CNBC anchor Joe Kernen faced off with President Joe Biden’s energy advisor Wednesday about U.S. oil companies planning to drill in Venezuela.
Kernen asked Amos Hochstein, the U.S. presidential energy coordinator, about how Chevron was granted a license by the Biden administration in November to pump oil in Venezuela. This was in an effort lower record-high energy prices. President Obama has repeatedly called on the United States to stop domestic drilling to make way for green energy transition.
Amos said that there is criticism that we are now talking to Chevron in Venezuela to increase supply, but that they have not increased it. I know you will say that we like oil companies and want them to produce. They’ve got 9,000 permits. It’s all I have heard. It was ten days before the president said it again. It’s hard to know. I don’t know what you do when you say it. Kernen stated that when he said that we would stop drilling domestically, it causes major oil producers not to want to invest long-term.
The adviser stated, “Eventually, we’re planning to phase out the use oil and gas–”
Kernen interrupted, “What would that look like?” Amos said, “You won’t want to invest money in this if it takes two, three, or five years.”
Kernen claimed that the U.S. will continue to rely on oil production for many decades. Hochstein said that oil companies must be able to produce enough oil to allow the economy to move away from fossil fuel dependence and lower the oil price for consumers.
Kernen then criticised Biden for failing to address domestic oil and EV production with oil firms or Tesla CEO Elon Musk. According to the adviser, the oil drilled in Chevron would be sold to American consumers and shipped to them. This will not benefit the Venezuelan regime.
“Is it quicker to get a payout in Venezuela than it takes to get one here, here’s what he does, he doesn’t invite Elon Musk to speak to him about EV’s, he doesn’t invite major oil companies to visit the White House to discuss increasing production. But we go to Venezuela. Kernen stated that these are the things critics would argue don’t make sense.
The adviser replied, “Joe! Let’s add some water to that.” “The Chevron license to Venezuela was an incentivist to kickstart the political process at Mexico City, which was a major breakthrough that we were able achieve through talks between the regime, opposition, and that took place on Friday. The Venezuela license is very small. It has very little production. However, some oil will be brought to the United States.
Kernen stated that the administration had contacted U.S. oil firms about expanding refineries for their products in order to lower costs. Kernen claimed that companies won’t invest in higher production if the administration aims to stop drilling.
Kernen stated that you can blame Putin for the rise in production, but then they can lower it at any moment, so it doesn’t make sense. Kernen said, “I don’t know if i’d invest money to try and increase production if they’re going to end drilling. He should stop repeating that. He only seems to be open to hearing one side of an argument, and not the other.
Despite the fact that the administration is putting more pressure upon companies to drill more, the president pledged to stop drilling at an event held in New York in November. Although the administration claims that there are 9,000 permits that companies have not used to drill on federal land and the industry has claimed that many of these permits are inactive or are in the middle of litigation, the administration has repeated this claim.