Thoughts from Joe From Texas
Whenever Joe Biden talks about coal, oil, and gas (fossil fuels), it is almost always negative. He has been crystal clear that he wants to be rid of these because he believes they are dirty and are causing the climate to warm. If you are paying more for gas now than you were two years ago, are having problems paying your heating bills this year, or have been the victim of rolling power outages in the early part of winter because electric power providers are short of natural gas to power their plants…then you can thank Joe Biden. Joe From Texas believes Biden’s hostile policies, more than any other factors, are the primary cause of these problems.
Although the United States is blessed with abundant natural resources, including fossil fuels, our president does not see fit to effectively utilize these resources to help the American people. Whether Biden likes it or not, it is an indisputable fact that the U.S. and the rest of the world are dependent on fossil fuels to power our way of life. Although technological advances could change this over time, Joe From Texas believes the rush to phase out fossils fuels in the U.S. is causing unnecessary pain, especially for working families.
While Biden and the Democrats stick their heads in the sand regarding fossil fuels, many other countries in the world recognize the opportunity for a windfall. They understand that the incompetence of Biden to promote energy independence at home offers them an opportunity to make money selling their oil to the United States. They know that despite Biden’s wishful thinking, we need it. If you live in an area impacted by hurricanes, chances are that you have seen utility contractors head into an area “pre-storm” at the same time people are evacuating. They do this because there is a profit to be made from the impending disaster.
In a similar way, this is why many countries (including other North American countries) are ramping up oil and gas drilling at a predominantly double-digit rate. North American drilling, apart from the U.S., is expected to increase by over 16% this year, with double-digit growth in both Canada and Mexico. Projections are the same for South America (17.3%), Western Europe (12.6%), United Kingdom (16.2%), Eastern Europe (15.9%), Africa (16.3%), Middle East (15.2%), Far East (12.4%), and the South Pacific (8.1%). (Source: https://www.worldoil.com/magazine/2022/february-2022/special-focus/2022-forecast-activity-outside-north-america-will-lead-global-recovery/)
Much of the criticism of Biden regarding oil and gas has been for his restrictions on the sale of oil and gas leases. His war on fossil fuels has other indirect consequences that influence production in the United States though. After Biden was elected, U.S. oil companies stockpiled leases in anticipation that they would be, at the very least, much tougher to obtain in a Biden administration. However, partly because of Biden’s war on fossil fuels, companies are looking to maximize current profits over making the long-term investments required to quickly ramp up production. “Oil and gas companies do not want to drill more,” said Pavel Molchanov, an analyst at Raymond James. “They are under pressure from the financial community to pay more dividends, to do more share buybacks instead of the proverbial ‘drill baby drill,’ which is the way they would have done things 10 years ago. Corporate strategy has fundamentally changed.” (sources: https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2022/03/11/what-is-holding-back-us-oil-production/?sh=152bcfe6b6f6, , https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/02/energy/us-oil-production/index.html)
Although companies in the U.S. are expected to increase production in the coming year, this increase is not expected to come close to rivaling the double-digit increases in most of the world’s regions, as outlined above. When asked about production targets for the year during a January 2022 earnings call, ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods responded, “The primary objectives we’ve had in looking at the portfolio is less about volume and volume targets and more about the quality and profitability of the barrels that we’re producing. Because of the industry’s strong emphasis on capital discipline, reaching peak production (not drilling new wells) should be realistic in 2023, but not before then. The days of U.S. oil supply growing double digits on a sustainable basis are gone.” (Source: https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/02/energy/us-oil-production/index.html)
Joe From Texas believes Joe Biden and the Democrats have a lot to do with the industry’s new outlook on profitability over volume. Although Biden and the Democrats want to blame the oil companies for their new, cautious approach, it is their war on fossil fuels that has created a long-term uncertainty that has, at least in part, led the companies to take to this approach.
The funny thing is that climate change is said to be occurring worldwide, not just in the United States. Apparently, many countries around the world did not get this memo because they are ramping up oil production at incredible rates while Joe Biden continues to wage war on the industry as if the U.S. can single-handedly solve what he deems to be the problem
An even more interesting point is that while Biden wages war on oil at home, he went to other countries to beg them to increase production in 2022. Why? Pure politics. He believed that his party would be blamed for high gas prices in the midterm elections, so he wanted the oil supply increased to lower prices. The message that Joe From Texas took from this is that Joe Biden will go out of his way to try to fool Americans but, because of the out of touch environmentalists that make up much of his party, he will not do what it takes to really help the American people—seek to increase domestic production.
