-miss wildcatting have been relegated to the past by new, more efficient technologies, such as seismic imaging, directional drilling (wells that are “steered” underground) and multilateral drilling (multiple underground offshoots from a single wellbore).

Last week in Las Vegas, Obama offered the same criticism — that oil companies haven’t drilled on the leases they already have.  That’s poppycock, as the Journal explains.  Not all leases get drilled because not all leases have oil.  The producers spend millions of dollars on geological surveys to limit bad investments and put resources where the oil can be accessed.  Right now, the best prospects for finding new fields are in the OCS, as Brazil has shown in two finds this year alone.  In 2006, we found a huge deep-sea reservoir in the Gulf: Wilcox, which may have as much as 15 billion barrels of recoverable oil.

Can we find more Wilcoxes?  Not as long as Congress refuses to lift their moratorium on exploration of the OCS.  Demanding drilling first on all extant leases is an absurd position to take when they don’t have any indication of accessible oil from the preliminary studies.  It amounts to drilling dry holes at a cost of tens of millions of dollars each just to demonstrate the futility.  Who do you think will pay that cost?  Hint: it won’t be Barack Obama or Congress, but the people who drive up to the pumps every day.

Republicans have to hammer home this point every day between now and the election.  Democrats offer disinformation on drilling rather than work for solutions to a supply crisis in energy which has all of the indications of a long-term problem.  One can either ascribe that to ignorance or malice on an individual or group basis, but then voters have to ask themselves this: does it really matter which cause is in play?   If Democrats are merely ignorant on energy production — after all of the years we have spent in crisis, and after months of being in control of Congress — that should be more than enough to show that we need a change, and not a President who is just as ignorant as Congressional leadership.


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The Wall Street Journal lambastes Barack Obama for disseminating falsehoods on oil exploration, either through malice or ignorance.

My money is on ignorance. This guy has charisma and teleprompter skills, but I get the feeling he is clueless.

carbon_footprint on June 30, 2008 at 10:47 AM

Democrats ignorant of the costs and time oil companies incur to generate profits?

Say it ain’t so!

spec_ops_mateo on June 30, 2008 at 10:51 AM

The Wall Street Journal lambastes Barack Obama for disseminating falsehoods on oil exploration, either through malice or ignorance.

Shades of John McCain on cap and trade.

JiangxiDad on June 30, 2008 at 10:52 AM

Ignorance is Democratic bliss.

If ignorance is bliss, Democrats must be the happiest little wankers on the planet.

flipflop on June 30, 2008 at 10:52 AM

Well, a few weeks ago John McCain was out there lambasting the oil companies for not developing aternative energy sources, which in my book displays about the same level of ignorance.

BigD on June 30, 2008 at 10:56 AM

Democrats offer disinformation on drilling everything rather than work for solutions.

joeswampy on June 30, 2008 at 10:57 AM

Fauxbama’s an idiot. I can’t wait for the Presidential Debates…McCain will hand his head to him. Barry Hussein Marxist is useless without a teleprompter, and his Marxist ideals don’t cut it in America. Just give the White House to McCain and let’s get going. No time to waste on a Socialist who is completely unqualified…

adamsmith on June 30, 2008 at 10:58 AM

The dem solution is green energy-global warming crisis and they are going to run on it in 2008 using global warming as a settled debate.

swami on June 30, 2008 at 10:58 AM

Republicans have to hammer home this point every day between now and the election.

Not bloody likely.

Wade on June 30, 2008 at 10:58 AM

Public ignorance is electoral bliss for Democrats.

But until Joe and Jane Sixpack learns the truth, they’ll vote for the Democrats.

Steve Z on June 30, 2008 at 10:58 AM

Well, a few weeks ago John McCain was out there lambasting the oil companies for not developing aternative energy sources, which in my book displays about the same level of ignorance.

BigD on June 30, 2008 at 10:56 AM

True. You can’t paint the Dems as the only party of energy idiocy–at least not just yet. Hopefully, the Republicans understand that and match their newish rhetoric with some concrete actions–even actions blocked by Democrats.

Others have said it here before, but both parties better pray for a warm fall. The price of heating homes this winter may be the top issue on many people’s minds.

