Monday, June 26, 2006

Still Recovering

Today's Financial Times (registration required) carries a pertinent reminder that US oil and gas production still haven't recovered from the impact of last year's hurricanes, or the year before's, for that matter. We are in the 2006 season already, and it's anyone's guess whether another storm will set back repairs further. Even after all of the facilities--minus those that will never be rehabilitated--are back on line, our future vulnerability to this sort of event will remain high, and our present policies perpetuate this state.

Although I believe there's much scope for improved energy efficiency and alternative energy development, particularly at today's high prices, we must continue to develop new oil and gas reserves to replace those that are declining. This isn't about "drilling our way to independence," as the New York Times suggests, but about prudently managing our remaining resources in order to maximize their leverage on global market conditions, to our advantage. Simply put, we need to enlarge the box in which we've placed the offshore oil and gas industry, in order to slow the decline of US production and spread the risk of disruption from events such as Katrina over a much wider area, preferably including areas that are less hurricane-prone. Representative Pombo's bill to lift the federal ban on offshore drilling appears to be a good starting point.

The title of today's posting also applies to my own post-relocation situation. My office in our new Virginia home is piled high with boxes, and my fax/printer remains MIA. I hope to post on a more regular schedule this week, but I'll appreciate your patience if my comments seem briefer than usual.

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