Monday, June 02, 2008

Congress barking up the wrong oil derrick

Why do certain members of Congress drag the CEOs of American oil companies before their committees? Because those are the only CEOs who would actually show up. It turns out that private oil companies from the United States are dwarfed by their foreign competitors:
Just how big is America’s Big Oil club? Well, the biggest of the big—ExxonMobil—is ranked only around 20th of the world’s largest oil producers. Exxon owns a modest 1.08 percent of the world’s proven petroleum reserves.

The oil producers that are larger than Exxon are all state-owned entities—that is, the governments of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Venezuela, Mexico, etc. Not only are those producers foreign (meaning they lie outside of Congress’ jurisdiction and therefore won’t be called on the carpet to account for the pain Americans feel at the gas pump), they are notoriously corrupt and inefficient. (Gee, maybe not everyone who is in government is so pure after all.) These nationalized operations are plagued with mismanagement and inferior engineering. The results are subpar recovery rates and the premature decline of their oil fields—a major reason why global supply is struggling to keep pace with demand.

If those vast foreign oil resources were managed by America’s Big Oil—the real professionals of the trade—the global supply situation would be much improved. The problem, for all of us who long for lower fuel prices, isn’t that American Big Oil is too big, but that its share of the global petroleum market is too small.
American oil companies could be a heck of a lot bigger (and give us a much bigger supply of oil) if the same members of Congress who hold these show-trial hearings would allow these oil companies to drill for oil in all these domestic locations that are currently off-limits.

Good Day to You, Sir

1 comment:

Texas Truth said...

Why don't they drag the memebers of Congress who will not allow us to drill off our coasts or open up ANWR.