No #11

The Financial Daily - - ECON­OMY & CON­TIN­U­A­TION -

gas prices, point­ing to the slow pace of is­su­ing per­mits for new off­shore oil wells in the wake of last sum­mer's mas­sive Gulf of Mex­ico spill and an Obama-im­posed mora­to­rium on new deep-wa­ter ex­plo­ration.

The pres­i­dent struck back at that crit­i­cism Wed­nes­day, say­ing his ad­min­is­tra­tion has ap­proved 39 shal­low wa­ter drilling per­mits since new stan­dards were put in place last year, and seven new deep­wa­ter drilling per­mits in re­cent weeks.

"So any claim that my ad­min­is­tra­tion is re­spon­si­ble for gas prices be­cause we've shut down oil pro­duc­tion might make for a use­ful political sound bite, but doesn't track with re­al­ity," Obama said.

Obama said a sig­nif­i­cant part of his plans to cut U.S. oil im­ports would de­pend on fur­ther in­creases in do­mes­tic pro­duc­tion, and he pledged to de­velop new in­cen­tives for com­pa­nies to speed up oil and gas pro­duc­tion on cur­rent and fu­ture leases. An In­te­rior Depart­ment re­port re­leased Tues­day said more than two-thirds of off­shore leases in the Gulf of Mex­ico are sit­ting idle, nei­ther pro­duc­ing oil and gas nor be­ing ac­tively ex­plored by the com­pa­nies who hold the leases. The depart­ment said those leases could po­ten­tially hold more than 11 bil­lion bar­rels of oil and 50 tril­lion cu­bic feet of nat­u­ral gas. Even if Obama's ef­forts can re­duce U.S. de­mand for for­eign oil, ex­perts say that's un­likely to bring down the cost of gaso­line, since oil is priced glob­ally and in­creased de­mand from China and other de­vel­op­ing na­tions con­tin­ues to push prices up. A longer-term en­ergy strat­egy, he said, would also de­pend on boost­ing the use of al­ter­na­tive en­ergy sources, in­clud­ing nat­u­ral gas and bio­fu­els. "We have to dis­cover and pro­duce cleaner, re­new­able sources of en­ergy," Obama said. "And we have to do it quickly."

Obama called for the con­struc­tion of four new ad­vanced bio­fuel plants in the U.S. within the next two years. How­ever, ad­vanced bio­fu­els — fu­els made from non-food sources such as wood chips, switch grass or plant waste — are still in their in­fancy and can­not yet be made in amounts sim­i­lar to corn ethanol. Congress has di­rected more money to re­search and devel­op­ment of those fu­els in re­cent years as some crit­ics of corn ethanol have linked the di­ver­sion of corn for fuel to rising food prices. The pres­i­dent also or­dered gov­ern­ment agen­cies to en­sure that by 2015, all new ve­hi­cles they pur­chase are al­ter­na­tive-fuel ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing hy­brid and elec­tric. Obama has pre­vi­ously set a goal of putting 1 mil­lion elec­tric ve­hi­cles on U.S. roads by 2015.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.