"Drill, Baby, Drill": Fox Uses Libya Crisis To Push For More Drilling


On Fox & Friends, Brian Kilmeade and guest Jedediah Bila used the crisis in Libya to push for increased domestic oil drilling, when, in fact, this would not substantially affect gas and oil prices in the near future. This follows a pattern of Fox seizing on issues to advocate for more domestic drilling.

Fox Uses Libya Crisis To Call For More Drilling

During Discussion Of Libya, Human Events' Bila declares: "Drill Here. Drill Now. Drill, Baby, Drill." On the February 25, 2011, edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade opened a discussion on the Libyan crisis' effects on oil prices by saying:

KILMEADE: The turmoil in Libya we've been chronicling all show long sending prices soaring over $100 a barrel when it comes to oil before they ended the day at $96, which is unbelievable. So it is it time for the White House to step in to prevent another recession or the end of our recovery before that happens?

He then asked guest Jedediah Bila of Human Events, "Is it time to open up the reserves? Is it time to take actions and drill here, drill now?" Bila responded: "Drill here. Drill now. Drill, baby, drill." While Bila said that she didn't "think it's time to access those reserves," she stated that the Obama administration has been "lethal when it comes to drilling in the Gulf." [Fox News' Fox & Friends, 2/25/11]

Kilmeade Declares Drilling To Be "Perfect Mix To Get Jobs" and Be "Sovereign"; Bila Adds, "And Drill In ANWR." At the end of the Fox & Friends segment, after Kilmeade stated that "it seems like the perfect mix to get jobs and get sovereign would be to use our own oil," Bila stated, "And drill in ANWR [Arctic National Wildlife Refuge]." [Fox & Friends, 2/25/11]

Discussing Rising Gas And Oil Prices, Varney Asks, "Why Haven't We Heard Serious Cries Of, 'Get Out There And Drill For Our Own Oil?'" Discussing the situation in Libya and rising gas and oil prices on the February 24, 2011, edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson asked, "When is the argument going to start back here at home about domestic drilling?" Fox Business host Stuart Varney responded:

VARNEY: Good question. Why hasn't it started already? We've seen oil running up and running up, getting closer and closer to $100. Now it's crossed $100, gasoline is way beyond $3 a gallon -- $4 in parts of California. Why haven't we heard serious cries of, "Get out there and drill for our own oil?"

After Kilmeade asked if a "credible plan for domestic drilling" being offered by President Obama would affect oil prices, Varney stated, "No, not immediately. But it would have an effect down the road." [Fox & Friends, 2/24/11]

Experts, DOE Agree Domestic Off-Shore Drilling Won't Substantially Affect Oil, Gas Prices

AEI Scholar: "We Probably Couldn't Produce Enough To Affect The World Price Of Oil." The New York Times blog Greenwire quoted scholar Ken Green as saying that because crude oil is a global commodity, the U.S. "probably couldn't produce enough to affect the world price of oil." From the blog post:

If gas prices keep increasing, Republicans probably will make a push on increased fossil fuel production, said Ken Green, resident scholar with the American Enterprise Institute think tank.


But experts disagreed about how much impact additional drilling could have. Crude oil is a global commodity, Green said.

"The world price is the world price," Green said. "Even if we were producing 100 percent of our oil," he said, if prices increase because of a shortage in China or India, "our price would go up to the same thing.

"We probably couldn't produce enough to affect the world price of oil," Green added. "People don't understand that."

U.S. production could be negated by decisions that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries makes, said Philip Verleger Jr., energy economist, and David Mitchell EnCana, professor of management, at the University of Calgary's business school.

"Suppose the U.S. were to boost production 1 million barrels a day," Verleger said. "OPEC has the capacity to cut 1 million barrels."

The oil industry has been able to convince people there is a connection between U.S. drilling and prices, Verleger said. [Greenwire via NYTimes.com, 1/4/11]

PolitiFact: Experts Agree That Expanding Offshore Drilling "Would Have Little Effect At The Pump Any Time Soon." On December 1, 2010, PolitiFact evaluated Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's (D-FL) statement that a "5 percent increase in domestic production would increase the world supply by less than 1 percent and do almost nothing to our dependence on foreign oil. This would also have virtually no effect on the price of gas at the pump." PolitiFact began by referencing its June 2008 research, which fact-checked Sen. McCain's claims about offshore drilling during the 2008 campaign, and went on to rate Wasserman Schultz's claim "True":

The political momentum for offshore drilling has always risen and fallen along with gas prices. But while there are strong arguments that can be made in favor of offshore drilling, reducing the cost of gas "here and now" isn't one of them, according to oil experts and economists -- many of whom support the plan.

For starters, the lead time for oil exploration takes years. Even if offshore drilling areas opened up tomorrow, experts say it would take at least 10 years to realize any significant production. And even then, they say, the U.S. contribution to the overall global oil market would not be enough to make a significant dent in the price of gas.

"Drilling offshore to lower oil prices is like walking an extra 20 feet per day to lose weight," said David Sandalow, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and author of Freedom from Oil. "It's just not going to make much difference."


We ran Wasserman Schultz's claim by Jamie Webster, a senior consultant with PFC Energy, which tracks oil production and demand globally and whose clients are governments, including the United States., [sic] and oil and gas companies. We also heard from Daniel J. Weiss, who has written extensively about oil prices and policy and is a senior fellow and director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress, which describes itself as a progressive think tank. Both Webster and Weiss agreed with Wasserman Schultz.


