A common response of the Democrats when confronted with citizens advocating for increased offshore drilling is that the results are "years off into the future" and therefore any relief on gas prices would be unlikely-at least in any sort of time frame that matters to voters right now. They are wrong on many measures-foremost among them is that the same obstruction deprived Americans all these years of domestic production which would have been in place but for Democratic opposition. Also future prices would respond to the prospect of increased oil supplies and this would have a depressive effect on oil prices-NOW. But the greatest impact would come from already well-explored and developed offshore supplies in California-where production could be rapidly ramped up. From the well-regarded Sanford Bernstein research shop :
A Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst said in a report there is a lot of offshore crude that can be produced relatively quickly. The problem: It is located off California, where politicians have built careers opposing new drilling.
The Minerals Management Service said that of the estimated 18 billion barrels of oil in off-limits coastal areas, almost 10 billion are off the coast of California.
"California could actually start producing new oil within a year if the moratorium were lifted," the Sanford C. Bernstein report said, because the oil is under shallow water, has been explored and drilling platforms have been there since before the moratoria.
A company named Plains Exploration is engaged in efforts to develop these fields and recently reached a deal with environmentalists that would facilitate this effort. A bit of trivia-UNOCAL-bought years ago for many billions of dollars by Chevron-had its start as the Union Oil Company of California. The oil pumps that dot the landscape at the end of the movie L.A. Confidential are a legacy of the oil boom that propelled-at one time-California into a top spot as an oil producing state.Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi should be aware of this information-as should Senators Boxer and Feinstein*. After all, they all hail from California. Maybe they can also help to inform Barack Obama of this fact-since he is also disparaging of efforts to recover oil from offshore areas.
* Or do they just suffer from the same Not-In-My-Backyard syndrome that led Ted Kennedy to oppose Wind Farms off of Cape Cod-site of the Kennedy family compound?