They’ll drive you hundreds of miles? Not what Graeber is thinking, apparently:
The U.S. Energy Department said oil production has reached a 14-year high thanks in large part to a boom in North Dakota, Texas and the Gulf of Mexico. The Obama administration has shrugged off Republican criticism of its domestic energy policy by pointing to historic trends in oil production. While some of that increase is because of policies enacted by the previous Republican administration, a 6-percent growth rate over six months does not reflect policies that could be described as burdensome. Nevertheless, GOP leaders continue to bang the oil drum in an effort to get more land opened for exploration. Either they’re out of energy ammunition to lob at Obama ahead of November, or Democratic leaders are correct in their assessment that the GOP is in cahoots with big oil.
The U.S. Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration reports that, for much of last year, crude oil production in the United States held steady at around 5.6 million barrels per day. The Obama administration, in a 217-page policy agenda published in November, said it wanted to cut the amount of oil imported into the United States by around 30 percent by 2025. As if on cue, the EIA reported that oil production during the fourth quarter of 2011 passed 5.9 million bpd and moved past 6 million bpd by the first quarter of 2012. Domestic oil production, the EIA states, hasn’t been this high since 1998.
The EIA, in its assessment, attributed much of the increase to an oil production boom in Texas, North Dakota and the U.S. federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Oil, natural gas – and even retail gasoline prices – are declining in part because of high inventories and weak consumer demand in a sluggish economy. High prices during the first quarter of the year sparked renewed concerns about major economic calamity worldwide. Most of that was triggered less by physical market conditions than psychological concerns about Iran. With a July embargo deadline fast approaching, however, IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said there was “a lot of extra oil” on the market. U.S. oil production, presumably, is contributing to that glut.
Yet, to hear Republican leaders on Capitol Hill explain it, the United States still has its work cut out for it in terms of oil production.