JiangxiDad on June 30, 2008 at 11:00 AM

WSJ will not say that Obama and McCain mislead on illegal immigration.

Be careful what you take as gospel from this paper. They have their agenda as well.

JiangxiDad on June 30, 2008 at 11:03 AM

If we stopped spending all the money on things that will help stop global warming from destroying all life as we know it, 1000 years from now, and started spending that money on oil that will help us six years from now… we’d be better off…

originalpechanga on June 30, 2008 at 11:04 AM

“Obama misleads on oil leases”

The leadership we’ve come to expect which shouldn’t be mistaken for hope and has little to do with change.

Dusty on June 30, 2008 at 11:06 AM

Ingnorance is Democratic bliss defined

There, fixed it for you

MarkTheGreat on June 30, 2008 at 11:06 AM

Any chance one of them would be willing to put forth a prize for a functional safe Gen IV reactor design?

Canadian Imperialist Running Dog on June 30, 2008 at 11:08 AM

If ignorance is bliss, Democrats must be the happiest little wankers on the planet.

flipflop on June 30, 2008 at 10:52 AM

Blissocrats???

Splendid!!

SlimyBill on June 30, 2008 at 11:10 AM

More and more, I am getting the general impression that B.O. is an idiot in desperate need of a village.

pilamaye on June 30, 2008 at 11:11 AM

The audacious Bobama Pied Piper misleads?

He destroys the village rat threat, the American oil industry. When the village voters break their pact with him, he leads their children over a cliff to their deaths.

maverick muse on June 30, 2008 at 11:17 AM

It’s a lot like the professional photographer who snaps 500 exposures to later discover 5 of them that he can sell, and those 5 will pay for his time snapping the 500.

RBMN on June 30, 2008 at 11:17 AM

“It Takes a Village” to elect an idiot?

But who will tell the voters the truth about oil, when the Democrats keep blaming the EEEEEVil oil companies and speculators?

Exxon/Mobil, the largest American oil company, only controls 3% of the world’s oil reserves, and oil is an INTERNATIONAL commodity–nobody can control the market with a 3% market share! So we’re forced to BEG the Saudis to increase production, and as any schoolboy knows, “beggars can’t be choosers”.

Unless we go after SHALE OIL in the Rockies–then we’ll control our own market, and can tell the Saudis and foreign speculators to go fly a kite!

But do the voters know this???

Steve Z on June 30, 2008 at 11:19 AM

Golly. All this time I thought it was as easy as shootin at some food.

As in, “Then one day he as shootin at some food and up from the ground come a’bubblin crude”.

BowHuntingTexas on June 30, 2008 at 11:24 AM

Offtopic: If you’re looking for another issue where Obama is trying to be everything to all people so that they only see hope and change then look at gay marriage. The guy will say anything but “I support gay marriage”. He needs to grow a pair and tell those bitter rednecks how it’s gonna be.

Barry is
1. for the repeal for the DOMA
2. against “divisive” state amendments to define marriage as between a man and a woman. he says he is for civil unions but not in California ever since the robes have spoken
3. for the kind of empathetic liberal judges able to find abortion in the constitution but not gun rights.

Will some reporter, regardless of their opinion of gay marriage, kindly call B-O on his shiat? It’s obvious what the sum of his positions amount to but he refuses to run on that. This open air Machiavellianism should be untenable.

ninjapirate on June 30, 2008 at 11:24 AM

It think that congress should only tax income in areas where the population is zero. There are lots of places like that in the Rockies and offshore, millions of acres in fact.

pappy on June 30, 2008 at 11:28 AM

The price of heating homes this winter may be the top issue on many people’s minds.

JiangxiDad on June 30, 2008 at 11:00 AM

I’m hoping for a huge dose of global warming, beginning around mid-December and lasting until late March.

All in favor ….say Aye.

fogw on June 30, 2008 at 11:31 AM

The price of heating homes this winter may be the top issue on many people’s minds.

[JiangxiDad on June 30, 2008 at 11:00 AM]

Yeah, that’ll be the October Surprise this year: An early cold spell. The October 7 weather map might be a good harbinger of the electoral college breakdown.