What is even worse is that Biden approached countries that are not exactly our staunchest allies in an effort to lower prices. In 2022, the Biden administration began talks with Venezuela, a country under U.S. sanctions that is run by a dictator who has impoverished a once wealthy nation. A New York Post story dated October 6, 2022, did a good job of outlining how Biden’s war on fossil fuels caused high prices before he and his staff realized that his administration would be blamed for these prices. “At first Team Biden celebrated these price increases, noting they would encourage consumers to use less energy and buy new, more efficient vehicles and appliances. Then somebody in the White House noticed that ‘consumers’ are also ‘voters,’ and with the midterm elections coming up, voters weren’t too happy about paying more for life’s necessities. With that Captain Obvious-level realization hitting home, the White House has been scrambling to bring prices down.”
The same article went on to state, “the Biden Administration is even ready to reduce sanctions on Venezuela to get more oil flowing. So, it’s desperate. But not desperate enough to undo the damage it’s done to the domestic oil industry, which is the first thing it’d do if it were serious. Why not? There are a lot of reasons. Greens, who dominate the Democrats, don’t like fossil fuels. But there’s no reason to think that Saudi, Russian, or Venezuelan oil is any better for the planet than American oil. It’s just a question of whether the money goes to Saudis, Russians, Venezuelans, or to Americans.” (source: https://nypost.com/2022/10/06/biden-hates-republicans-so-much-he-would-rather-give-oil-money-to-venezuela-and-saudi-arabia-than-texas/)
Biden also attempted to pressure Saudi Arabia and other OPEC+ countries to delay a planned cut in oil production. Saudi leaders viewed this attempt for what it was, an effort by Biden to head off bad news prior to an election and voted to slash production by 2 million barrels a day. It is worth stating again, Biden did not make this effort because he cares about the pain of high gas prices on the American people, he did it because he was worried that his party would be blamed for those high prices and suffer at the ballot box. (source: https://nypost.com/2022/10/11/biden-admin-begged-saudis-to-push-oil-cut-until-after-midterms-report/)
Parting thoughts from Joe From Texas
The main argument presented for the war on fossil fuels is their impact on climate change, a subject upon which Joe From Texas outlined his thoughts in another section of this website. For those who believe that climate change is a major problem, the question they must seek to answer is whether a cleaner form of energy that can perform as effectively as fossil fuels is readily available. If the answer is yes, shouldn’t we all know that by now?
In 2017, John Hopkins University hosted a panel discussion on the topic of whether universities should divest their investment portfolio holdings of fossil fuels. During that discussion, Rafael Castilla, director of investments at the University of Michigan’s Investment Office, put forth an argument that was rooted in common sense and hinted at an answer to the questions above. He said it is hypocritical to demonize fossil fuels when we all use them every day. “I took a plane over here, [which] burned jet fuel,” he said. “In the house I live in we burn natural gas.” He went on to state that, while there have certainly been some bad actors in the fossil fuel industry, divestment is a very simplistic approach to a very complicated problem. “I don’t know that this is a kind of Nancy Reagan-type of approach where all you have to do is ‘just say no.’ Sometimes I feel like the fossil fuel debate has that quality to it.” (source: https://hub.jhu.edu/2017/04/18/experts-talk-divestment-from-fossil-fuels/)
Alex Epstein serves as President of the Center for Industrial Progress (CIP) and is the author of a book titled The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels. As you can probably conclude from the title, Epstein believes that fossil fuels often get a bad wrap in our current society. On one portion of the CIP website, there is a link to a two-page summary of Epstein’s book. Although you may disagree with his conclusions, the last paragraph of the summary is compelling. It states, “If we truly look at fossil fuel energy by the standard of human flourishing, we discover that it is not an immoral product we need to restrict but a moral product we need to liberate--just as we need to liberate other persecuted sources of energy such as nuclear power and hydroelectric power. Our society’s lack of a clear, pro-human, full-context framework for thinking about energy is leading to disastrous, anti-fossil-fuel, antinuclear, anti-hydro policy decisions that are already harming millions and will harm billions.” (source: https://industrialprogress.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/MCFF-two_sheet_20170315.pdf)
Just as with almost any other issue, Joe From Texas believes that people with open minds, good intentions, and sincere hearts can find common ground on issues like fossil fuels and climate change. Unfortunately, as long as the politicians, many of whom have none of those qualities, are controlling the discussion about these things, a positive change is not likely to happen. However, if each of us is willing to engage the politicians on the issues, we have the ability to steer them toward reasonable solutions.
Joe From Texas started this website to promote common sense. He asks you to join him in making your voice heard by commenting on this site and regularly engaging your congressman and senators.