Thursday, March 15, 2012

Drill Our Way to Lower Oil Prices? Yes We Can!

Just as President Obama was lecturing the country about how more drilling won't lower gas prices, oil markets called his lie — cutting prices $2 a barrel in mere talk of releasing some oil from the strategic reserve. As the Washington Post reported on Thursday, oil prices "dropped quickly ... on a news report that Britain and the United States would cooperate on a release of crude oil from strategic reserves." Got that? On a news report. No oil has been released. It's not even clear if any ever will, since the Obama administration can't get its story straight. And even if the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) were tapped, it would only be for a relatively small amount. Still, it was a glimmer of hope that Obama was actually taking the oil crisis seriously, instead of making excuses. And that was enough to knock $2 off the price of a barrel of oil. Clearly, markets respond to changes in policy, long before any oil actually reaches the tank. Yet Obama continues to peddle the fiction that drilling doesn't matter. To be clear, we oppose releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and if Obama were to do so, it would be a gross dereliction of duty. By law, the sole use of the reserve is to protect the country from a serious, short-term supply disruption, not to paper over Obama's policy failures in an election year. But Thursday's market swing makes it clear that Obama could lower oil prices today if he wanted. All he has to do is reverse course and put the country on a mission to tap into its incredibly vast supply of domestic oil...more

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