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US advocate group starts grassroots campaign to limit foreign oil imports

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Panhandle Producers and Royalty Owners Association with other oil and gas supporters instituted a grassroots campaign aimed at limiting foreign imports. The plan requests that import quotas be established during the first 90 days of the next President’s administration. Exempt are Mexican and Canadian imports.

“American oil is competing against a cartel of government operators which has a stated initiative of driving an American industry out of business,” said Tom Cambridge, producer and campaign supporter.

The campaign, Panhandle Import Reduction Initiative, calls for quotas on oil phased over a set amount of time and has a 10% cap on imports.

The campaign spins from an assumption that Middle Eastern producers are flooding the market, trying to regain market share lost to U.S. operators. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, domestic production’s are expected to plunge 8 million barrels a day in 2017, down 1.5 million from 2015.

OPEC members again refuse to freeze production, giving domestic producers brainstorming power on regaining the market. “This is very appropriate, as OPEC and Russia and various countries met (in Doha recently) and decided they weren’t going to freeze oil and in fact, OPEC said they will increase production again,” said Cambridge. “This will drive the price down to $26 (a barrel) again. This is not a good thing for our country.”

Expert Dr. Daniel Fine was asked by producers to present details to lawmakers. Fine is Associate Director of the Center for Energy Policy at New Mexico Tech and an energy advisor to New Mexico Gov. Susanna Martinez. During a recent legislative hearing, Dr. Fine testified U.S increased production areas are now “the target of an oil price war between OPEC and Non-OPEC oil supply.” Within two years, oil prices declined more than $100 a barrel to a 12-year low of just under $30 a barrel, creating near halts’ to domestic activity.

Fine continues, “What happened at OPEC gives us today the only going strategy to deal with the oversupply (of oil). We have drawn the line in the sand and said ‘you have gone too far; we will not buy your oil. What we propose to the country and to the industry is a return to President Eisenhower in 1959, when he, by proclamation, established import quotas on foreign oil. We will take care of Canada, our hemispheric ally. But OPEC, no. We’re going to rigorously put quotas on the import of oil.”

Article written by HEI contributor Marcela Abarca.

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