Will Increased Oil Drilling Help the US Solve Its Energy Crisis?



PRO (yes)

Newt Gingrich, PhD, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives (R-GA), stated the following in his a Feb. 15, 2012 article, "$2.50 Gallon Gasoline and Energy Independence," available at the Human Events website:

"While some of the increase in gas prices comes from growing demand, the demand pressures on price can and should be offset by increasing domestic supplies. Yet the Obama administration's ideological refusal to expand American energy production continues to block the development of resources which could lower prices dramatically...

Most Americans have no idea that the United States is sitting on enough technically recoverable oil to power us at current rates of consumption for over 250 years. We are estimated to have 1.4 trillion barrels of oil—or 1.7 trillion, adding in the resources of Canada and Mexico...

Without opening up more areas to drilling, we have no way of knowing how many more Bakken-sized discoveries are waiting for us... Increasing oil supplies will lower fuel prices significantly. And the biggest thing standing in the way is government obstruction."

Feb. 15, 2012 - Newt Gingrich, PhD 



Peter Morici, PhD, Professor of International Business at the R.H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, stated the following in his Feb. 27, 2012 article "The Wisdom of Drilling for Oil," available at the Real Clear Politics website:

"The liberal theocracy in academia, the media and the Democratic Party leadership relentlessly expounds that drilling for oil in the United States won't much affect U.S. gas prices, because petroleum prices are set in global markets...

Although tensions with Iran are growing and pushing up oil prices everywhere, prices have diverged between, for example, U.S. and European markets... This indicates the U.S. market is becoming somewhat separate and less wholly determined by global conditions; hence, more domestic production and increased access to Canadian oil would lower U.S. oil and prices—more drilling in the Gulf and elsewhere in North America, and the Keystone pipeline would significantly affect gas prices and employment...

Recently, the President ridiculed GOP presidential candidates for urging more domestic petroleum development stating, 'Anyone who tells you we can drill our way out of this problem doesn't know they're talking about—or just isn't telling you the truth.'

That's simply not so—drilling for more oil in the United States could make a big difference."

Feb. 27, 2012 - Peter Morici, PhD 



James M. Inhofe, US Senator (R-OK), stated the following in his May 3, 2011 article, "Actually, We Can Drill Our Way to Energy Security," available at the Daily Caller website:

"What's really needed is price relief for consumers at the pump. The best way to do that is to produce more affordable energy here at home...

The only way to estimate proven reserves is to drill. But that's not possible because federal policies, supported by President Obama and many Democrats, put 83 percent of America's federal lands off limits to drilling...

[W]e have 163 billion barrels of recoverable oil - nearly six times higher than what President Obama and the Democrats like to claim. That amount of oil would replace our current oil imports from the Persian Gulf for more than 50 years...

But this administration is saying no. By restricting supply - through its de facto moratorium on deep water permitting in the Gulf of Mexico, and its restrictions on production on federal lands - prices have gone up."

May 3, 2011 - James M. Inhofe 



John Kerry, JD, US Senator (D-MA), provided the following in a May 13, 2010 document posted on his website titled, "American Power Act: Decreasing our Dependence on Foreign Oil," available at his website:

"We spend almost one billion dollars every day on foreign oil. Much of it is sent to regimes that are hostile to America. That is money we should be investing here. We need to do what we can to reduce the demand we have for foreign oil and increase the energy sources that we can find here at home.

By reducing our dependence on foreign oil, we not only increase our energy - and national - security, but we also create jobs. Every new electric vehicle we produce domestically, every time we explore for new sources of natural gas or oil, we create jobs for Americans and build a stronger American economy.

After decades of dependence, it will not be easy to make the transition away from foreign oil...

Mindful of the accident in the Gulf, we promote domestic oil and gas production in order to reduce America's reliance on foreign fuels and provide necessary protections for coastal areas and marine ecosystems in the event of an accident related to oil and gas drilling activities."