Dusty on June 30, 2008 at 11:37 AM

need to simplify this.

Use the example that using those 86 million acres of leases are like buying beer by the bottle at a bar.

What the oil companies whant to do in the OCS, CO oil shales and ANWR is buy beer by the keg.

Any blue collar guy knows beer by the keg is alot cheaper than beer by the bottle at a bar.

unseen on June 30, 2008 at 11:39 AM

The price of heating homes this winter may be the top issue on many people’s minds.

[JiangxiDad on June 30, 2008 at 11:00 AM]

Someone should write a book and name it “What is wrong with Vermont?” and pose the question why does Vermont vote for people that continue to back policies that cause their heating oil to double every year.

unseen on June 30, 2008 at 11:41 AM

Golly. All this time I thought it was as easy as shootin at some food.

As in, “Then one day he as shootin at some food and up from the ground come a’bubblin crude”.

BowHuntingTexas on June 30, 2008 at 11:24 AM

well while it isn’t that easy, in some places like ANWR, OCS and CO oil shales it is a hell of a lot easier than say OHIO.

unseen on June 30, 2008 at 11:43 AM

The biggest thing about drilling is that the USA will increase its assets, thus causing the dollar to strentghen, be able to pay its debts easier, cause tax rates to fall for the majority of people and would be able to cut the federal fuel tax on citizens.

unseen on June 30, 2008 at 11:45 AM

If we stopped spending all the money on things that will help stop global warming from destroying all life as we know it, 1000 years from now, and started spending that money on oil that will help us six years from now… we’d be better off…

originalpechanga on June 30, 2008 at 11:04 AM

Very smart, too bad no one in Washington will reach the same conclusion.

HawaiiLwyr on June 30, 2008 at 11:47 AM

unseen on June 30, 2008 at 11:41 AM

Which would go well with the late cold spell we are still having her in OH, manifesting in the most rain in the month of June in the state’s history. This is not doing the corn crop any good, just when things in the corn market are unstable to begin with.

As to whether the Democrats’ “non-energy” policies are based on malice toward the U.S., or just humanity in general, or simple ignorance, it really doesn’t matter. Either way, it simply one more proof of this dictum;


One of the most dangerous things in the world is a person in a position of political power who believes that their delusions constitute reality.

And of this one;


I do not believe that all those who oppose energy development are evil. But there are times that willful, deliberate evil and mere exuberant stupidity are difficult to tell apart, because they tend to generate the same sort of results.

cheers

eon

eon on June 30, 2008 at 11:51 AM

But until Joe and Jane Sixpack learns the truth, they’ll vote for the Democrats.

Steve Z on June 30, 2008 at 10:58 AM

Well, Joe and Jane Sixpack aren’t reading the WSJ. And NBC (News for Beer Consumers?) sure ain’t gonna tell ‘em.

aero on June 30, 2008 at 11:51 AM

Best time to plant a tree, -20 years ago.
Second best time, -today.

A Chinese proverb the Dems have obviously never heard of.

profitsbeard on June 30, 2008 at 11:57 AM

Republicans have to hammer home this point every day between now and the election.

It’s not a bad idea but it isn’t going to have any real effect in the voters minds. Drilling, oil leases, and energy poilicy in general are huge complex and boring (no pun intended) subjects.

The average voter simply sees $4.00/gal gasoline, higher energy bills, etc. and they are going to listen to the politician that offers relief NOW. Nevermind that is precisely why this decades-old crisis is reaching a critical point. Republicans can pound away about offshore drilling all they want but the average voter doesn’t think that way about this issue.

highhopes on June 30, 2008 at 12:00 PM

If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand. –Milton Friedman

aero on June 30, 2008 at 12:01 PM

Well, Joe and Jane Sixpack aren’t reading the WSJ. And NBC (News for Beer Consumers?) sure ain’t gonna tell ‘em.

aero on June 30, 2008 at 11:51 AM

exactly and this is why we need to simplify the debate. we need to use real everyday economics to explain this. We could use the beer example above or something like buying food at a Krogers as opposed to buying it ar Sam’s CLub.
Or buying cigs at a convience store as opposed to buying it by the carton.

