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  • Writer's pictureRobyn Spradlin

Energy: From a Consumer's Perspective

Earlier this week, we reported on Biden’s energy policies and canceling oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska’s Cook Inlet. In researching the topic of energy costs, I came across a couple of interesting articles I want to share with my audience. First, a press release validating the Gulf of Mexico as a premier “low carbon” basin, the second article on Carbon Leakage, and a third Overlapping Offshore Wind and Carbon Storage in the Gulf of Mexico. (Click the hyperlinks to read the articles.)

Photo credit: Zbynek Burival on Unsplash

From my understanding, the “green agenda” is to abolish the use of fossil fuels since carbon emissions are to blame for global warming. In their thinking, our consumption of coal, oil, and natural gas will cause the planet to self-destruct. In such a case, what would happen to all of us? I agree that the planet will be destroyed, but its connection to carbon emissions isn’t conclusively proven. Scripture records earth's destruction, but it doesn’t provide the cause outside of man’s sinful nature.

In a press release from November 2021, the National Oceans Industries Association (NOIA) commented that energy companies are making more decisions incorporating climate, ESG factors and producing oil from low carbon regions. The statement read in part, “the Gulf of Mexico provides an incredible value proposition in society’s efforts to tackle climate change while preserving jobs and economic growth and mitigating against inflationary energy prices.” The release continued that the Gulf of Mexico provided a “lower-carbon energy alternative to the oil used by foreign, higher emitting producers, like Russia and China.” It seems logical if oil production from the Gulf of Mexico provides a lower carbon alternative, why wouldn’t we want to use it? What is the point of purchasing oil for countries with higher carbon in the oil they produce?

The press release pointed out the benefits the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas industry provides. Many begin in the low-income, economically strapped urban areas with high-paying jobs and vital government revenues for conservation and recreation programs. The NOIA’s report emphasized that regardless of party, policymakers should embrace the Gulf of Mexico and recognize it as a national strategic energy asset stating, “Continued leasing is critical to our energy future; good decisions today will benefit America tomorrow.” However, the current leasing program ends June 30 and is without a replacement program.

The second article focused on “carbon leakage” due to restrictive policies. The report explained that while the Biden administration has decreased lease sales and increased royalties “signal fast action on energy transition,” those actions have consequences that can be global.

According to the Wood Mackenzie opinion piece, restricting production from the Gulf of Mexico specifically “could give rise to carbon leakage to countries that export crude to the US.” The article continued by targeting how carbon leakage occurs. When the U.S. transfers industrial production to areas with weaker emission standards, greenhouse gas emissions result. In other words, by not using the Gulf of Mexico and its premiere low-carbon rank, the U.S. is sabotaging itself on two fronts: energy costs rising and carbon emissions. If you can explain the rationale or sanity in this, help me understand.

The third article by S & P Global focused on “renewable energy” that’s looking for a home around the Gulf of Mexico. Off-shore wind and carbon storage have been tested in the North Sea – the shared body of water between the UK, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, France, and Germany. The North Sea is one of the most extensive offshore drilling operations globally. It is the home of “nearly 100% of Europe’s installed wind capacity” and “two out of four worldwide operating offshore carbon capture and storage (CCS) sites.”

One problem with this proposal, the Gulf of Mexico has no operating offshore wind or carbon capture storage (CCS). Representative Pete Stauber (R-MN) made a case for discussing implementing such infrastructure but denoted the risks and at what cost. The representative's comments begin at 14:54 and end at 20:14. The feasibility is there, but questions outweigh solutions.

I continue to wonder, why are we not using what the U.S. produces, with cleaner, better technology than other oil-producing countries? Where is the sanity in purchasing oil that will emit more carbon if less carbon is the goal? Why are we decreasing production ability where carbon emission is proven less? Are we trying to mess things up more than they are while saying we’re saving the day? It’s only food for thought. Everyone has an opinion – some based on error, some based on truth. Where’ your’s?

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