Today is a good news/bad news day for those who believe that the United States should be exploiting our natural resources in an attempt to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. Exxon Mobil announced a major oil find in the Gulf, but if Senate Minority Leader Mich McConnell is correct that shouldn’t matter because President Obama is doing all he can to make sure that oil production does not happen.
Exxon Mobil said Wednesday it has discovered an estimated 700 million barrels of oil equivalent at a deepwater well off the Louisiana coast, a major find that a top House Republican argued should push the administration to speed up offshore permitting.
“This is one of the largest discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico in the last decade,” Exxon Mobil Exploration Company President Steve Greenlee said in a statement.
Exxon Mobil made the discovery after the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) approved an application in March allowing the company to resume exploratory drilling. Drilling at the well was halted in the aftermath of last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The well is located about 250 miles south of New Orleans in about 7,000 feet of water, Exxon Mobil said.
This is one of only 15 offshore permits issued by Obama’s interior department since the BP disaster last year. Just imagine what would happen if the administration really opened up the gulf to drilling.
The problem, according to Senate Minority Leader Mich McConnell, is that the President is not very likely to allow the gulf to be opened to drilling.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday accused President Obama of doing “everything he can behind the scenes to block [energy] production” and “kill energy-related jobs.”
“He publicly claims to support greater domestic production and the jobs that come with it, even as he seems to do everything he can behind the scenes to block production and to kill energy-related jobs here at home,” accused McConnell from the Senate floor.
“Not only have gas prices skyrocketed, but the administration’s policies are also hindering the creation of thousands of good, private-sector jobs that so many Americans desperately need,” McConnell added.
McConnell complained about the six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling imposed by the administration last year, and the administration’s actions to block exploration on Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf.
McConnell’s speech came on Wednesday as oil prices surged after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) unexpectedly announced it had not reached a consensus to raise oil production.
McConnell’s speech echos a scathing report about the nation’s energy released recently by the House Oversight Committee. The report said in part that the President deliberately created policies which would cause energy prices to rise.
“The United States has the largest reserves in the world—resources that can provide good paying American jobs and fuel our economic expansion. But standing between that energy and U.S. consumers is an obstacle course of government red tape, regulation, delays and obfuscations,” Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) said. He pointed to statements by President Obama and Energy Secretary Chu about intentionally raising energy costs for Americans and how these goals are being implemented throughout the government.
Based on his track record of preventing drilling in the gulf and putting road and the canceling of shale drilling contracts in Utah, it will not be surprising if President Obama finds a way to stop this new find also.