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    “Release Baby Release” is the new “Drill Baby Drill”

    “Release Baby Release” is the new “Drill Baby Drill”

    Yes, “drill baby drill” will not increase the supply of oil this month, but if we had been drilling baby drilling the past two and one-half years, instead of stifling production almost everywhere, we would not need to be releasing our strategic petroleum reserves.  Via AP:

    The Obama administration has decided to release 30 million barrels of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve as part of a broader international effort to pump more 60 million barrels onto the world market over the next month.

    U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the release of oil is a response to oil supply disruptions caused by turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, including Libya.

    The administration said the uprising in Libya has resulted in a loss of about 1.5 million barrels of oil a day. The release comes as the United States approaches a period of high energy use in July and August.

    High oil prices have increased the cost of gasoline, contributing to an economic slowdown and putting increased political pressure on President Barack Obama.

    Make not mistake about it, this is not just a reaction to the current market conditions, it is Obama’s policy to use the strategic petroleum reserves as a market cushion rather than extensive new drilling, as outlined during the 2008 campaign:

    Senator Barack Obama altered his position on Monday to call for tapping the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower gasoline prices as he outlined an energy plan that contrasts with Senator John McCain’s greater emphasis on expanded offshore drilling and coal and nuclear technology.

    In a speech here and in a new advertisement, Mr. Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, also sought to portray his Republican rival, Mr. McCain, as “in the pocket” of oil giants that are profiting from gasoline priced at more than $4 a gallon. And in his speech, Mr. Obama called for a windfall profits tax on oil companies to finance rebates for Americans.

    While Obama proposed some new “limited” offshore drilling (video at 4:40), it was contingent on a comprehensive energy plan for so called alternative energy:

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    Official Obama line, as reported by AP:

    U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the release of oil is a response to oil supply disruptions caused by turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, including Libya.

    … the uprising in Libya has resulted in a loss of about 1.5 million barrels of oil a day … as the United States approaches a period of high energy use in July and August.

    Response here at LI in political terms:

    … this is not just a reaction to the current market conditions, it is Obama’s policy to use the strategic petroleum reserves as a market cushion rather than extensive new drilling, as outlined during the 2008 campaign:

    Of course, part of the reason Obama was willing to make strong demands for releases from the strategic reserve during the 2008 election cycle, was that he knew the Bush Administration would not do it, thus putting his campaign in a position to blame increasing prices on the failure of the Bush Administration to listen to him.

    The market effect of this current release is likely to prove very short-term, and we are likely to be back where we were pretty quickly. But that is NOT the issue for Obama.

    So, to refine the point a bit, perhaps this release is intended as a public opinion test . . . far enough out from the active portion of the 2012 election cycle to give the Administration plausible deniability that the sudden release was and is predominantly political, but with enough punch to get a more accurate measure the practical prophylaxis effect of such a release in terms of a temporary tamping down consumer anger over gas prices.

    After all, according to the American Petroleum Institute demand was down and supplies were up for May — there simply was no emergency prompting this response.

    What prompted it? In mid-April of this year Obama himself told a group of his Hollywood-based top donors that oil prices were a central component of his popularity, and his perceived ability to manage the economy . . . in other words, to his prospects for reelection.

    “My poll numbers go up and down depending on the latest crisis, and right now gas prices are weighing heavily on people,” he said.

    Yep.

    See also Jazz Shaw at Hot Air, here.

    By his own admission, therefore, it’s the about the oil prices, stupid! I’d guess that if even a mere 2-3% of the voting public is intensely focused on too-high oil prices in a close election campaign in late October and early November of 2012, Obama loses.

    So, my read on this oil reserve release is as follows:

    “Testing, testing, one two . . . “

    If I were Darrell Issa, I’d be preparing to start printing subpoenas for Chu, top DOE politicos and many others, including in the White House itself, much like the fed is printing money!

    The interesting thing about Teh O’s decision to release stock from strategic storage now is the move is about four weeks too late to do much good. Which means he once again “dithered” away an opportunity to show leadership.

    If O had moved when the market was at or near it’s peak the release could have logically mean credited with triggering the decline. But by itself the market corrected itself – in spite of the best efforts of the political class to prevent such an outcome. So this move was unnecessary. Another example of O burning Rembrandts to heat the WH.

    Whoever still thinks he’s a genius needs to report back to their home village. They’ve all been reported missing.

    I hereby declare Alaska and the Gulf to be our Strategic Reserve, and encourage Obama to “release” the tens of millions of barrels his administration has stoppered up through overregulation and outright lease theft.

    So we get to replace $30 a barrel oil with $90 a barrel oil. Smart.

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    […] of you may have noticed that Obama decided to release 30 million barrels of oil from the SPR (Strategic Petroleum Reserve). Three links let you pick one […]


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