May 13, 2010 - John Kerry, JD 



James Lacey, PhD, Director of the War Policy and Strategy Program at the Marine War College, stated the following in his Mar. 16, 2011 article "Drill, Baby, Drill (Again)," available at the National Review website:

"Regardless of what happens in the Middle East, the price of oil is set to go much higher, not because we are running out of the stuff, but because we are not looking hard enough for new sources or exploiting the sources we have...

Unless we start drilling immediately, in a few years we will look back at $100-a-barrel oil as a fond memory. Surging demand in emerging nations, a ravenous China, and the needs of hopefully growing U.S. and European economies will soon outstrip supplies. Once that happens for a prolonged period, the price of oil will not stop south of $200...

We have plenty of energy here at home, and we can produce it responsibly."

Mar. 16, 2011 - James Lacey, PhD 



The 2008 Republican Platform section titled "Energy Independence and Security" stated the following:

"If we are to have the resources we need to achieve energy independence, we simply must draw more American oil from American soil. We support accelerated exploration, drilling and development in America, from new oilfields off the nation's coasts to onshore fields such as those in Montana, North Dakota, and Alaska. The Green River Basin in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming offers recoverable shale oil that is ready for development, and most of it is on federal lands."

2008 - 2008 Republican Party Platform (876KB)  



Investor's Business Daily published an editorial on July 3, 2008 titled "Energy Myths," that stated:

"Many in Congress seem either disconnected from reality or intentionally disingenuous about our energy crunch. They have well-honed negative responses to common-sense ideas about solving our energy crisis, particularly drilling for more oil...

As we've noted before, conservative estimates put the total amount of recoverable oil in conventional deposits at about 39 billion barrels. Offshore, we have another 89 billion barrels or so. In ANWR, 10 billion barrels...

Today, we produce just under 8 million barrels of oil a day from domestic sources. So we could, in effect, boost our energy output 50%, and thus our energy independence, by bringing an additional 4 million barrels of oil to thirsty world markets each and every day...

By 2030, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, we will need at least 30% more energy to fuel our economy. Nearly 85% of that increase will come from oil and gas, even with expected gains for alternative energy. Can't drill our way out? In fact, it's the only way out of our energy crisis."

July 3, 2008 - Investor's Business Daily 



Red Cavaney, Former President and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, wrote in a Sep. 26, 2008 letter to the US Congress that:

"The federal drilling moratoria that have locked up vast amounts of the nation's oil and natural gas resources for years will expire on September 30. If the right actions are taken going forward, this could mean more ample and secure energy supplies for the American people, more U.S. jobs, and less reliance on imported oil. It could help reduce the costs of energy for transportation, for electric power production, and for home and office heating and cooling.

Our lifestyles, our economic strength, and our national security all depend on ready availability of adequate supplies of energy. If we don't take steps to control our energy destiny, we put at risk a better future for ourselves and for the generations that follow. Large domestic supplies of oil and natural gas are critical to our energy future. Alternatives are important but cannot yet substitute for the vast amounts of the oil and natural gas we now use and are projected to continue to demand."

Sep. 26, 2008 - Red Cavaney 



ExxonMobil stated in a Sep. 23, 2008 op-ed titled "Putting America's Energy Resources to Work," published on its website:

"Meeting our nation's energy challenges - and responding to high prices Americans are paying at the pump - requires that we pursue an integrated set of solutions. We must moderate demand by using energy more efficiently. And we must also increase supplies by responsibly developing energy resources from a variety of different sources and locations - including right here in the United States.

It is estimated that there is enough oil and natural gas offshore and in non-wilderness and non-park lands in the United States - but currently ruled off-limits for production by the federal government - to fuel 50 million cars and heat nearly 100 million homes for the next 25 years...

If Congress were to expand the areas available for active exploration, we could make more domestic energy available to Americans in the future, while sending a strong positive supply signal to markets today, potentially putting downward pressure on prices. It would also strengthen U.S. energy security by further diversifying Americans' energy portfolio, and therefore mitigating the impact of a disruption in any one producing region of the world."

