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News Analysis Jun 13, 2022 7:40 PM EST

Biden calls for more drilling after pushing to shift economy away from fossil fuels

To help bring costs down, the Biden administration has called on US oil producers to ramp up drilling, but experts warn they can't simply flip a switch and return to pre-pandemic levels.

Biden calls for more drilling after pushing to shift economy away from fossil fuels
Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC

Gas prices have soared to unprecedented levels, with the national average sitting above $5 per gallon. This after the Biden administration has been shutting down US pipelines, and trying to shift the economy away from fossil fuels and onto renewable energies.

To help bring costs down, the Biden administration has called on US oil producers to ramp up drilling, but experts warn they can't simply flip a switch and return to pre-pandemic levels.

According to the Financial Times, the US has been able to climb up to 11.6 million barrels per day, but that still falls short of the 13 million barrels that was produced daily pre-pandemic.

This number is unlikely to change dramatically any time soon. As Rapidan Energy's Bob McNally points out, it is "almost impossible" to ramp up production "in a matter of months or quarters." He added that the Biden administration's request was akin to "asking for blood from a stone."

Nonetheless, even Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm urged producers to do more.

"That means you producing more right now, where and if you can," she said, warning that the US was on a "war footing."

As the FT reports, one of the main reasons behind resistance from oil producers is the desire to please shareholders, who have not seen the returns they were promised as companies pour resources into growth to fill the demand placed on them by the economy and government.

Another issue is the price of production, as supply chain problems and high input costs effectively make an overnight switch to more drilling impossible.

With the midterm elections coming up, Democrats are straying from their green energy first playbook by asking for more domestic oil production in an attempt to prevent more blame from being placed at Biden's feet.

"Fair or not, it's a problem for Biden as he is seen as the maestro of the economy even though there is truthfully not much any president can do to influence gas prices in real-time," said The Bipartisan Policy Center's Sasha Mackler.

The Biden administration has repeatedly blamed Putin for the rise in gas prices.

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