“Russia’s aggression is costing us all and it’s no time for profiteering or price gouging,” Biden said Tuesday afternoon.
The next question is will Oklahoma oil companies ramp up production? KFOR spoke to the Oklahoma Petroleum Alliance and a local economist on the ways this Russian oil embargo will affect the Sooner State, as well as what things look like moving forward.
“The cure for low oil prices, is higher oil prices,” said Brook Simmons. President of the Oklahoma Petroleum Alliance. “The cure for higher oil prices is lower prices and what drives both of those is supply and demand drilling activity.”
A barrel of oil as of Tuesday is running over $120 per barrel. With gas prices rising with that, Simmons said Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry is recovering quickly from the lows of 2020.
“So, this recovery is good not only for the industry in Oklahoma, but it’s good for the taxpayers,” he said. “It’s good for anyone who cares about schools, roads, bridges and other state priorities.”
Oklahoma City University professor and economist Dr. Steve Agee said America has a steady supply of oil imports from Canada, the U.S. major supplier of oil with the Keystone pipeline, and in oil reserves. With that, the U.S. won’t struggle as much as other countries without Russian oil.
“We’re a lot more insulated in other countries in the world too,” Agee said. “Especially Western Europe, who are very reliant on the Russians to provide them with oil and natural gas.”
However, if you’re hoping Oklahoma will help drive down prices, three of the state’s largest oil producers told The Oklahoman they did not plan to ramp up production to offset current costs, something Agee said could help but will cost money and time.
“This isn’t something you can flip a switch and say, ‘Okay, we’re going to produce another million barrels of oil a day to get out there and drill those wells,’” Agee said. “If we get in there and drill new wells, spend a lot of new money, have to borrow that money in order to drill and complete those wells and then all of a sudden, six months from now, let’s suppose this crisis is over and oil markets go back to normal. Then they could have spent a whole lot of money and the price of oil may drop back down to $70 a barrel.”
Oil companies have been seeing record profits and the big winner right now appear to be their shareholders.
“Our members will operate responsibly, and they will do everything they can to make certain that they are not only producing a good product…but also returning those funds to the shareholders, the owners, which frequently are many Oklahomans,” Simmons said.
We reached out to Devon, Chesapeake and Continental for comment but have not received any statements from them. Dr. Agee said gas prices will continue to be affected by the fighting in Ukraine and he predicts gas prices will remain over $4 per gallon for the rest of the year.