Let's review: Wasserman Schultz's math adds up -- Gulf drilling does indeed represent about 5 percent of current domestic production, and a 5 percent increase would barely register in terms of the world supply. And the experts we found for this Truth-O-Meter as well as ones cited in the past about McCain's claim agree that expanding drilling now would have little effect at the pump any time soon. We rate this claim True. [PolitiFact.com, 6/17/08, 12/1/10]

DOE In 2009: Reinstating Offshore Drilling Ban Would Increase Prices By Merely 3 Cents Per Gallon. A 2009 report issued by the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) found that lifting drilling moratoria in the Atlantic and Pacific lower 48 OCS regions would increase "total domestic crude oil production" by "7.4 percent," which would prevent an estimated "3 cents per gallon" increase in gas prices at the pump. From the 2009 Annual Energy Outlook:

The U.S. offshore is estimated to contain substantial resources of both crude oil and natural gas, but until recently some of the areas of the lower 48 OCS have been under leasing moratoria [56]. The Presidential ban on offshore drilling in portions of the lower 48 OCS was lifted in July 2008, and the Congressional ban was allowed to expire in September 2008, removing regulatory obstacles to development of the Atlantic and Pacific OCS [57, 58].


To examine the potential impacts of reinstating the moratoria, an OCS limited case was developed for AEO2009. It is based on the AEO2009 reference case but assumes that access to the Atlantic, Pacific, and Eastern/Central Gulf of Mexico OCS will be limited again by reinstatement of the moratoria as they existed before July 2008. In the OCS limited case, technically recoverable resources in the OCS total 75 billion barrels of oil and 380 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The projections in the OCS limited case indicate that reinstatement of the moratoria would decrease domestic production of both oil and natural gas and increase their prices (Table 9). The impact on domestic crude oil production starts just before 2020 and increases through 2030. Cumulatively, domestic crude oil production from 2010 to 2030 is 4.2 percent lower in the OCS limited case than in the reference case. In 2030, lower 48 offshore crude oil production in the OCS limited case (2.2 million barrels per day) is 20.6 percent lower than in the reference case (2.7 million barrels per day), and total domestic crude oil production, at 6.8 million barrels per day, is 7.4 percent lower than in the reference case (Figure 13). In 2007, domestic crude oil production totaled 5.1 million barrels per day.

With limited access to the lower 48 OCS, U.S. dependence on imports increases, and there is a small increase in world oil prices. Oil import dependence in 2030 is 43.4 percent in the OCS limited case, as compared with 40.9 percent in the reference case, and the total annual cost of imported liquid fuels in 2030 is $403.4 billion, 7.1 percent higher than the projection of $376.6 billion in the reference case. The average price of imported low-sulfur crude oil in 2030 (in 2007 dollars) is $1.34 per barrel higher, and the average U.S. price of motor gasoline price is 3 cents per gallon higher, than in the reference case. [U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, accessed 2/25/11, emphasis added]

Bush Administration Energy Department: Additional Offshore Drilling "Would Not Have A Significant Impact" On Crude Oil Prices Before 2030. In 2007, a report from the Bush administration's EIA found that increased offshore drilling "would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030." The report also concluded that "[b]ecause oil prices are determined on the international market...any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant." From the report:

The projections in the OCS access case indicate that access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030. Leasing would begin no sooner than 2012, and production would not be expected to start before 2017. Total domestic production of crude oil from 2012 through 2030 in the OCS access case is projected to be 1.6 percent higher than in the reference case, and 3 percent higher in 2030 alone, at 5.6 million barrels per day. For the lower 48 OCS, annual crude oil production in 2030 is projected to be 7 percent higher--2.4 million barrels per day in the OCS access case compared with 2.2 million barrels per day in the reference case (Figure 20). Because oil prices are determined on the international market, however, any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant. [U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, accessed 2/25/11]

"Drill, Baby, Drill": A Constant Refrain On Fox

Palin: "We Still Need To Drill, Baby, Drill." During the June 12, 2010, edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends Saturday, Fox News contributor Sarah Palin appeared on the program to discuss offshore drilling. During her appearance, Palin stated that "[w]e still need to drill, baby, drill," despite the recent Gulf oil spill. [Fox News' Fox & Friends Saturday, 6/12/10]

Hannity: "[W]e Need To Drill, Baby, Drill." On the April 1, 2010, edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity said, "We've got the oil reserves in Alaska. We've got them off the coast of Florida. We've got them off the coast in California. We've got them in the Gulf. We know where the oil is. We don't need to explore, we need to drill, baby, drill." [Fox News' Hannity, 4/1/10]

Fox's Bolling On Gulf Oil Spill Disaster: "Drill Here, Drill Now ... Drill, Baby, Drill." During the April 30, 2010, edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Fox Business host Eric Bolling stated, "We need to drill here, drill now, and, hey: Drill, baby, drill." [Fox News' O'Reilly Factor, 4/30/10]

Fox & Friends: "Drill Baby Drill." On July 9, 2010, while discussing the Court of Appeals decision to lift the moratorium on drilling in the Gulf, Fox & Friends displayed a graphic stating, "Drill baby drill":

[Fox & Friends, 7/9/10]

Chyron: Drill baby drill

Fox Has Used Other Incidents To Call For More Drilling

Bolling, WSJ's Moore Use Egyptian Unrest To Shill For More Oil Drilling. On the February 2, 2011, edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck, guest host Bolling cited protests in Egypt and rising gas prices and asked The Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore, "What does that mean to American consumers?" During the discussion, Moore asked, "Why is it that we're not developing our own oil and natural gas resources?" Bolling later asked, "The thought of being able to drill more - what would that do to the price of oil?" and discussed his "case for drilling." [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 2/2/11]

Fox News Figures Respond To Gulf Oil Spill By Calling For More Drilling. As Media Matters noted, following the April 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, several Fox News hosts and contributors responded by calling for a continuation -- and in some instances, an expansion -- of offshore drilling. [Media Matters, 5/4/10]

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.