CNN: Oil companies not drilling in already leased offshore fields

While the debate about whether ending the federal ban on offshore oil drilling rages on, CNNMoney did this nice little bit of reporting:

Of the 90 million offshore acres the industry has leases to, mostly in the Gulf of Mexico, it is estimated that upwards of 70 million are not producing oil, according to both Democrats and oil-industry sources.

and…

But the oil industry says it pays millions of dollars for these leases, and that it would not make sense to purposely leave the areas untapped.

Rather, years of exploration is required before drilling can even begin. In some cases, no oil is found on leases they hold. In others, drilling the wells and building the pipelines takes years. It is especially hard now that a worldwide boom in oil exploration has pushed up the prices – and timelines – for skilled workers and specialized equipment.

Wait a minute… haven’t Republicans basically said, “End the ban, lower gasoline prices”?

Something isn’t jiving here.

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