The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

U.S. Loans Billions to Mexico for Drilling

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted September 15, 2010

I've got an important question for anyone in the administration who's willing to comment on this blog: Can you explain why the U.S. government is loaning money to Mexico to drill in the Gulf while imposing a drilling moratorium here?

According to information first reported by CNSNews, the Export-Import Bank loaned the Mexican national oil company PEMEX $1 billion last fiscal year and plans to provide another $1 billion this fiscal year, unless Congress objects. About $600 million in 2009 was for drilling 18 wells in the Bay of Campeche in the southern Gulf of Mexico.

Apparently bank officials are presuming that the United States will benefit by importing a portion of PEMEX's new energy resources. This nation imports about 1.2 million barrels of oil per day from Mexico. Also, PEMEX reportedly agreed to purchase U.S. equipment and hire U.S. contractors in its search for new energy supplies.

Still, there is something perverse about paying a foreign country to drill--especially in the Gulf--when the U.S. government has imposed a de facto moratorium on drilling in the U.S. Gulf. In the past several weeks, only five new shallow-water drilling permits have been approved, and energy workers along the Gulf Coast are losing their jobs.

Further, Reuters reports that another drilling rig is leaving the Gulf to drill for energy elsewhere. The shallow-water rig Discoverer Americas is heading to Egypt where it will be working under contract to Norway's state-owned company Statoil.

Shouldn't the U.S. government support drilling for its own resources and invest the taxpayers' money here at home? There are thousands of U.S. workers who have the expertise, need the jobs, and are pleading for the opportunity to contribute to the wealth of this country by producing more domestic oil and natural gas. And there's no doubt that the United States could improve its energy security by relying on more of its own energy resources.

As the Rallies for Jobs illustrated, there are thousands of Americans who want jobs in the U.S. energy industry. Perhaps the government should be reminded that opportunity, like charity, should begin at home.