ON ENERGY, US NEEDS LEADERSHIP, NOT DEMAGOGUERY

Bob Tippee
Editor

Extraordinarily high profits by oil and gas companies occur rarely and never last long. Energy mistakes by Congress happen frequently and hurt the US for years.

Oil companies are now reporting extraordinary profits for a period characterized by extreme commodity prices. Their reports are bringing out the worst in lawmakers.

Bills for a new windfall profit tax have been showing up all year from Democrats, for example. Now Republicans are joining the orgy of indignation.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) on Oct. 27 called for a hearing on the reasons energy prices are high.

"Americans are wondering what has happened to push [energy] costs through the roof," he said.

Does it really require a congressional hearing to understand why prices rose after two hurricanes shut in most production in the Gulf of Mexico and idled refineries on the Gulf Coast? Is the relationship between commodity prices and producer profits a mystery that anyone needs Congress to solve?

"If there are those who abuse the free enterprise system to advantage themselves and their businesses at the expense of all Americans, they ought to be exposed, and they ought to be ashamed," Frist said.

Good grief. Will America ever learn anything about energy when leaders behave this way?

Frist's call for yet another fruitless blamefest on energy prices came after House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) harrumphed: "We expect oil companies to do their part to ease the pain American families are feeling from high energy prices."

So why has Congress kept companies from leasing most federal acreage all these years? Why did Congress in July pass a bill certain to raise gasoline costs by mandating large amounts of ethanol and leaving refiners in legal jeopardy over methyl tertiary butyl ether?

The US has an energy crisis born of extraordinary storms, which caused extraordinary oil gas prices leading to extraordinary oil company profits.

Congress can only make matters worse by rushing to fabricate blame out of crisis market phenomena. With energy, the US needs less demagoguery and more leadership from Congress. As Frist and Hastert make clear, such leadership would be extraordinary indeed.

(Online Oct. 28, 2005; author's e-mail: bobt@ogjonline.com)

Related Articles

Industry group welcomes most UK budget moves

03/21/2014 Oil & Gas UK voiced support for all but one of several measures affecting the offshore producing industry announced in the UK government’s annu...

MARKET WATCH: Crude oil, gas futures prices slide entering spring

03/21/2014

The first day of spring in the northern hemisphere was marked by lower crude oil and natural gas futures prices.

API: Petroleum demand dips in February

03/21/2014 Total US petroleum deliveries, a measure of demand, fell 0.6% from February 2013 to average 18.5 million b/d last month, a 16-year low for the mont...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil for April tops $100/bbl

03/20/2014 Crude oil futures prices for the April contract climbed above $100/bbl on the New York market on Mar. 19, which analysts attributed to positive ind...

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected