Long time commenter on this blog Road Dawg asked me privately what I thought about our nation's drilling policy, because I had never really addressed it on these pages. The fact is that I had always thought that we couldn't drill enough to have a significant impact on the price of oil world wide. As a result, even though I didn't personally believe the drilling restrictions we've suffered for decades were appropriate I didn't think it was a worthy issue, because it just made our side look insensitive to the environment but didn't change the price of oil anyway.
I still believe that our own drilling won't have much effect on prices, but it has become clear that I was missing something more important. Jobs. Drilling in North Dakota and the impact of the Keystone XL pipeline, if it were built, means jobs for Americans. It was a mistake on my part not to acknowledge that part of the equation, especially when unemployment really took off in 2009. Further, I might even be wrong about the economic impact. It seems that all of the natural gas we are bringing up out of the ground is having a huge impact on its price.
So I have to give props to Mr. 'Dawg on this, and thank him for pushing me on the issue. Now let's drill baby.
Shale oil in the U.S. can be a huge source of new jobs. Steel mills and chemical plants and maybe a million jobs could be created from a boom in drilling for this type of oil. See Industry Week.