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Rockntractor
03-12-2012, 11:19 PM
Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:22pm EDT

* Obama, acknowledging pain of high gas prices, sees progress

* US oil imports down 1 million bpd last year - W.House report

* Republicans say president's policies a failure on gasoline

By Alister Bull

WASHINGTON, March 12 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama launched the most comprehensive defense to date of his energy policies on Monday, pushing back against election-year attacks from Republicans who say they are to blame for high gas prices that are eroding his popularity with voters.

Heralding a report on energy security showing a big drop in U.S. oil imports, Obama acknowledged pain at the pump that analysts fear could lift gasoline to $5 a gallon in some parts of the country and pose a threat his Nov. 6 bid for re-election.

"Today's high gas prices are a painful reminder that there's much more work to do to free ourselves from our dependence on foreign oil and take control of our energy future," Obama said in a statement on the energy report. "We have made progress."

The 20-page study, which highlighted rising domestic oil and gas production and Obama's steps to lift fuel efficiency, showed U.S. oil imports declined to 8.4 million barrels a day by the end of 2011, versus 11 million barrels a day in January 2009.

The White House said his policies were tackling a troubling topic for many Americans. This was underlined by a new Washington Post-ABC poll, which showed disapproval of Obama's handling of the economy increased to 59 percent, from 53 percent when the survey was taken last month.

Nearly two-thirds of those polled said they did not approve of his handling of the situation with gas prices.

Republicans complain that Obama has hobbled the energy industry with red tape and point to the administration's block on TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL oil pipeline project to support their contention that he is hostage to environmentalists in his political base.

"With this report, the president is celebrating his recipe for four or five dollar gas. Poll after poll shows Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of the president's work on gas prices," said Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress.

The price of gasoline at the pump has risen more than 12 cents to a national average of $3.81 a gallon in the past two weeks, according to the Lundberg Survey released on Sunday. The highest price, of $4.35 per gallon, was recorded in Los Angeles.

Analysts see no quick fixes to the challenge in the time remaining until the November election.

"There's nothing the president can do that's going to alleviate the gasoline price rise or reduce oil imports by another one million bpd," said Charles Ebinger, director of the energy security initiative at The Brookings Institution.

ELECTION HEADWIND

Rising gas prices could sap consumer spending and undermine economic confidence, which has been lifted by recent encouraging data that was capped on Friday by a better-than-expected February jobs report.

The economy, which is slowly recovering from a savage recession in 2008-2009 but is still hampered by an unemployment rate of 8.3 percent, is expected to be a decisive factor in whether Obama can manage to hold on to the White House for a second term.

Obama visited election battleground states North Carolina and Virginia last week to promote his message. He will speak at the White House on Monday with local television stations serving swing states, including Colorado, Nevada and Pennsylvania.

Oil prices have been buoyed by improving confidence in the outlook for the U.S. and world economy, as well as heightened concern of fresh military conflict in the Middle East amid warnings from Israel over Iran's nuclear program.

Eager to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, the White House report noted that net oil imports as a share of total U.S. consumption declined from 57 percent in 2008 to 45 percent in 2011, "the lowest level in 16 years."

Obama also has told his administration to look into possible manipulation in the oil market as well as evidence of price gouging at the pump, and has not ruled out tapping the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve to ease supply pressures.

"All options are at the table, because the president obviously feels the pain that the American people are facing with respect to gas prices," U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar told reporters during a White House briefing.

However, even a substantial release from reserves might not bring down pump prices.

"In the next six months, even drawing down the SPR as fast as possible, which I wouldn't advocate, is not going to see much impact," said Brookings' Ebinger.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/12/usa-energy-obama-idUSL2E8EC0VI20120312

Chuck58
03-13-2012, 12:29 AM
Sure he feels the pain, but not the pain of high fuel prices. His pain is poll numbers.

My wife's aunt lives in New England. Her heating oil bill when she filled up last month was $835. The tank lasts, I think she said, about 6 weeks or so. I grant that she's elderly and keeps the house very warm, but still costing about 3 grand to heat your house during a winter hurts.

As for gasoline and diesel, if we'd ratcheted up drilling 3 yrs ago, some of that oil would soon be coming on line - assuming we've got refinery capacity to handle it. King B Hussein has just blundered and made mistakes from day one. Hopefully, it will all come back and bite him hard in November.

Rockntractor
03-13-2012, 12:32 AM
As for gasoline and diesel, if we'd ratcheted up drilling 3 yrs ago, some of that oil would soon be coming on line - assuming we've got refinery capacity to handle it.
If they would open up and allow the companies to drill the drop in price would be immediate due to speculators.

Chuck58
03-13-2012, 12:42 AM
If they would open up and allow the companies to drill the drop in price would be immediate due to speculators.

Any bets that Keystone is approved along about Sept or Oct? I still think he's playing politics with it, waiting for what he thinks is the right moment.

Rockntractor
03-13-2012, 12:46 AM
Any bets that Keystone is approved along about Sept or Oct? I still think he's playing politics with it, waiting for what he thinks is the right moment.

Sure he'll do something like that and then if he got reelected he would change his mind and stop it, any investor worthy of the name would have to know better than to trust him.

Bailey
03-13-2012, 08:06 AM
Sure he feels the pain, but not the pain of high fuel prices. His pain is poll numbers.

My wife's aunt lives in New England. Her heating oil bill when she filled up last month was $835. The tank lasts, I think she said, about 6 weeks or so. I grant that she's elderly and keeps the house very warm, but still costing about 3 grand to heat your house during a winter hurts.

As for gasoline and diesel, if we'd ratcheted up drilling 3 yrs ago, some of that oil would soon be coming on line - assuming we've got refinery capacity to handle it. King B Hussein has just blundered and made mistakes from day one. Hopefully, it will all come back and bite him hard in November.

I love how the liberals say "even if we drilled in anwar it would take years to get that oil to the market" well dumbasses its been years and if we had started when we wanted to it wouldve been here by now.

Retread
03-18-2012, 04:54 PM
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar joined White House Press Secretary Jay Carney in the briefing room Monday to tout President Obama's energy policies and the increase in oil and gas production, but a new report from the Department of Energy (DOE), prepared in consultation with Interior officials undermines his claim.

"On federal lands and water, we have moved forward in the last three years with a 13-percent increase in oil and gas production," Salazar said, dismissing Republican claims that production on federal lands has dropped, even if private production has increased. "I would say that those attacks are simply wrong. The fact of the matter is that we are producing more from public lands, both oil and gas, both onshore as well as offshore, than at any time in recent memory."

The U.S. Energy Information Administration, the DOE entity which prepared the report, debunks Salazar's claim that production is the highest its been in recent memory. The report shows that crude oil production and natural gas production on Federal lands both fell between 2010 and 2011. In fact, federal lands produced less crude oil in fiscal 2011 than they did in fiscal 2003. Natural gas production on federal land also fell between 2010 and 2011...

Salazar's assertion that domestic oil and gas production is up 13 percent over three years appears to be correct, but it is also misleading, since it includes a fiscal year which was already one-third over when President Obama took office. Production of gas and oil on federal lands did increase from 2009 to 2010, but those gains were reversed the following year.

Joel Gehrke, Beltway Confidential
March 15, 2012