In a good post on the limits of what could be expected from opening the ANWR to oil exploration Dyre42 notes:
The one real benefit of drilling in ANWR would be significantly decreasing the amount of foreign oil we consume thereby decreasing the amount of money we pay to oil producing nations that support terrorism. That alone makes it an idea worth discussing
I don’t think that’s the greatest benefit that would result. Right now futures prices are increasing, i.e. expectations of increased oil production in the future are down. Opening the ANWR to exploration would constitute a powerful signal that could have implications disproportionately greater than the actual amount of oil involved.
The ANWR isn’t the only place we should be looking for more domestic oil. We should be doing more off-shore exploration and drilling. Right now the Cubans are pumping oil closer to our shores than we are in places. Oil fields being what they are that means that they’re pumping oil that we could be pumping ourselves. Somebody’s going to pump it and we might as well be the ones to get the revenues and the benefits.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think the federal government should subsidize oil exploration or production. As a general rule I don’t believe in corporate welfare. Regulate it; tax it; use the revenues to ameliorate negative externalities. Don’t ban it.
McClatchy hastens to deny that the Chinese are involved in Cuba’s oil exploration and production:
Why, ask some Republicans, should the United States be thwarted from drilling in its own territory when just 50 miles off the Florida coastline the Chinese government is drilling for oil under Cuban leases?
Yet no one can prove that the Chinese are drilling anywhere off Cuba’s shoreline. The China-Cuba connection is “akin to urban legend,” said Sen. Mel Martinez, a Republican from Florida who opposes drilling off the coast of his state but who backs exploration in ANWR.
“China is not drilling in Cuba’s Gulf of Mexico waters, period,” said Jorge Pinon, an energy fellow with the Center for Hemispheric Policy at the University of Miami and an expert in oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. Martinez cited Pinon’s research when he took to the Senate floor Wednesday to set the record straight.
Just for the record I’m not a Republican and I’ve never made the claim that the Chinese are drilling off Cuba’s shoreline. I don’t much care who is drilling in the shared U. S.-Cuban territorial waters. I just think that we are highly imprudent if we don’t do it, too.