Thursday, August 27, 2009

Environmentalist fantasies versus reality

Talking Turki On Oil
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY Posted Wednesday, August 26, 2009 4:20 PM PT
Energy: Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal warns that coming economic recovery means tighter oil supplies and higher prices. He's right to be appalled at the White House's inability to see the obvious.

As statesmen go, not many have seen more history, or correctly warned of more dangers, than Prince Turki al-Faisal, the formidable Saudi who's led the kingdom's intelligence and diplomacy in a long career. Few know oil as well as he does.
So it's worth thinking about when he looks at President Obama, considers his energy policy and sees "demagoguery."

No truck for political posturing.
In a piece in Foreign Policy this week, Prince Turki warned that economic recovery is coming, and high oil prices will return with it. Nothing impresses him less than the White House's promises on its Web site to achieve "energy independence," as if switchgrass and wind would solve more problems than oil itself.
Prince Turki points out something important: Oil is and remains fundamental to the economies of the West. Placing faith in unproven alternatives, as the Obama administration does, won't address the shortages that will slam the U.S. soon.
He warns that energy independence won't happen, calling it "political posturing at its worst — a concept that is unrealistic, misguided, and ultimately harmful to energy-producing and consuming countries alike."
The prince is especially irate because he knew Saudi Arabia would get blamed when oil prices spiked. Saudis were pumping oil as best they could, he said, and America needed to be realistic in the face of soaring demand.
Saudi Arabia only ranks fourth among America's suppliers. It's dwarfed by America's reliance on petrotyrants, such as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. Chavez has trashed his oil industry to keep prices high, yet still ranks as America's No. 2 supplier.
Another problem, the prince rightly points out, is that the U.S. refuses to build more refineries. Refineries have shrunk from 324 in 1981 to a mere 141 now. More oil production won't be useful unless we can turn it into usable fuel.
Prince Turki of course is a Saudi, and his loyalties are there. We don't necessarily agree or endorse all he says. But he is right that U.S. oil independence isn't just around the corner, and that we need to pump more of our own oil to become energy secure.
The ban on domestic offshore drilling and the record government spending that has weakened the dollar will, over time, drive up oil prices. Just as with buying oil from petrotyrants and building more refineries, these problems can be solved.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration continues to put its head in the sand on energy, looking to fanciful "green" solutions instead of proven ones. The prince knows oil and economies. His warning that there's no substitute for oil is one we should heed.

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