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What About This . . .?

By Wayne William Cipriano

Why Louisiana?  Why are we going to pump crude oil two thousand miles from the Canadian border to Louisiana across the entire United States?  Could it be not for the concentration of refineries there but for the presence of shipping facilities that allow the refined oil products to be more easily exported out of the United States?  You have to wonder why we don’t build refineries closer to the oil fields – you know – where the oil is?  (Yeah, I know, it’s the environmentalist-whacko-tree-huggers’ fault; it’s not the oil producers who desire easy shipping access to China, Japan and Europe).

If we built the refineries in a more centrally located area couldn’t we use the interstate highway system and tanker trucks, like we do now, and perhaps provide an impetus for railroads to improve roadbeds and increase service areas?  (Maybe we’d get some reliable passenger service out of them.)

And, while we are talking about this, I heard we produce 51% of the oil we use daily, and import 49%.  I would think that means we use all we produce and make up the 49% needed beyond that amount by purchasing foreign oil.

But, that could also mean we produce a lot more than 51% of what we use daily and export the rest, then import to make up for what we exported.  Sounds crazy, right?  However, with economies of scale, environmental impacts, oil depletion allowances, differing production costs and pricing variability, long-term contractual arrangements, and so on, business is business sometimes, even when it sounds weird.

In order to solve this alleged problem of our reliance on foreign suppliers for our energy needs, wouldn’t a rational first step be to find out exactly what we have, exactly what we produce and exactly where it goes?

Good luck with that!

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