Thursday, April 27, 2006 10:38 p.m. EDT
China and a host of other oil-hungry nations will be tapping into huge offshore oil deposits a mere 50 miles from the United States while this nation is forced to endure rising gas prices as a result of record high demand for oil fueled by such countries as China and India.
According to Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, the U.S. energy sector has been "hamstrung" from seeking additional oil resources while at the same time allowing "the likes of China, Canada, Brazil, Spain, France and others to freely seek energy opportunities 50 miles off our coast without competition from state-of-the-art technologies and expertise of our own U.S. gas and oil industries."
In a speech on the Senate floor, Craig said that a February 2005 U.S. Geological Survey report described "a possible deposit in the North Cuba Basin estimated at 4.6 billion barrels of oil, and possibly as much as 9.3 billion barrels." He then reminded his colleagues "that estimates for Alaska National Wildlife Refuge range from 4 billion to 10 billion barrels."
So, he said, "The question must be asked: 'What is the U.S. doing while foreign companies and countries are exploring right off the U.S. coast in the North Cuba Basin, which is adjacent to the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf and contiguous with this country's Exclusive Economic Zone?' Well, I can firmly tell my colleagues that we are doing absolutely nothing. Not one single U.S. company is exploring in these potentially beneficial waters that extend to within 50 miles off the coast of Florida. So, we sit here watching China exploit a valuable resource within eyesight of the U.S. coast. I say -- not on my watch."
Craig added that he is "certain the American public would be shocked, as this country is trying to reduce our dependency on Middle East oil, that countries like China are realizing this energy resource."
China, which he said is the world's second-largest user of petroleum products "is using this area off our coast, and in Cuban national waters, as a strategic commodities reserve. It is doing this by acquiring exclusive rights in the emerging Cuban offshore oil sector -- thereby forever closing the door on those resources to the U.S. industry and drastically impacting our foreign policy in the region."
According to the Bush administration's "National Security Strategy," China is "expanding trade, but acting as if they can somehow lock up energy supplies around the world or seek to direct markets rather than opening them up."
A shocking report aired on the Lou Dobbs show Thursday night revealed that Cuba has not only allowed China to drill but also to service an old Soviet refinery in Cuba while U.S. companies are locked out of the game. The Dobbs report also revealed that Venezuela's Castroite president, Hugo Chavez, has offered Chinese oil firms operating rights in his country.
Craig wants to introduce legislation that will allow the United States to operate in these waters off our southern coast, adding that we cannot allow China to lock up a potentially lucrative oil supply for life in our own backyard.