Pete Dominici (R. N.M.)
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Now, before I talk about my prepared remarks, I am going to say it is common knowledge in the oil and gas industry of America and the world that offshore--off the shores of the United States--be it California or Georgia, there exist large quantities of natural gas and crude oil, (80% of which is already leased to the oil and gas companies to drill for and they are not. shell) and that there are ways today to discover precisely where that oil is and to build platforms that are impregnable, (not true. I just watched an expert geologist who works on oil platforms with the newest technology at his command and he could only estimate probabilities, not certainties. he said the only way to really find out is to drill. shell) onto which the apparatus is moved for the drilling of oil, and that from one such platform 10 or 12 major wells can be drilled underground--way down, many feet, in fact miles below the surface--to produce oil and gas for the American people.
As we begin this debate, it is interesting to note that it has been 26, almost 27 years that these offshore oil and gas reserves owned by the American people have been locked up in a moratorium (he's only talking about 20% of the sea that is not leased already he's trying to fool the american people with this statement), either congressional or Executive. We note the other day the President lifted his moratoria, wherever they were around the United States (yes drill in the grand canyon and all our national parks! right off the shore of san diego! come on let's get drillin!). He lifted them. So what is left is the congressionally imposed, 1 year at a time--and we have imposed it for 26 years--moratorium on using this valuable resource because we were frightened and scared about the damage it might cause, the harm that might be caused by going out and drilling in the deep waters off the coasts of our country (that's because it has happened before and we know the consequences. the republicans think we just forgot the damage caused by oil spills in california and after katrina and alaska).
We have since found out, without question--during this 27 years of getting oil elsewhere and expecting oil to be cheap--we found out during that period of time that we can indeed locate and find and drill for and produce and deliver oil and gas from the bottom, way down deep from the bottom of the coastal waters of America (in 7 to 15 years). Huge quantities of oil and gas can be removed (3% of the world store, total.), can be piped out, with no damage and no danger to anyone (lie). That was proven with Katrina. When Katrina happened, America had a number of platforms, deep-water platforms in existence, because some parts of the offshore were open and yielded large quantities of oil and gas. None of them was disrupted (lie. the spills caused by katrina spilled almost as much as the exxon Valdez. millions of gallons of oil spilled from the destroyed platforms and broken under water pipelines.). None of them was broken (lie). None of the pipes were broken (lie), and no environmental damage occurred from one of the most severe problems that came with Katrina and the hurricane that followed (lie and i can prove all of these lies with the government's own data and maps.), as we all know (no we all don't know pete because you are ether lying or you are totally incompetent to be speaking on the issue.)
.Dick Durbin (D. Illinois) you find a lie for me in this and i'll buy you a Popsicle.
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Mr. DURBIN. Madam President, this is an interesting debate because it is really coming down to some different points of view. As both sides present their cases, I am sure the American people will listen carefully because there is hardly an issue we can discuss that hits each and every family and each and every person so personally. This is the sign that you see in front of the gas station every morning when you drive to work, every weekend when you start to fill up. This is what you face when you go to fill up that car or truck and reach into your wallet for your credit card or cash and realize this is the most you have ever paid for gasoline in your life.
This is real. This isn't some theoretical possibility that it may affect your life. This debate is about reality. So it is important that the people who are following this debate understand there are two very different points of view.
The view expressed by the Senator from New Mexico is one that I think most Republicans now espouse. It is this: if we could just drill more oil, we would have a larger supply, and it would bring down the cost. If the cost goes down, then the price of gasoline goes down and, thank goodness, we will get some relief at the gasoline pump.
It is a good theory, and it is their starting point, but it has some weaknesses. The first weakness is, if you take a look at all of the oil the United States has within its boundaries and offshore, all of this, the estimate of all the oil we could reach at any given time in the United
States represents 3 percent of the world's supply of oil. Most of our oil comes from other places--Canada, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia. Our oil, U.S. oil, is 3 percent of the world's total. How much oil do we consume in the United States? We consume 25 percent of the world's production. We cannot drill our way out if we drill every drop of oil available to us anywhere, onshore and offshore. We could not meet the clear demand of the largest economy in the world.
Simply, drilling does not answer the challenge. It ignores the reality that China, India, and many other countries which, for the longest time, didn't use as much oil as the United States, now are starting to use more--more cars, more trucks, more industry. Their demand for that same world oil supply is putting a strain on the market. There is no question about it.
The second question, obviously, is, is there a place, someplace in the United States--either onshore or offshore--where there is the answer to our prayers immediately, where we could say: For goodness sake, clear the decks, stop the regulators, get the derricks out, and let's drill. Bring out that oil and, for goodness sake, bring down the price of gasoline. Is there such a place?
The answer is no, honestly, because those who are involved in the industry tell us anytime we decide to drill on another acre of land, it is a decision which will lead to production of oil anywhere from 8 to 14 years from now--8 to 14 years. Why? They have to go in and map the land. They have to figure out where the oil might be. They have to do some testing. They have to find some equipment.
Incidentally, all the oil equipment for offshore drilling right now is in use. There is nothing like an inventory waiting to be dragged out and put in just the right spot. It is not there. It takes years to get in the queue, to bring these oil exploration operations on line. Once they are on line, production starts slowly and builds. And that is the reality that explains the 8 to 14 years.
