DRILLS 50 MILES FROM KEY WEST
By Jon Christian Ryter
July 26, 2006
If the United States decided to drill for oil 50 miles off the coast of China, we would be embroiled in WWIII overnight. Thanks to wacko environmentalist Congressmen and Senators using the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] to stymie drilling along the continental shelf of the United States, oil that rightfully belongs to American oil companies is now being drilled by Canada, Spain and Cuba�with help from both China and India. With only modest energy needs and no drilling expertise or money, Cuba's government-owned oil corporation, CubaPetroleo�with money and expertise from China's national oil company, Sinopec�is now "exercising its option" in the Straits of Florida. China, according to reports, is slant drilling. Slant drilling is what oil companies do when the oil they are trying to tap is on someone else's property. China will try to tap into reserves on the "American-side" of the Florida Straits that legally belongs to the United States in a 2-year renewable treaty negotiated with Cuba and signed by then-President Jimmy Carter in 1977.
Surveys done by the Department of the Interior suggest the outer banks of the Straits contain more than 115 billion barrels of oil and 633 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The oil reserves in the Florida Straits would cover America's oil and gas needs for approximately 16 years. The government of the United States and the Seven Sisters have been aware of the existence of these oil reserves for over two decades, yet they have all continued to insist there's a severe world oil shortage�as the price of crude continues to climb and oil storage facilities all over the world bulge from surpluses of crude the nation's refineries can't handle.
The Carter-Castro treaty drew an imaginary line through the middle of the Florida Straits, ceding all oil rights south of the line to Cuba and the balance to the United States. Cuba's drilling plans have been "on hold" for many years due to lack of financial resources�and fear of the United States. Being this close to the American coastline is seen as doubly beneficial to the Chinese since it now gives them "radar eyes" along the East Coast of the United States as well as their spy station at the former naval yard in Long Beach, California. Every two years, the treaty expires. Every president since Ronald Reagan has renewed it. I is important to keep in mind that, in the late 1970s, the treaty was largely one that protected a country's fishing rights. Today, the commercial interest is oil and natural gas.
George W. Bush renewed the treaty in December, 2005 against the strong objections of Sen. Bill Nelson [D-FL]. Nelson has proposed legislation that will prevent Cuba from drilling in the Florida Straits. The Nelson legislation would seek to prevent Cuba from producing energy within what is termed by the treaty as its own territorial waters in the southern Gulf of Mexico. "It's one thing for the distinguished senior Senator from Florida to focus his efforts on controlling and, in my view, undermining the national energy policy of the United States," Congressman John E. Peterson said in a press release. "As a US Senator that is, I suppose, his right. It's something altogether different for him to attempt to control the national energy policy of Cuba. It's simply a waste of effort." Peterson said that Nelson's latest gambit is tantamount to throwing a grenade into the fight over oil drilling rights off Florida's coastline. Peterson added that he didn't see how the United States could enforce a ban on Cuban drilling for oil or natural gas in the Florida Straits�particularly since Bush renewed the treaty last December.
And, where Nelson wants to block anyone from reaping the harvest of what appears to be the second largest oil reserve in the United States, Peterson wants to open drilling along the continental shelf and tap into the bonanza that he feels will solve the energy crisis in the United States. (Peterson is just one of a long list of Congressmen and Senators who don't understand that our energy "crisis" is a manufactured dilemma�created by the Seven Sisters and their oil allies in the Mideast, and fanned to crisis level by the environmental activists Big Oil funded. There is no oil shortage and never has been. There is a deliberate shortage of oil refineries in the United States, caused by EPA regulations that shut over 80% of them down during the Reagan-Bush and early Clinton years. The price of gasoline at the pumps is determined not by the amount of oil pumped from the ground, but the number of gallons of gasoline refined and delivered to the filling station down the street from your home. As long as shortages of refined gasoline exist, the price of oil will continue to rise�and so will the price you pay at the pump.)
The rapidly escalating price of crude at the wellhead�based on oil company maneuvering to manipulate prices rather than there being actual oil shortages�have now made deep sea drilling extremely profitable. Believing, or at least promulgating, the "peak oil" myth, half of the lawmakers in the US House and Senate are blocking any new oil exploration or the construction of any new refineries. The other half are complaining that America can no longer afford overly protective EPA regulations against offshore drilling, since high oil prices are now damaging the nation's economy. The Florida Straits treaty allows foreign oil companies to come within 50 to 90 miles of the American coastline to drill for a bonanza of oil that is second only to ANWR in sheer volume on the North American continent. In addition to oil, the area Carter ceded to Cuba contains up 232 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The oil and natural gas farmed from the Florida Straits by China and Cuba will not be sold to the United States. It will be sold to those nations who oppose the dictates and diplomacy of Washington and London.
At a recent trade conference in Mexico City, Cuban trade officials invited American drillers to bid on the oil leases they were selling to China, Canada and the European Union nations. However, the US-Cuba trade embargo prevented American businessmen from doing business with the Cubans�even drilling for oil and natural gas within the 200 nautical mile economic enterprise zone that legally belongs to the United States. Paying $2 thousand a head to attend the trade conference were executives from several American corporations including Exxon-Mobil and Valero Energy Corporation (the nation's largest oil refiner, which is now part of the Seven Sisters). Which, of course, explains why Bush renewed the Carter-Castro treaty.) If I was a betting man, my money would be on the Seven Sisters owning a piece of the Canadian or Old World drilling companies profiting in the Straits of Florida�which is why, up to this point, that the eco-alarmists have been quiet on the potential environmental damage to the coastline of Florida by the foreign drillers.
