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They are not our friends

Posted: July 28, 2010 6:51 p.m.
Updated: July 29, 2010 12:42 p.m.

After reading a number of posts in The Signal, and seeing bumper stickers with any variation of “drill here, drill now,” it is clear there is a basic misunderstanding about oil drilling.

Oil, when found in U.S. waters or on public lands, belongs to the leaseholder (the oil company) — not us. We, as the owner of the land, are entitled to a royalty payment for each barrel extracted, but the oil itself belongs to the oil company.

Some countries, like Saudi Arabia, have a national oil company (Aramco) that owns the oil in partnership with the oil companies. Their interest is the controlling interest, which means in their case, they do own the oil.

It is also a misconception that oil found on U.S. soil, or in our waters, will be added to our supply. The bulk of the oil from Alaska goes to Japan. Oil found here will not be cheaper, because it will be sold at the going world price. We should remember that low oil prices are not in the interest of the owners of that oil, whether they are a country (Aramco) or the multinational companies (like Shell or BP). Their goal is to get the highest price for the longest period of time. I can’t fault them for their economic plan, but I don’t see any reason to aid them in accomplishing it.

The only way to bring oil prices down is to decrease demand. When we talk about sending “our” money to those who “hate us,” a large portion of that money goes to the multinationals. To them, we are just some rubes who are easy picking. The vast majority of the large oil companies are not based in the U.S.

Their interests are not to our benefit. They are not our friends.


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