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Gulf Oil Disaster: And the Winner Is?...the Oil Companies!

06/09/2010 10:18 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Everyone seems the loser from the Gulf Oil Spill with one exception -- the oil companies themselves, especially those with major production facilities onshore. The uncertainty of the governments policies toward offshore drilling and the 'temporary' moratorium that is shutting down dozens of offshore rigs pending further study is beginning to put serious upward pressure on oil prices. Today alone the price of oil has jumped near $2.00 per barrel.

Meanwhile, sitting there staring the government in the face, are 727 million barrels of oil in a filled-to-the-brim Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Sitting there while our oil world is navigating, perhaps better said stumbling, through an unparalleled disaster.

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve exists according to the Department of Energy's statement of purpose, "first and foremost, as an emergency response tool the President can use should the United States be confronted with an economically threatening disruption in oil supplies."

Duh!? If not now, then when?

Economically threatening? Can our precarious recovery, if it really exists, really survive another tax in the form of higher oil/gasoline prices at this time, on top of the enormous economic disruption along the Gulf Coast?

If the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is not put into play to balance out the distortions in oil prices resulting from the Gulf oil spill, what is the sense of the billions upon billions expended in purchasing and storing the oil in the first place? The SPR reserve should be drawn down at the very least until firm policies are formulated for future drilling and until we have a full accounting of the current damage incurred and a resolution of the spill now spewing forth.

Further enriching the oil companies through higher oil prices is not the answer and becomes a self inflicted wound given the insurance policy through the SPR bought and paid for in the billions to head off exactly this kind of economic threat.