For the past decade Republicans in Congress tried to open the continental shelf for oil exploration. But the environmentalists from Florida and California, aided by lobbyists from the tourism industry, proved to be too much for the GOP controlled Congress. Both argued that potential oil spills would be devastating not only to the ecosystem but the tourist industry as well, and could cost the State hundreds of millions of dollars.
As a result, environmentalists, aided by liberals on both sides of the aisle, successfully legislated a national ban on new offshore drilling up to 100 miles. Even with perceived shortages of oil, legislators�pushed by environmentalists who were largely funded by the oil industry�are now urging Congress to extend the offshore drilling ban to 250 miles�which is 50 miles farther than they can legally go. According to the UN's Convention on the Law of the Sea, every nation with a seacoast has an "Exclusive Economic Zone." Under the Law of the Sea, every nation has the exclusive sovereign right to explore and exclusively exploit the natural resources in and under the sea within 200 nautical miles of their shoreline.
Cuba divided its side of the enterprise zone into 59 parcels which it is now leasing to oil-starved nations�all of whom now have the legal right to come within 50 to 100 miles of the American coast and drill for oil. Thus far, Cuba has sold only at least 16 leases. Those nations are now building deep sea platforms off the coast of the United States. Those who slant drill will be able to tap into oil reserves under sovereign American soil�or at least, under the North American continental shelf. Canada, which has been the recipient of Cuba's largess, is now drilling in the Florida Straits. Canada has been drilling off the shores of several northeastern States for several years. But drilling in the Florida Straits is like fishing in a barrel full of fish.
Canadian oil driller Sheritt International and Pebercan, Inc. are pumping approximately 20 thousand barrels of crude from offshore oil fields in the Strait about 90 miles from Key West. Spain's Repsol Oil Company recently announced that they struck "quality oil" in the same region.
When Cuba parceled its section of the economic enterprise zone, Sen. Larry Craig [R-ID] railed against letting the People's Republic of China drill for oil off the coast of the United States. Addressing his peers on the Senate floor, Craig said: "Red China should not be left to drill for oil within spitting distance of our shores without competition from US industries."
Peterson�who has already collected over 160 cosponsors for a bipartisan bill to open the coastal waters around the United States for natural gas development�said his fear "...is for the future of America. We have a natural gas crisis, and its the biggest threat we have to the American economy." Opponents of drilling in US coastal waters for either natural gas or oil argue that drilling poses environmental risks, and undermines long term conservation. They added that the modest amount of oil under the continental shelf around the United States won't impact gasoline prices in the United States because oil is traded on a world market. Proponents of ending the ban on drilling along the continental shelf said it is unfair to allow China and India to capture oil and gas so close to the US shoreline and that American companies not be allowed to compete.
Peterson's bill is only one of several dealing with opening the coastal waterways for oil and gas exploration. Congressman Richard Pombo [R-CA], Chairman of the House Resources Committee, plans to introduce a bill that will cede control of the first 125 miles of offshore water beyond the coastline to the States. Business executives, angered that Cuba and China are profiting from American gas and oil that we need, lobbied Congress for a repeal of the decades old regulation that prevents Americans from harvesting American oil and natural gas. John Paro, the CEO of CPH Holding Corporation, a petrochemical company in Chicago summed it up best: "It's such an easy fix. We have the supply. And, it's close. I just wish the public would recognize how easy this problem is to deal with."
And, me...I just wish the American public would recognize what the problem is�refining oil, not drilling oil. But, of course, we also need to regain oil and gas independence. The Seven Sisters have capped all exploration and exploitation of oil and natural gas in the continental United States because Mideast oil is cheaper. We have the oil. We have the natural gas. We need to tap into our own reserves and regain control not only of the supply, but the price. And, that is precisely what the Seven Sisters does not want to happen�America regaining control of the price of oil at the wellhead by building new refineries that are not controlled by Exxon-Mobil (Standard Oil's flagship), Chevron, BP-Amoco, Valero Energy or the other members of the transnational American oil cartel.
should be obvious to the environmentalists in Congress who have very
consciously hamstrung independent American drillers from exploiting
much needed natural gas and oil along the continental shelf in the Florida
Straits that banning American entrepreneurs from undersea drilling serves
no ecological purpose since 16 nations are already drilling within 50
to 150 miles of the American coastline. Only, the gas and oil they harvest
will not heat any US homes or fuel the cars on any US highway or byway.
� 2006 Jon C. Ryter - All Rights
[Read "Whatever Happened to America?"]
Jon Christian Ryter is the pseudonym of a former newspaper reporter with the Parkersburg, WV Sentinel. He authored a syndicated newspaper column, Answers From The Bible, from the mid-1970s until 1985. Answers From The Bible was read weekly in many suburban markets in the United States.
Today, Jon is an advertising executive with the Washington Times. His website, www.jonchristianryter.com has helped him establish a network of mid-to senior-level Washington insiders who now provide him with a steady stream of material for use both in his books and in the investigative reports that are found on his website.