“That is hilarious,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm laughingly responded to a question about her plans to increase American oil production.
On Nov. 5, she explained that oil is a “global market” controlled by OPEC, which has decided not to increase oil production.
Ms. Granholm was repeating President Biden, at the U.N. Global Climate conference, accusing Russia and OPEC of causing shortages and increases in the prices of gas and home heating before requesting them to increase their production.
Did this dubious negotiation tactic of accusing them before asking for a favor contribute to their response being crudely, but accurately, described as “giving the middle finger to Joe Biden” (The Five)? Or was it that just a year ago the U. S. was competing with them for exporting oil and gas to Europe while today “Americans are suffering under high gas prices and the steepest inflation in 30 years” (The Five)?
The Energy Department was created Aug. 4, 1977, after President Jimmy Carter was criticized for addressing the high home heating prices with “If you guys are cold in your house, put on a sweater.”
Ms. Granholm was previously a political commentator for CNN, governor of Michigan (2002-2011), a member of President Barack Obama’s transition team, and a writer at the University of California.
Deputy Secretary David Turk was appointed by President Barack Obama to be the deputy executive director of the International Energy Exchange, where he distributed the technology created by the U.S. energy companies to other countries to further clean air around the world.
President Donald Trump’s Energy Secretary Rick Perry, former governor of oil-producing Texas (2000-2015), eliminated 1,772 jobs and kept wage increases to 1%.
How is the Energy Department performing against its mission statement of “To ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.”
“Secure” means protected from danger or harm and “prosperity” means profitable. Ms. Granholm and President Biden are failing to ensure security or prosperity, asking Russia and OPEC to solve our shortages and price spikes.
How about the “energy, environmental and nuclear challenges?”
The government, businesses and individuals depend on the efficient availability of oil. President Biden reduced the supply of oil by stopping drilling on federal land.
President Biden, on Inauguration Day, shut down the Keystone, and since then some other pipelines, while removing President Trump’s blockage of a Russian pipeline.
While representing the Gulf Oil Co.’s refineries, I learned pipelines are the only feasible way to transport oil from refineries, where pipes are used to apply pressure and temperature to assist the cracking tower in separating the crude into various products, which are gathered on the various vertical platforms.
The lightest crude rises to the top and becomes fuel for airplanes. The heaviest drops to the bottom for use as asphalt.
The products in-between have a variety of uses from pharmaceuticals to plastics to coatings and, of course, fuel for vehicles.
I have thought that the variety of uses made oil too valuable to burn.
Shipping the products by pipelines is efficient and less dangerous to people and the environment. Pipelines are the most efficient, safest and environmentally friendly method to ship oil to markets as it is for natural gas. Solar and wind power are not sufficient. Nuclear has been shut down.
This year our leaders converted the success under last year’s leaders to a failure: why? If their reason was the environment: do they think the increased production they are asking Russia and OPEC to do will not impact the environment?
How about their mission of “transformative science and technology solutions?”
Private U.S. companies continue to transform the energy industry with technological solutions that lead the world in creating solutions, such as slant drilling, fracking, better drill bits, better drilling muds, improved catalyst for refining and other innovations to improve the energy industry’s safety and efficiency.
All research and development must be funded with money generated by profits: Cut the profits as this administration is doing and you cut the R&D.
Most of the profits come from exploration and production.
To help ensure America’s security and prosperity, the profits from U.S. companies are recycled in U.S. communities. Profits made by Russian and OPEC companies flow out of the U.S.
The Energy Department does not explore, find, drill; transport, refine or market oil or natural gas.
It does regulate the oil and gas industry, assisting states to do the same. While representing Gulf Oil after the creation of the Energy Department, I saw the regulations limiting the prices at the pump lead to a reduction in supply, and smaller drillers folded.
I counseled against cutting the supply to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, based on its importance to our security.
Today our president is discussing doing that. Since the Energy Department can either increase supply by decrease regulations, which it won’t do, or limit the price to consumers, which will decrease the supply as is happening today in the U.K.
The winds stopping in the North Sea is demonstrating a risk of relying on wind or solar power: You need a back-up.
Today their businesses and residents are dependent on natural gas to operate, heat and cook. Their regulators have not increased supply, but they have limited the amount of price increases that utilities can only implement twice a year.
The November increase of almost 50% was less than the increases in cost to the utilities, causing smaller ones to fold and larger ones to become unprofitable. If there is a cold winter, putting on a sweater may not be sufficient, and people may have to choose between heating and cooking. Already experts are questioning the adequacy of the maximum increases utilities can enact in April.
This year after this administration made the U.S. dependent on OPEC, according to Granholm, or Russia and OPEC, according to President Biden, only our enemies think it is “hilarious” while the cost of home heating oil has risen 42%, pump prices by $1.50 a gallon and the Producer Price Index (PPI) a decade high of 8.6% before being passed through to consumers, and the president is considering releasing reducing security by the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the question is: why an Energy Department?
Brent E Zepke is an attorney, arbitrator and author who lives in Santa Barbara. Formerly he taught at six universities and numerous professional conferences. He is the author of six books: “One Heart-Two Lives,” “Legal Guide to Human Resources,” “Business Statistics,” “Labor Law,” “Products and the Consumer” and “Law for Non-Lawyers.”