Open thread: Obama presser on oil prices

posted at 10:50 am on March 11, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

What will Barack Obama say to a nervous nation to soothe its frayed nerves on the sudden oil-price spike and the seemingly long-term unrest in oil-producing nations that threatens to keep prices on the rise?   Whatever he has to say, it had better be convincing, because as Gallup shows, Obama may start paying a heavy price himself in the polls:

Seventy-two percent of Americans cite some aspect of the U.S. economy as the “most important problem” facing the country today. This is the highest net mention of the economy since February 2010, although still below the 86% peak recorded in February 2009 as Washington was focused on passing an economic stimulus plan.

The latest update is from a March 3-6 Gallup poll. The top five economic problems named this month are the economy in general (28%), unemployment (26%), the federal deficit or debt (13%), gas prices (6%), and lack of money (4%). The top non-economic problems are dissatisfaction with the nation’s government or leaders (11%), healthcare (9%), wars (5%), education (4%), and ethical/moral decline (3%).

Despite the political turmoil in the Middle East, including uprisings in Egypt and Libya, no more than 1% of Americans mention any of these issues as the country’s most important problem.

They’re definitely part of the problem, though.  Without those uprisings in North Africa and southwest Asia, oil prices would have continued their slow rise rather than shoot upward sharply.  That has impacted prices throughout the retail markets, and threatens to choke off any recovery that the White House wants to argue has begun.

Obama and the Democrats lost the last election on the economy and fiscal policy.  If prices continue to rise through Obama’s permitorium in the Gulf and opposition to increased domestic production at home, the midterms will look like a walk in the park compared to 2012.  Obama will need to take off the leashes on production now to significantly impact prices and markets in time to rescue himself, so if all he offers is more pablum about alternative energy sources being around the same corner promised for the last three decades, Obama may be throwing away what remains of his credibility on energy and economic policy.


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From 03/08:

Obama’s so wrong on energy/scary wrong on oil;AK alone w/billions bbls & trillions cu ft of nat gas.(Other states, too) http://bit.ly/hX5AzT 4:20 PM Mar 8th via Twitter for BlackBerry®

From early this morning:

Mr.Pres: pls don’t tell us tomorrow we’ll rely on OPEC to make up oil shortfalls;we’re blessed w/rich US sources.Long term solution? Tap ‘em about 13 hours ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

INC on March 11, 2011 at 2:01 PM

I did watch it. But it sounds like the same old baloney. No expansion on drilling, no new nuclear power plants and no new refineries. We will pray away our addiction to foreign oil. He is sure that it is just over the rainbow where the unicorns live. It is really a shame that we can’t recall a president. We have to endure whatever we elect for four years.

If he had announced that we were going to have a crash program to drill for oil, build new nuclear reactors and build new refineries the price of crude oil would have taken a nose dive on the markets today……………and, the stock market would have soared.

SC.Charlie on March 11, 2011 at 2:02 PM

did ya miss the S/ tag or am I misreading your post?

dhunter on March 11, 2011 at 2:00 PM

nope, missed the s tag. blah sorry.

upinak on March 11, 2011 at 2:09 PM

upinak on March 11, 2011 at 2:09 PM

We’re good!<:)

dhunter on March 11, 2011 at 2:11 PM

I have a new name for skippy:

-Failbama-

dogsoldier on March 11, 2011 at 2:12 PM

We’re good!<:)

dhunter on March 11, 2011 at 2:11 PM

thanks, been a rough day.

upinak on March 11, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Obama may be throwing away what remains of his credibility on energy and economic policy.

I’m sorry, but I don’t believe he ever had any credibility on those issues, much less anything else.

Badger40 on March 11, 2011 at 2:16 PM

upinak on March 11, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Hope you are doing OK.
Been thinkin’ ’bout ya. ;)

Badger40 on March 11, 2011 at 2:17 PM

If there was any chance, President Obama has lost it. I’d far, far rather the man step up to the plate and provide the domestic leadership needed at this moment by the Republic. Instead we heard again how our future energy needs will be met by capturing fairy farts in recycled bottles.

Scribbler on March 11, 2011 at 2:23 PM

He says it’s not about supply–”Refineries are operating a capacity right now.” Which begs the question . . . what are you going to do about building new refineries?

labwriter on March 11, 2011 at 1:06 PM

There hasn’t been a new refinery built in the United States since 1983. Yet we are forced to import refined products, not just crude oil, because we don’t have enough refining capacity.

The dirty little secret about refineries is that they can’t be run at 100% of rated capacity (usually measured in barrels of crude per day) for more than a year or so. Pumps and compressors or their motors wear out, heat exchangers and distillation columns get fouled, pipes and vessels get corroded, so that most refineries have a SCHEDULED SHUTDOWN for maintenance for 3 to 4 weeks a year, meaning that a refinery’s annual capacity is only about 92% to 94% of its daily capacity times 365 days per year.

Can a refinery skip maintenance shutdowns to increase production? It’s possible, but not recommended…if maintenance is not performed regularly, small problems become big problems, which eventually results in a fire or explosion, and the cost of damage and/or liability lawsuits far exceeds the lost production, so refineries usually DON’T skip maintenance, except at their own peril.