These are examples that joe sixpack can understand quickly. Those 86 million acres of leases are the conveience store and the OCS,ANWR and oil shales are the sam’s club.

republicians are clueless about getting the message out. This is so easy to boil down to the avg voter. Every one understands the the concept of buying in bulk is cheaper than buying single items.

unseen on June 30, 2008 at 12:02 PM

profitsbeard on June 30, 2008 at 11:57 AM

I always liked: I journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step or How do you eat an elephant? one bite at a time

unseen on June 30, 2008 at 12:05 PM

YES FOLKS, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA DOES LIE A BIT, and the Messiah has also posted a FALSIFIED birth certificate on his anti-smear web site. The BC posted by one of his supporters on the Daily KOS is also a Photo-shopped FAKE.

So how about it Barack Hussein Obama, when are you going to prove you’re worthy to run for the presidency of the United States. Because as of date, you’re not a qualified American citizen to even be in the U.S. Senate???

byteshredder on June 30, 2008 at 12:07 PM

highhopes on June 30, 2008 at 12:00 PM

This is an issue that can be simpified easily so that the avg voter can understand.

to bring down the price of gas you need to drill where there is alot of oil quickly. Not where there is little or no oil.

unseen on June 30, 2008 at 12:07 PM

republicians are clueless about getting the message out.

unseen on June 30, 2008 at 12:02 PM

Because the Republican approach is to be logical, explain the facts as you see them, and basically ask the other person to join you in that way of seeing things. Like I’m doing to you right now. You count on the other person’s intelligence to see things the same as you if you present it in a logical fashion.

The problem is, many people simply do not respond to that kind of appeal. That’s who the Dems target. And to those people, the Dems issue emotional appeals and slogans.

JiangxiDad on June 30, 2008 at 12:08 PM

I would like to request a do-over of the 2008 primary season as both Barrack Obama and John McCain are unviable tissues masses.

Immolate on June 30, 2008 at 12:11 PM

JiangxiDad on June 30, 2008 at 12:08 PM

yes being a conservative takes mental ability. however this issue doesn’t take much brains to figure out. It CAN be boiled down to very easy to understand examples.

unseen on June 30, 2008 at 12:20 PM

Has Obama actually looked into oil drilling etc? Of course not. He does not have to.

Obama, if elected, will be for HOW he says things, not what he actually says.

“We can’t drill our way out of this”, “they should drill the leases they have first” are perfect examples of why Dems usually control Congress. They craft repeatable mantras that work with a base of uneducated high school dropouts that make up a large minority part of their party. The elites in the MSM know this and so repeat it everyday. It even shows up in sitcoms.

As long as the repubs have folks like Boehner, a good man I’m sure, looking like a country club car salesman making their case they are toast. In campaigns the facts don’t matter. The repubs need people like Palin explaining oil policy. Somebody who looks real.

patrick neid on June 30, 2008 at 12:30 PM

“malice or ignorance”

So many disagreements come down to “are you an idiot or a liar?” On this one, I say he’s a liar. But I’m not discounting idiot, either.

I have yet to find a subject on which Obama knows anything of value. Anyone else?

Jaibones on June 30, 2008 at 12:31 PM

Jaibones on June 30, 2008 at 12:31 PM

how about an idiot liar. Nothing says he’s not both.

unseen on June 30, 2008 at 12:32 PM

McCain needs to be in Michigan and Ohio hammering Hussein on the drilling for oil on and off shore. So long as we refuse to produce our own oil those auto plants will close one by one till the big 3 totally collapse. More drilling, more refineries. Once we have the technology to run on hydrogen (years from now)then we can export our oil to China and recover the trillions of our debt they hold. It’s a winning strategery. The dems/leftist love high fuel cost. They dream of us living in communal yurts and wearing grass skirts.

manfriend on June 30, 2008 at 12:48 PM

Dem talking points…

We can’t drill our way out of this…

Even if we started today, we would not see any oil for 10 or 20 years…

The oil companies already have millions of acres that they don’t drill on….

These three points have been “drilled” into the public consiousness by using the “Big Lie” technique… ie, repeating a lie over and over again.

