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US Oil Exports Hit Record Pace. That's Right, Exports

By David Sassoon

Aug 19, 2008

Who knew that the US is currently exporting 1.8 million barrels of oil a day?

To make sure everybody does, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, , asking him to "keep our oil at home."

The letter didn't specify how, but it didn't miss the opportunity to take a shot at the GOP plan to open up protected offshore waters to oil drilling. the current export rate, by the time the first barrel of oil could be produced from increased offshore drilling, America would have already exported the equivalent of nearly 40 percent of the oil that is projected to lie beneath protected areas offshore.

It was no coincidence that Markey's letter was released just as John McCain paid a visit to an offshore rig off the coast of Louisiana -- in order to highlight his support for increased domestic offshore drilling.

As the public battle over access to oil in protected US waters continues, why the stakes have gotten so high: it turns out the major oil companies, desperate for new sources of supply, have almost nowhere else to turn.

And after reading , it will also become clear why a McCain election victory would deliver what the oil companies want more than anything else: a clear path to an endless fossil future.

Mouawad reports that as late as 1970's, the major oil companies were responsible for 50% of global oil production. Today, their production accounts for a mere 13%. That's because the 10 largest holders of petroleum reserves are state-owned companies.

Oil company executives see a straightforward explanation: a trend known as resource nationalism. They contend that they have been shut out of promising regions by a rising assertiveness in the Middle East, in Russia, in South America and elsewhere by governments determined to keep full control of their oil.....

This sense of being hemmed in helps explain why the Western oil companies want more offshore drilling in the United States. They see it as one of their few options.

And it's a lot easier for these oil companies to influence US government policy than the decisions of Russia’s Gazprom, or Iran’s national oil company, or Venezuela.

And it looks like they've got the McCain campaign in a bear hug. reports that Wayne Berman, McCain's national finance co-chairman, who has bundled over $500,000 for his campaign, has lobbied for Chevron since 2004; McCain's chief Congressional liaison, John Green, has lobbied for Chevron since 2005; and Richard Hohlt, a McCain fundraiser and DC insider, has also lobbied for Chevron since 2005.

It should come as no surprise that the McCain campaign chose to visit a Chevron-owned drilling platform.

All this also explains why the battle over offshore drilling is just the leading wedge of an effort to remove government restrictions on the exploitation of unconventional fossil fuels: tar sands, oil shale and coal-to-liquid fuels.

With access to global oil fields more restricted than ever, the oil companies are not going to be satisfied with the meager pickings from offshore wells. They're after the mother lode, which both McCain and in their calls for increased domestic oil production: "tap into the extraordinary potential of oil shale."

Oil shale is a type of rock that can produce oil when exposed to heat or other processes. In one major deposit – the Green River Basin of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming – there lies the equivalent of about 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil. If it can be fully recovered, it would equal more than a century's worth of currently projected oil imports.

The oil companies are

The oil companies are exporting crude to overseas markets and letting them drill more domestically or offshore would be a waste of our oil because we wouldn't of received any benefit. Research how much crude oil, heating oil, natural gas, LNG, diesel, and gasoline is exported from this country and you would be shocked. Lots of the oil in the Alaskan Pipeline is shipped to Japan. The oil companies say they want to build more refineries and do more drilling, but I say they don't need to do either until we stop all exports. We can never be energy independent as long as we continue exporting to other countries. Offshore drilling and onshore drilling in Alaska is extremely attractive to oil companies because one offshore well can equal fifteen onshore wells in production and drilling in Alaska produces large volumes of oil. For every barrel of oil we send overseas that's another barrel of oil we have to import.

A good rule of thumb regarding always chases the dollar bill and goes to the most illogical spot.

I do hope that they just

I do hope that they just keep the oil home rather than export it. Billions of dollars used in oil imports would be saved if we would keep our oil here. Though if we do that, we still need to keep in mind the different and not waste too much of the homegrown fuel.

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