Drill, baby, drill - but not just yet: America's oilmen are not racing to the nation's coastlines, rigs at the ready. For one thing, they think the recently lifted drilling moratorium ban may come back.
Chronicle energy reporter David Baker dug up this nugget of news at the Independent Petroleum Association of America annual conference in San Francisco on Monday. "We don't consider the lifting of the moratorium a done deal," said Bruce Vincent, vice chairman of the group that represents less-than-Chevron-size oil companies. "A new Congress and a new president could reinstate (it) at any time," said Vincent, who is president of Swift Energy Co. in Houston.
But the latest opinion polls aren't the only reason for going slow. Fact is, the federal government won't start selling offshore drilling leases in newly opened areas until at least 2011. Then there's the minor matter of the financial crunch. Credit is harder to get, especially as oil companies see their net worth shrink along with the drop in oil prices. "It will impact ... our ability to keep drilling," said Buddy Kleemeier, chairman of the IPAA and president of Kaiser Francis Oil Co. in Tulsa, Okla.
"I don't want you guys to think we're going to be in Santa Barbara in four months," said Barry Russell, the IPAA's president.http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/10/07/BUL713C93P.DTL