SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — This week crude oil prices hit a decade high. On Tuesday, the price of a barrel of crude oil hit $130.50. The all-time record was set in July 2008 at $147.27 a barrel. As of 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, the price per barrel was down more than $20 compared to Tuesday’s high.
Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced, "We're banning all imports of Russian oil and gas energy. That means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable in U.S. ports and the American people will deal another powerful blow to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's war machine."
Oil companies are using the ban on Russian oil as a way to push for more drilling at home in the U.S.
Kevin Slagle is a vice president at Western States Petroleum Association, which is a non-profit trade association that represents companies that account for the bulk of petroleum exploration, production, refining, transportation and marketing in the six western states of Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
Slagle said there are more than 1,000 oil permits in Sacramento waiting for approval. “If they were released, we could begin production on new wells, new sources of energy right away,” he said.
“Some of those could begin producing really in the next few months,” continued Slagle. “But this isn’t something that is years out. We could create more supply of California energy very quickly if given the chance.
However, during his State of the State address Tuesday evening, California Gov. Gavin Newsom indicated he was not in favor of more drilling.
“But I want to make this clear,” said Newsom, “at a time when we’ve been heating up and burning up, one thing we cannot do is repeat the mistakes of the past by embracing polluters, drilling even more oil — which only leads to even more extreme weather, more extreme drought and more wildfire.”
Newsom continued by stating that wildfires wiping communities off the map like Greenville, Paradise and Grizzly Flats is evidence another solution is needed.
At the federal level, Congressman Salud Carbajal of California’s 24th District agrees with Newsom.
“This crisis illustrates we need to do everything possible to wean ourselves off of dependence on fossil fuels and oil,” said Carbajal. “We need to double down and produce more renewable energy so that we don’t make in this situation again.”
Carbajal added that the rising price of oil is a combination of the Russian invasion, supply chain problems from the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation. The cost of more oil right now is the price the United States is paying to prevent sending troops on the ground to fight in Ukraine.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Association, the U.S. produces 18.61 million barrels of oil per day, 20% of the world’s oil. And the U.S. consumes 20.54 million barrels of oil per day, 20% of the world’s oil. Russia produces the third most oil per day at 10.5 million barrels. Russia is about 300,000 barrels per day behind second Saudi Arabia.