Sep. 23, 2008 - ExxonMobil 



CON (no)

David Moulton, JD, Senior Director of Legislative Affairs at the Wilderness Society, stated the following in his Mar. 22, 2012 article "The Truth Behind $4 Gasoline That Big Oil Doesn't Want You to Know," available at the Wilderness Society website:

"We're drilling a lot. We're drilling more than any other country in the world. In fact, we're drilling more than every other country in the world combined. So far, it hasn't prevented gas prices from spiking in 2008 under President Bush nor in 2011 under President Obama...

There aren't many options for quick relief from high prices at the pump. But clearly the sooner we free ourselves from the shackles of oil dependence – foreign and domestic – the sooner we will be free of oil industry profiteering and political pandering."

Mar. 22, 2012 - David Moulton, JD 



Bernie Sanders, US Senator (I-VT), stated the following in his May 28, 2010 article "Oil Spill Shows Drilling Is Not the Answer," available at his website:

"The simple truth is that we cannot drill our way to energy independence or lower gas prices. The US uses roughly 25% of the world's oil, 7.5bn barrels per year, but we have only 2-3% of the world's proven petroleum reserves. Offshore drilling today provides roughly 1% of the oil we use in the United States...

If we take bold action in energy efficiency, public transportation, advanced vehicle technologies, solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal, we can transform our energy system, clean up our environment, and create millions of new jobs in the process. This direction, and not more offshore drilling, is where we have got to go."

May 28, 2010 - Bernie Sanders 



Dean Baker, PhD, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, wrote the following in his Mar. 24, 2011 article "'Drill Here, Drill Now, Drill Everywhere' and Other Nonsense," available at the Common Dreams website:

"The flood of nonsense in the traditional news outlets just continues to grow. At the top of the list is the steady stream of senators or members of Congress whose response to higher gas prices is to insist on drilling in every square inch of environmentally sensitive territory in the country. This is supposed to reduce our dependence on imported oil and lower the price of gas. Both sides of this assertion are absurd...

Given our current rate of consumption of 6.9 billion barrels a year, U.S. reserves could meet our demand for oil for less than 3.5 years. That means if we could somehow drill here, now, and everywhere, we could be energy independent until the middle of 2014 and then we would be 100 percent dependent on imported oil...

Given normal assumptions about how demand responds to price, we would be very lucky to see a 6 percent decline in the price of oil. This means that in the most optimistic 'drill everywhere' scenario we would save less than 20 cents from our $4 a gallon gas. More likely the savings would be less than half this size.

In other words, when a politician says that they want to end environmental restrictions on drilling in order to end U.S. dependence on foreign oil or bring the price of gas down, they are speaking utter nonsense."

Mar. 24, 2011 - Dean Baker, PhD 



Daniel J. Weiss, MPP, Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy at Center for American Progress, stated the following in his Feb. 2, 2011 article "The False Promise of 'Drill, Baby, Drill,'" available at the Center for American Progress website:

"[M]ore drilling would provide zero relief from high oil and gasoline prices now, and make a scant difference in 10 years...

More oil drilling cannot meet our long-term energy needs either. The United States has only 2 percent of the world's oil reserves, yet we use one-quarter of the oil produced annually even if we were drilling everywhere, including wildlife refuges, off beaches, and other fragile places. We cannot produce enough oil domestically to significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil...

The only real long-term solution to high prices and foreign oil dependence is to reduce our consumption...

No matter what the energy problem, Big Oil and its allies have only one solution: 'drill, baby, drill.' When all they have is a drill, everything looks like a well. This approach will make big oil companies billions of dollars more in profits, but won't help American families cope with higher gasoline prices."

Feb. 2, 2011 - Daniel J. Weiss, MPP 



Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, stated the following in his May 6, 2010 article "Halt US Offshore Drilling After Oil Spill," available at the Bloomberg website:

"The death of 11 oil workers and the devastation of the Gulf Coast's ecosystems and economy by the toxic sludge gushing from a BP Plc [British Petroleum] accident site is a tragedy that may well change the course of our nation...

