Monday, July 14, 2008

U.S. oil firms seek drilling access, but exports soar | Reuters

By Tom Doggett - Analysis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - While the U.S. oil industry wants access to more federal lands to help reduce reliance on foreign suppliers, American-based companies are shipping record amounts of gasoline and diesel fuel to other countries.

A record 1.6 million barrels a day in U.S. refined petroleum products were exported during the first four months of this year, up 33 percent from 1.2 million barrels a day over the same period in 2007. Shipments this February topped 1.8 million barrels a day for the first time during any month, according to final numbers from the Energy Department.

The surge in exports appears to contradict the pleas from the U.S. oil industry and the Bush administration for Congress to open more offshore waters and Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.

"We can help alleviate shortages by drilling for oil and gas in our own country," President Bush told reporters this week. "We have got the opportunity to find more crude oil here at home."

"As a nation, we can have more control over our energy destiny by supplying more of the oil and natural gas we'll be consuming from resources here at home," Red Cavaney, president of the American Petroleum Institute, said in a letter last week to U.S. lawmakers.

But environmentalists and other opponents to expanding drilling areas could seize on the record exports to argue Congress should not open more acres if U.S. refineries are churning crude oil into petroleum products that are sent out of the American market.

"It doesn't look good to say: 'We need more oil.' But then export the refined products that you're getting. It doesn't seem to be consistent," said Jim Presswood, energy lobbyist for the Natural Resources Defense Council....

Do you think that oil speculators and multi-national oil companies give a rat's ass about America's economic difficulties? Not when there's profit to be made.

How about the claims that refining capacity is down because 'the Dems' won't allow more refineries to be built?

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A dramatic slowdown in U.S. gasoline demand in the midst of record pump prices has forced refining companies in the world's top energy consumer to curb output at a time of year they normally produce at full throttle.

The untimely production cuts during the peak driving summer season are another sign of the pain inflicted by record energy costs on U.S. consumers and businesses, already hard-hit by a housing slump and credit crisis, experts said....

Curbing output and exporting ever larger amounts of refined petroleum products while hollering to drill in sensitive environments and give further tax breaks to the oil companies makes it pretty clear who BushCo and the GOP really consider their true constituency.

Catch you later.....

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