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Cenk Uygur

Cenk Uygur

Posted: July 23, 2008 12:20 PM

If We Drill in the US, We Don't Get the Oil


One thing has been driving me crazy about this drilling debate -- everyone seems to assume that if we drill for oil in the US, that we will get the oil. And hence, we won't be dependent on foreign oil anymore. But we won't get anything, Exxon-Mobil will.

The oil that comes from that drilling will not be United States property (Republicans aren't suggesting we nationalize the oil companies, are they?). It will be the property of whichever oil company got the rights to that contract. They can then sell it to whoever they like -- and they will. They will sell it on the world market, so the Chinese will have just as much access to the oil that comes out of the coast of Florida as we will.

The Democrats have done a decent job of beating back the argument that this will effect prices in the short run, or even in the long run. But no one has addressed the point above. The Republicans make it seem like we won't be dependent on foreign oil -- and that prices will go down in the US -- if we have our own oil. But it won't be ours. And it will be sold on the world market, so its effect on global oil prices will be even smaller.

When we ask the question of whether there should be drilling off the coast of Florida or in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, we should ask the question this way -- would you be comfortable with the Chinese or the Germans or Russians or the Saudis drilling on American land? Because for all intents and purposes, they will be.

Large multi-national firms like Exxon-Mobil are not US property. They sell to the world and their allegiance is to corporate profits. So, when they drill, they drill for the whole world, not just us. Some might find that heart-warming, but it certainly has nothing to do with the US having more oil or lower prices.

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