So we do not have any oil in the United States to take care of ourselves indefinitely, and we don't have this mother lode of oil somewhere that if we could just tap it tomorrow, it is going to answer our prayers.
Then there is the third issue. The third issue is the Federal Government, which controls a lot of land within the United States and off our shores, continually offers to the oil and gas companies the opportunity to lease that land and explore it for gas and oil. If you listen to the other side, you would think we are squandering--holding back all of these oil and gas assets from oil and gas companies and daring and defying them to go forward with exploration and production. That is not the case.
President Bush and the Republicans and the oil companies want to greatly expand the available areas for drilling. But is it responsible? The Federal Government already offers tracts of land in offshore regions for oil and natural gas development. In fact, nearly 94 million acres of U.S. territory--that is a larger landmass than the size of the State of Utah--is currently under lease to the oil and gas companies who believe there is oil and gas to be found. That is twice the size of the State of Pennsylvania currently under lease.
It is not as if access has been restricted. The Government leases millions of new acres every year. An additional 4.6 million acres of Federal land was leased in 2007. The Bureau of Land Management has held 21 onshore lease sales already this year. Last week a sale was held for nearly 63,000 acres. BLM has 18 more lease sales scheduled through this year. Offshore lease sales have proceeded at an even faster pace.
Since the beginning of 2007, the Minerals Management Service has held six lease sales for open areas off the Outer Continental Shelf in the Gulf of Mexico and in Alaska's Chukchi Sea.
How much offshore oil land has been offered? It is 115 million acres that has been offered to the oil and gas companies for a lease on which to drill. How big a territory is 115 million acres?
Most people, certainly in my State and around the country, know Interstate 80.
It starts over here in New Jersey and ends in California. If you were to take a 628-mile swath along Interstate 80 from New Jersey to California, that would represent 115 million acres. That is what we have offered to the oil and gas companies to lease; land they can look at and explore and find oil and gas and produce it.
The oil companies, that said they do not have enough land to look at for future oil and gas, have responded by saying they would like to have 12 million acres, that is the amount of seabed the oil companies put bids on, barely 10 percent of what we offered them.
In my I-80 comparison, that would take you from New Jersey to Pennsylvania, about 310 miles. Look at the big stretch they are not interested in bidding on. We hear from the Republicans: There is no place for them to turn. But when we offered them the land, they turned it down. They are not using the leased land they currently have either. This next chart shows there are 68 million acres of Federal land currently leased to the oil and gas companies. What you see is kind of a shot of the Western part of the United States. The leased land that is under production is the dark areas, the black areas.
The red areas represent leased land by the Federal Government to the oil companies that they pay for--they do not force them to take it, they pay for it, they pay an annual lease for the right for oil and gas production. The red areas represent areas they lease and are currently not exploring or producing on.
So you see the argument that there is not enough land out there for them to look at defies explanation. When we open it for bid, they will not bid on it. When they do lease it, they do not explore it and use it. Does that sound like there is a lack of supply here of land that they can turn to? That is the Republican argument.
They do argue that there is one little spot, one spot in the United States of America where they can find oil, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 1.56 million acres. Now how much is there? I do not know. But I will tell you that next door to the ANWR is the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska, which has been established specifically for oil and gas development.
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There are 23 million acres of land there available. We have held four lease sales in that area since 1999. So far they have leased 3.6 million acres out of the 23 million. We are going to try to lease some more there to see if there is any interest. All this talk about Alaska being the answer to our prayers, they do not explain as well that it is 10 or 12 years away, if there is any production, and when, if it ever came in, even at the wildest estimates, it would not have any impact of more than pennies or nickels on the actual cost of oil and the price of gasoline.
I joined with Senators Dodd and Menendez to charge oil companies a fee for every acre they lease but do not use for production. I have heard critics on the other side say that is unfair to the oil companies. Why should they be able to tie up the land if they are not going to use it? Should not we make it available to oil companies that might explore and might produce on that land? Is that not what we need? Even the Republicans would have to agree with that argument.
When it comes to offshore drilling, I mentioned the 68 million acres. The red areas are Federal offshore land leased to oil companies which they are currently not exploring or producing on. The dark acres, they are. There is a lot of land available.
I wish to say a word about speculation too. We have offered to the Republicans the following. We have a bill, a bill which I was at least partially responsible for writing, which says we need more regulators to keep an eye on speculation when it comes to oil and its prices.
I think that is something that is eminently reasonable. This is a good indication. In the year 2000, 37 percent of the oil futures market was for speculators. These are basically investment companies, investment banks. And 63 percent represented companies that were actually hedging the price of oil, because they used oil, such as airlines.
Look how that has changed in the last 8 years. Seventy-one percent of the oil futures market is in the hands of speculators who literally never take control of the oil they are bidding on, and only 29 percent represent companies that use it for the purpose that most of us would agree it should be intended.
So we know speculation is growing when it comes to oil, and we know the transactions have gone up 600 percent in the last 8 or 10 years. The size of the agency that regulates it has not; in fact, it has declined. We want to put 100 more regulators, overseers, in this agency to keep an eye on this energy futures market to see if there is excessive speculation or even manipulation and do something about it.