July 17, 2011

Obama risks American energy security (again)

With the world's third largest proven oil reserves, Canada is already the United States' largest supplier of oil.  Oil in Canada is safe, accessible by private enterprise, unlike most oil around the world, and Canada is more than friendly with the United States.  Ramping up oil production dramatically over the next 15 years, Canada is doing what the Obama administration is refusing to do, and is on it's way to becoming an energy superpower.  But along with that extra supply, new demand is needed, and Canada is increasingly looking east for another buyer, as the Obama administration drags its feet on purchasing more oil from its neighbor, instead looking to Brazil, and in the process risking increased reliance on an unstable Middle East.
Canada is looking at building two supply pipelines from the oil-rich province of Alberta to both the U.S. Gulf Coast refineries and to the pacific coast British Columbia ports for shipment to China:
In the northern reaches of Alberta lies a vast reserve of oil that the United States views as a pillar of its future energy needs.
China, with a growing appetite for oil that may one day surpass that of the United States, is ready to spend the dollars for a big piece of it.
The oil sands of this Canadian province are so plentiful that they will be able to serve both of the world's largest economies as production expands in the coming years. But that will mean building at least two pipelines, one south to the Texas Gulf Coast and another west toward the Pacific, and that in turn means fresh environmental battles on top of those already raging over the costly and energy-intensive method of extracting oil from sand.
While China is busy securing resources, companies like Exxon Mobile are not simply sitting on their hands. They are eager to participate. However, the pipelines require environmental impact assessments in both countries. In Canada they are already underway. China is almost certainly not doing one, nor is there much required - they'll be receiving theirs from supertankers and mainland China will see no real impact. In the United States however, it seems like the administration is in no hurry to make an assessment. That's consistent with the Obama administration's offshore drilling feet-dragging and the desire to buy from Brazil (especially after the $2 billion George Soros investment there).

The reason?  Environmentalism.  Blame Al Gore.
The oil reserves are Mideast-sized, the source friendly, and the drills grind into dry land, not blue water.

So what's holding up a pipeline to bring all this Canadian supply down to us?

Just the U.S. State Department, says Rick Manning, communications chief at Americans for Limited Government, a Washington think tank.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's foreign affairs bunch has been "sitting on the approval of a pipeline for more than three years," he writes.

Why on earth? Because environmental groups don't want Alberta's oil sands developed, according to Manning.

"They believe getting the oil out of the ground will cause increased greenhouse gas emissions." And naturally the Obama administration snaps to attention. Environmentalists speaking! The save-the-world lobby opposes a Canada-U.S. pipeline, and that's it.

This is maddening from more than merely a supply viewpoint. What comes to mind when you think pipelines? Tons of steel tubing, right? Earthmovers to dig the long, long trench. And hardhat jobs galore. Talk about stimulus.

There's more, writes Manning in the NetRightDaily blog. We're not even saving Alberta's pay dirt from the evils of development with all this high-minded oilophobia. The Chinese are doing it.

China is investing billions to lay a pipeline "from these very fields to a Pacific Ocean port facility in British Columbia."
Unintended consequences galore, from blinkered policy makers. What are you thinking America? Your president is selling your future energy security out to environmentalists as a voting block, and the Chinese are taking full advantage.  Let's recap the results;

  • A close ally selling oil to a geo-political rival because they're willing to buy
  • More U.S. dependence on oil from an unstable Middle East, potentially funding anti-American activities
  • Future supply and price impacts
  • No impact on oil extraction environmentalism or the continued use of oil

Nice work.


  1. The truth to this article would be hard to deny.

  2. We won't drill in the Gulf of Mexico or allow pipelines from Canada. But we are going to give Brazil billions to drill off of their own coast and then buy the oil from them. Sounds logical. /sarc

  3. Bob - truthful, but too many run-on sentences. I'd like a do-over on this post.

    Otis - It's the ANWR-no-drilling logical model (i.e. none).


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