There is no safe way to drill for oil in oceans. This disaster is an impetus to halt our dependence on oil completely and move to a clean energy future fast...

President Barack Obama and Congress need to develop a clear, ambitious vision for weaning us off our addiction to oil within, say, 20 years. Dirty fuels are undermining our national security and contributing to the future disasters that climate disruption will bring...

It should be clear to all now, that offshore oil drilling is bad business. We are calling on the president to reinstate a federal moratorium on new offshore drilling, and to prevent future disasters -- including climate disruption -- by presenting the nation with a visionary plan to wean America from dirty energy for good."

May 6, 2010 - Michael Brune 



Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives (D-CA), published the following on the "Energy Independence" page of her website (accessed Oct. 2, 2008):

"Republicans in Washington only offer more drilling - even though 68 million acres of federal oil reserves are already open and leased for development, but oil companies have decided it's not worth the money to drill there. New drilling won't lower prices for years to come. Drilling in the pristine Alaskan Wildlife Refuge wouldn't yield any oil for 10 years - and in 22 years would only save consumers about 2 cents a gallon. Even John McCain won't drill there. The bottom line: America has only 1.6% of the world's oil supply, but we use 24% - so drilling isn't much of a solution at all."

Oct. 2, 2008 - Nancy Pelosi 



The Natural Resources Defense Council wrote the following in its article "Build the Clean Energy Economy," published on www.nrdc.org (accessed Oct. 1, 2008):

"Oil companies and their allies in the Bush administration are using high gas prices as an excuse to push for more drilling, but that's not the solution for America's energy crisis.

Despoiling nature to get at the tiny trickle of oil we have left won't make any significant difference in what we pay at the pump - not now and not ever. And it won't make our country any less dependent on foreign fuel. Our thirst for oil is bad for national security, bad for our economy and bad for the environment...

The Bush administration's own Energy Department says that lifting the ban on offshore drilling would have a marginal impact on oil supplies and an 'insignificant' impact on prices. Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would be similarly futile, shaving - at the very most - 4 cents off a gallon of gas by 2026...

America needs to say no to pumping up Big Oil's profits and yes to forging a new clean energy economy."

Oct. 1, 2008 - Natural Resources Defense Council 



The US House Committee on Natural Resources (Majority) staff released a June 2008 report titled "The Truth About America's Energy: Big Oil Stockpiles Supplies and Pockets Profits," that stated the following:

"The fact is that the Nation simply cannot drill its way to lower prices at the pump. Other options, from greater energy efficiencies to the development of alternative fuels, are essential to reducing dependency on petroleum fuels and lowering fuel costs...

Since the 1990s, the federal government has consistently encouraged the development of its oil and gas resources and the amount of drilling on federal lands has steadily increased during this time. The number of drilling permits has exploded in recent years, going from 3,802 five years ago to 7,561 in 2007.

Between 1999 and 2007, the number of drilling permits issued for development of public lands increased by more than 361%, yet gasoline prices have also risen dramatically contradicting the argument that more drilling means lower gasoline prices. There is simply no correlation between the two."

June 2008 - US House Committee on Natural Resources (Majority) 
"The Truth About America's Energy: Big Oil Stockpiles Supplies and Pockets Profits" (103KB)  



T. Boone Pickens, founder and chairman of BP Capital Management, wrote in an essay titled "It's Time to Stop America's Addiction to Foreign Oil," published on the homepage of his website (accessed Sep. 24, 2008):

"America is in a hole and it's getting deeper every day. We import 70% of our oil at a cost of $700 billion a year - four times the annual cost of the Iraq war.

I've been an oil man all my life, but this is one emergency we can't drill our way out of. But if we create a new renewable energy network, we can break our addiction to foreign oil."

Sep. 24, 2008 - T. Boone Pickens