The United States imports over half its oil because of a perceived shortage of oil. Factually, this has been a self-imposed shortage. The United States has an abundance of oil that can’t be accessed because of government regulations.
The United States pays foreign countries $300 billion annually for their oil. These payments are a drag on America’s economy.
Some of these countries are not friends of the United States. Venezuela, for example, is our third largest supplier of oil through the CITGO gasoline stations, and receives billions of our dollars. These dollars are being used by Venezuela to undermine our interests throughout South America.
Saudi Arabia, our fourth largest supplier of oil, also receives billions of dollars from the United States. Saudi Arabia is an ally, but has elements that have supported Islamic extremists in the past.
The quickest way to stop paying foreign countries for their oil is to drill for oil in the United States, including all areas of the outer continental shelf and ANWR.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management, Regulation and Enforcement (formerly Mineral Management Service) estimates there are 100 billion barrels of discovered and undiscovered oil in the outer continental shelf of the United States, which is in addition to 36 billion barrels of oil potentially available in Alaska.
This does not include possible oil discoveries in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. In 2006, Chevron discovered oil in the deep waters that could produce as much as 15 billion barrels of oil.
There are also huge oil reserves available from shale located in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. There are an estimated 1.8 trillion barrels (1,800 billion barrels) of oil locked in this shale, though not all of it could be extracted. (The liquid is actually kerogen that must be specially refined to produce oil.)
Currently, there is a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico that has put thousands of people out of work. Ending the moratorium could put thousands back to work.
Drilling in the outer continental shelf and in Alaska would create thousands of new jobs.
Oil companies pay royalties to the federal government when they produce oil and these royalties would help pay down our deficit.
The oil companies would also pay taxes to the states in whose waters they drill, and these tax dollars could pay for schools, teachers’ salaries and highway maintenance.
Drilling for oil would help cut off payments to foreign countries while producing tax revenues and jobs that are beneficial to the United States.