Americans are now paying record prices for gasoline and natural gas. Polls show that most Americans think Biden and his policies primarily caused this economic burden. Yet Biden is now saying “Russia is responsible” for our high prices, and he can’t do anything about it.
Oil and gas are global commodities and, of course, prices have been affected by the war. But consider this: On January 20, 2021, the day of the inauguration, the average cost of gasoline in the United States was $2.37. The day before the Russian invasion, February 23, 2020, the average gas price was $3.53. Prices had risen 50% under Biden even before the invasion.
This should come as no surprise to the American voter. Remember that the promise to end fossil fuels was a cornerstone of Biden’s primary campaign, and he repeated it often. “We would make sure it was phased out… No more fossil fuels.” He told a voter during the campaign trail, “I want you to look me in the eye. I guarantee you, I guarantee you we’re going to end fossil fuels.” An Iowa supporter began asking him a few days before the Iowa caucuses, “What about, say, shutting down fracking and shutting down pipelines and… Biden chimed in before he could even finish his question: “Yeah, yeah, no pipelines, exactly.”
Now, in an election year, and with Americans understandably upset about energy prices, the administration is sidetracking and blaming others while closing in on Venezuela and Iran to seek more energy supplies. US Oil & Gas Association President Tim Stewart made this concise statement on this policy direction: “It is very insulting to us that we are looking at Venezuela to increase oil production. The country of Venezuela produces today today 800,000 barrels of oil a day. The state of North Dakota produces 1.1 million.”
The Biden administration also blames US producers for not developing 9,000 leases — we can’t develop leases if the permits aren’t approved.
Interior Department data shows the Biden administration is continuing its war on US oil and gas companies. The government is delaying permit approvals despite rhetoric from President Biden and Jen Psaki that the administration has done nothing to affect declining US oil production. However, the Bureau of Land Management approves fewer drilling permits and takes longer to process a permit.
Dressings are offered to repair gaping wounds. Restarting the Keystone XL pipeline is more affordable and would lower gas prices. Releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve will only have a transient and temporary effect on prices. Some politicians are proposing a gasoline tax exemption. At least with the tax exemption people can keep their own money. Some Democrats have even offered monthly gas stimulus checks to combat high gas prices. Giving what is perceived as “free” money is a cheap election year tactic.
The Biden administration is engaging in a public relations campaign claiming it is not suppressing oil production. This rhetoric is a classic case of gaslighting. We’ve covered a plethora of actions this administration has taken to discourage domestic production. A new attack on oil production was recently announced: a set of SEC “climate-related disclosure” rules designed to prevent oil investment and production.
The administration recently said it would restart the leasing process on federal lands. This action is the latest in a series of stops and starts in the federal oil and gas leasing program since Biden took office, so pardon my doubts. They only announced this after a court ruling that temporarily reinstated a measure intended to factor the cost of global warming into federal decision-making. Actions will prove to speak louder than words.
The United States promised more natural gas for Europe. Committing to more natural gas sounds great, but looking at the numbers makes commitment hollow. The EU imported a record 22 billion cubic meters of LNG from the United States last year. The commitment is to boost US exports, yes; however, the United States is currently on track to meet this target by a large margin for the full year. LNG export capacity is already expected to increase by another 20% by the end of the year. Promise to make something happen is not really a promise.
Even as he promised more natural gas for Europe, in the same speech Biden said the gas crisis was an “opportunity” to “double down on clean energy targets.” That goal is his endgame today — just as he was on the campaign trail.
We can solve this problem. America’s private sector delivers smart solutions and real results. As demand continues to grow, our current and planned production is also increasing. U.S. oil production increased last year and could reach 900,000 barrels per day in 2022. In the Permian Basin, our most prolific oil producing basin, record oil production has just been reached in March. The Marcellus, the country’s most prolific natural gas basin, is also at record production. We can build a better future.
The consequences of failure are too great, especially the impact on our children and grandchildren. With the right policies in place, the United States could quickly become energy independent again, with an environmentally responsible approach. Domestic production supports national and economic security, yes. Domestic production even has a positive impact on global environmental goals. Our production is much better for the environment than production in Venezuela or Russia. This will help end our global dependency and improve our quality of life and that of our allies.
In this issue of BIC, we feature commentary from Anthony O’Donovan, President and CEO of Arkema Inc., Armando Lara, Plant Site Manager LyondellBasell Edison, Mark Myhre, Commissioning President of GATE Energy, Hari Gopu, Chief Operating Officer of Taurus Industrial Group, Wood President of Operations — Americas Paul Leonard and Jim Rock, Executive Director of the Lake Area Industry Alliance. We also cover topics important to your business, including strategies for breaking down communication silos, how true leadership recognizes responsibility to the community, and ensuring the quality of biodiesel and renewable diesel.
The great American statesman Daniel Webster, who represented two different states in the American Congress and served as American Secretary of State under three presidents, had this idea of prioritizing American resources to promote our interests: “Let us develop the resources of our earth, invoke its powers, build up its institutions, promote all its great interests, and see if we too, in our day and of our generation, cannot accomplish something worth remembering.