Drilling isn’t the answer | AspenTimes.com

Drilling isn’t the answer

Dear Editor:

I am sick and tired of listening to McCain, trumpeting, in his usual infantile manner, “we must drill, drill, drill etc. …” I must assume he is referring to ANWAR or to offshore sites in California or Florida. My question is: Who is this “we” he keeps talking about? Were he to become president, the only people over which he would have control would be the military. Say, for example, the Corps of Engineers or perhaps the National Guard. Maybe he is not aware that success in “drilling” is not guaranteed. The rule of thumb used to be that only one in 10 wells drilled would produce oil.

Because of the enormous capitalization required to fund bringing crude in the ground to as far as the gasoline pump, only very large companies, capable of supporting the multitude of people and their equipment are able to do the job. A job which includes negotiating with governmental entities, here and abroad, followed by geologists, engineers designing drilling rigs, pumps, pipelines to ports (sometimes building port facilities and offshore platforms), fleets of large oil tankers to carry the product to refineries, built by the oil company and subject to politically sensitive NIMBY attitudes.

I don’t see anyone in our government qualified to undertake such an enterprise.

Those large enterprises are answerable to their owners, otherwise known as stockholders, who expect (in a capitalist society) to get profits from their investment. The role the government has in this is to protect the public and, when the nation needs to help these enterprises, not to hinder them. This policy was followed a few years ago when there was a shortage of fuel in the U.S. The then administration induced some companies to drill in very deep water in the Gulf of Mexico by offering a tax rebate for this risky work, thereby making a profit more likely to those companies. It could be mentioned here that banks, hedge-fund managers and financiers make much larger profits, using immense desks, studded with telephones, by buying and selling the work performed by others! Now that we have to compete for crude oil using our devalued dollars, with newly-rich countries such as China and India, our candidates, using time-tested techniques, rail against those very people that make these essential products, accusing them of “price-gouging” and threatening punishment in the form of heavy taxation.

Maybe Mr. McCain has a plan ready to teach the National Guard how to find, drill for, transport and refine petroleum products. This, if successful, should result in large savings as I don’t believe the Guard pays its people very well.

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Richard B. Veit


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