U.S. oil producer executives are slamming the Biden administration’s claims that they have “plenty of opportunities” to drill domestically, as “completely inaccurate” and a “flat-out lie.”
“We’ve basically tracked about 125 specific actions that this administration and the Democratic Congress have done to slow down or stop oil production in America,” said Tom Pyle, American Energy Alliance President. “He has an ‘America last’ energy policy.”
When NSC Strategic Communication Coordinator John Kirby was asked by Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy why President Biden “would rather let U.S. companies drill for oil in Venezuela than here in the U.S,” Kirby defended easing oil sanctions against Venezuela, and continued to say tout there are plenty of untapped opportunities for companies to drill in the U.S.
In the past week, the Treasury Department announced its decision to allow Chevron, based in California, to resume “limited” energy production in Venezuela after years-long sanctions that have dramatically blocked gas and oil profits that flow to Maduro’s government.
Kirby told Doocy that the way he framed the question was “not an accurate take on the president’s view.” Doocy responded that President Biden himself had only earlier this month said, “there is no more drilling.”
“There are plenty of opportunities for oil and gas companies to drill here in the United States,” said Kirby. “I’ll let Chevron speak for this particular issue of sanctions relief, but out expectation is it won’t be a lot of oil coming out of there. It will have to be shipped to the United States.”
Oil execs say White House’s statements don’t make sense
In response to Kirby’s statements, United Refining Company Chairman and CEO John Catsimatidis said the move “makes no sense at all,” after noting Canada is able to export an additional one million barrels of crude oil daily to the United States.
“Can anybody figure out why we are giving business to Venezuela? Who’s associated with China? Russia?” asked Catsimatidis. “Why are we giving them the business and not giving it to Canada?”
Catsimatidis also said was “puzzled” by the response of the White House to the issue. “While Washington needs checks and balances, I hope we have additional checks and balances now that it’ll be a Republican Congress at least,” said the CEO.
Pyle explained why the Biden administration might prefer to get oil from Venezuela, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia instead of New Mexico, Texas, or North Dakota. “He simply wants to placate his big donors who don’t want to see fossil fuels produced in this country. And meanwhile, we’re all hurting, and will continue to hurt under these policies.”
The president of the American Energy Alliance also warned about economic and environmental consequences of foreign oil sources.
“Production in Venezuela has decimated the industry, because of Maduro and his socialist policies. They don’t produce oil and gas as clean as we do here. Their oil is worse for the environment than our oil. It’s not about the climate. It’s about an agenda where they do not want these resources…in this country,” said Pyle.
Pyle also warned American jobs are likely to suffer, with a “crushing” impact from the outsourcing of jobs to Venezuela. “It’s not just the jobs in red states like Texas and Louisiana. Oil and gas industry — there’s caterers, there’s banks, there’s real estate agents,” said Pyle. “There’s folks in Minnesota who bring the sand over, the boots. It’s not just jobs in the industry, it’s jobs across the entire economy.”
The Biden administration’s decision is the most recent step in the softening of hostile relations between the Venezuelan and U.S. governments. It comes weeks after a significant prisoner swap in which Venezuela freed seven Americans that were imprisoned in exchange for the U.S.’s release of two nephews of Maduro’s wife.