Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Haridopolos Ignorance on Energy Policy

U.S. Senate candidate Mike Haridopolos wants to open up drilling in the Gulf and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

“We need to move away from these rogue dictatorships whether it be in central or South American let alone in the Middle East,” he said. “This is our time to lead by example. We need to open up those new opportunities in the Gulf and ANWR. Four dollars-plus in gasoline are crippling the middle class. This is the biggest tax hike ever, and Obama has pushed this way because we are relying more and more on these folks in the Middle East. America needs to lead by example on energy production and it starts with drilling in places like ANWR, let alone the Gulf of Mexico.”

Haridopolos' position is political suicide in a general election. Crude oil is still washing up on Florida beaches. Bill Nelson has a strong record against offshore drilling and will hammer Haridopolos on his position. However, I doubt Haridopolos will be the Republican nominee.

Haridopolos shows his ignorance by thinking offshore drilling will make America energy independent. There are many open offshore sites along the Gulf that haven't been drilled. Many companies find it is easier to get investors on the promised prospect that they might one day drill. Another reason is the oil is too difficult to obtain.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration released a study that found if all offshore drilling is open in the lower 48 state that it would have little impact on available oil.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, the Energy Information Administration found that drilling in ANWR would only lower gas prices by one or two pennies.

The Energy Information Administration also researched the impact of crude oil production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. To put it in scale, ANWR is believed to have a potential for 10.4-billion barrels of crude oil, a little more than half of the projected potential for the offshore areas McCain has proposed opening.

ANWR would add only 1 to 2 percent to the overall world oil supply, said Philip Budzig, who wrote the Energy Information Administration report. The report concluded drilling there would subtract anywhere from 41 cents to $1.44 per barrel of crude oil around 2025. That translates to a savings of just a couple of pennies per gallon at the pump. Again, in 2025.

Budzig noted that the report was prepared when oil was going for about $65 a barrel. It's now double that. So, in theory, savings might be double what he projected last year.

Best case scenario: 3 or 4 cent in savings at the pump. I don't believe Haridopolos has ever read an energy policy paper in his life. There is no reason to take him seriously when he talks about lowering gas prices.

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