All three are patently misleading… we CAN drill enough oil for America to be self suffient if we include shale, Oil will start to be produced within MONTHS of new leases and drilling permits being available (but of course, the Dems like here in Colorado want to SLOW drilling down, even on permits already let by a previous administration), and I don’t believe that if there was OIL on that already leased land that oil companies would NOT be producing it.

Romeo13 on June 30, 2008 at 12:49 PM

I vote for drilling right next to the Chinese and Cuban rigs off the coast of Florida…
Hey, they already found the oil!

Babs on June 30, 2008 at 12:51 PM

Another reason some of these are non-producing leases is because the companies are still fighting lawsuits.

Spolitics on June 30, 2008 at 12:53 PM

Simple message to Joe and Jane Sixpack: Why don’t the oil companies drill in the current lease areas? Same reason why people panned for gold in California, not Virginia. You’ve got to drill where the oil is.

Steve Z on June 30, 2008 at 1:26 PM

I thought it was a requirement that Democrats be ignorant of whatever topic they are discussing.

“Environmentalists” in particular seem to feel that lack of actual knowledge and/or experience in their favorite subject is a badge of honor.

landlines on June 30, 2008 at 1:57 PM

Republicans have to hammer home this point every day between now and the election.

And point out the Democratically controlled congress’ dismal approval ratings (hint the president’s is better).

This is the Democrats election to loose, especially in the Congress. Republicans should be making hay that gas prices have doubled since the Dems took over. If they come out as the party of lower gas, they’ll win. Its the economy stupid.

Iblis on June 30, 2008 at 2:15 PM

landlines on June 30, 2008 at 1:57 PM

“Environmentalists” in particular seem to feel that lack of actual knowledge and/or experience in their favorite subject is a badge of honor.

Yes, in the same way that anti-gun fanatics view their total ignorance of firearms as a mark of their moral superiority.

Both lots think belief should define reality, and resent it when reality doesn’t go along with the gag.

Stupid is as stupid does.

cheers

eon

eon on June 30, 2008 at 3:04 PM

God help us, and God save America……..

ultracon on June 30, 2008 at 3:05 PM

It’s the same old song that the Dems have been playing for the WOT: “it won’t work and we won’t help.” They have no ideas and will not work for bipartisan solutions. Ideology trumps working for solutions that benefit the country.

The Dems disgust me more each day.

Mallard T. Drake on June 30, 2008 at 3:13 PM

Who Is Ultimately Responsible For High Gas Prices — So That’s Why We Can’t Get A Compromise

Bottom line:

Democrats blame YOU!
Hence their solutions are designed to punish and rehabilitate each and every one of us!
“It’s your fault so you must pay and change!”

Republicans blame Government.
Hence their solutions are designed to get Government out of the way and let Americans do what Americans do best!
“We can solve this problem without starving the world or some other stupid government run debacle if you just get out of the way!”
David

LifeTrek on June 30, 2008 at 7:03 PM

If we stopped spending all the money on things that will help stop global warming from destroying all life as we know it, 1000 years from now, and started spending that money on oil that will help us six years from now… we’d be better off…

originalpechanga on June 30, 2008 at 11:04 AM

In 1000 years our descendents are going to damn glad that earth is heating up because in the mean time it will have gotten much colder from natural processes.

burt on June 30, 2008 at 8:51 PM

WHY AMERICA’S IN A FUEL DILEMMA…

ANWR Exploration
House Republicans: 91% Supported
House Democrats: 86% Opposed

Coal-to-Liquid
House Republicans: 97% Supported
House Democrats: 78% Opposed

Oil Shale Exploration
House Republicans: 90% Supported
House Democrats: 86% Opposed

Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Exploration
House Republicans: 81% Supported
House Democrats: 83% Opposed

Refinery Increased Capacity
House Republicans: 97% Supported
House Democrats: 96% Opposed

SUMMARY

91% of House Republicans have historically
voted to increase the production of American-
made oil and gas.

86% of House Democrats have historically
voted against increasing the production of
American-made oil and gas.

byteshredder on June 30, 2008 at 10:33 PM