Does Obozo know the difference between rated DAILY capacity for a refinery and average YEARLY capacity taking into account maintenance shutdowns? Say what? OMG, a shutdown? Uhhhh…

Steve Z on March 11, 2011 at 2:31 PM

Obama may be throwing away what remains of his credibility on energy and economic policy.

He had credibility?

Roy Rogers on March 11, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Instead we heard again how our future energy needs will be met by capturing fairy farts in recycled bottles.
Scribbler on March 11, 2011 at 2:23 PM

IDK. Have you seen how fairies get around? That is amazing.

Steve Z on March 11, 2011 at 2:31 PM

High prices are certainly not bcs there isn’t enough oil to go around.
Pipelines are also backing up.

Badger40 on March 11, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Steve Z on March 11, 2011 at 2:31 PM

Hyperion is trying to get a refinery built within 30 miles of where i live, it is a very slow process.
I think they have been trying for three years and every step of the way they are challenged and forced to do extra work.
if the state issues a permit it is automaticlly appealed by the ecoterrorists and Dem electeds and appointeds .

the environuts are firmly embedded in most all state govt and are all to happy to force their religon upon the taxpayers who suffer from their folly!

dhunter on March 11, 2011 at 2:42 PM

5 minutes after lamenting on “drilling now wont go online for a few years and wont solve our problem” – Obama chastises everyone, including “politicians” who have been “arguing this for over 40 years with nothing getting done”

Priceless.

Odie1941 on March 11, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Obozo doesn’t understand that potential FUTURE supplies of oil are figured into PRESENT prices, via trading in oil-futures contracts, which give the owner/speculator the right to buy or sell oil at a set price up to a certain number of years into the future.

Traders are now betting that Libya’s oil will be unavailable in the future, AND that no additional supply will be developed in the U.S. as long as Obozo is President. So they’re buying contracts to buy oil ABOVE today’s price for the future, betting that the market price in the future will be higher than now, which means that other traders are buying oil NOW to sell it at a higher price later, which drives up the price NOW.

If Obama lifted the drilling moratorium and ENCOURAGED domestic drilling, oil-futures traders would bet that supplies in the future will be HIGHER than now, and drive future oil prices downward, which would give other traders an advantage to SELL more oil at today’s high price, which would tend to bring prices down.

This is not just market theory–it has already worked in the past! When then-President George W. Bush announced that the U.S. would open parts of the East Coast for offshore drilling in July 2008, oil prices plummeted from $140/barrel to $45/barrel in 6 months.

But Obama is too “smart” to “repeat the failed policies of the past” and BushHalliburton. Who cares if they worked?

Steve Z on March 11, 2011 at 2:48 PM

I have a new name for skippy:

-Failbama-

dogsoldier on March 11, 2011 at 2:12 PM

For the longest time all I can think of when I see/hear him is “Obamalamadingdong” (sha-na-na-dooby-de-doop!)

LooseCannon on March 11, 2011 at 2:51 PM

if the state issues a permit it is automaticlly appealed by the ecoterrorists and Dem electeds and appointeds .

the environuts are firmly embedded in most all state govt and are all to happy to force their religon upon the taxpayers who suffer from their folly!

dhunter on March 11, 2011 at 2:42 PM

ND has a state bank as well as a state run mill.
So they looked into building a refinery.
Here’s some info from Jan this year on that.According to this article, they say the last refiniery was built in the US in ’76.
Evidently in ND we have to ship ~75% of what we pump out of the state to get refined.

Badger40 on March 11, 2011 at 2:58 PM

If he doesn’t resign in the first couple of minutes what’s the point? Nothing is going to get better until he is gone.

petunia on March 11, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Are you high? Do you really think it’ll get better with that brainiac Biden? Really? Face it … we have a tough 20 months or so to wait out.

JSGreg3 on March 11, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Are you high? Do you really think it’ll get better with that brainiac Biden? Really? Face it … we have a tough 20 months or so to wait out.

JSGreg3 on March 11, 2011 at 3:13 PM

I’d rather have O’Biden at least he wouldn’t be insulated from criticism and impeachment or silence the cowardly Repugnantcans just because of skin pigmentation!

dhunter on March 11, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Badger40 on March 11, 2011 at 2:58 PM

http://www.hydrocarbons-technology.com/projects/elkpointrefinery/

dhunter on March 11, 2011 at 3:42 PM

The only sure-fire cure for our oil ills are High Speed Rail and taxpayer funded pensions for public sector unions. Here…have a white house homebrew and think about that one.

Koa on March 11, 2011 at 5:05 PM

If he doesn’t resign in the first couple of minutes what’s the point? Nothing is going to get better until he is gone.

petunia on March 11, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Are you high? Do you really think it’ll get better with that brainiac Biden? Really? Face it … we have a tough 20 months or so to wait out.

JSGreg3 on March 11, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Biden got 3% of the Primary vote. At least we would not have to fear re-election.

And honestly could Biden do worse? I don’t think so.

petunia on March 11, 2011 at 6:08 PM

Another WTF speech?

anikol on March 11, 2011 at 6:27 PM

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