Skip to main content

Editor's note: This is part III in a series on oil.Let me just say that this has been an interesting two weeks with this column.

First,

I wrote about

the emerging problem with the oil supply and potential fixes. I suggested that after talking to big ocean driller

Transocean

(RIG) - Get Transocean Ltd. Report

that we should begin the process to push Congress to lift the moratoria on Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) drilling.

After doing some painstaking due diligence, I found out that we may achieve oil independence in as little as a year, and as long as six years, depending on the location, depth and prior infrastructure.

Next,

I took the position

a step further. I contacted other drillers including another major offshore driller,

Diamond Offshore

(DO) - Get Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. Report

. Officers there confirmed the information I had developed during my discussions with Transocean. I have gone on record saying that I believe that these time frames are realistic and attainable.

Since those two columns ran, I have been bombarded with email requesting more information.

Last week, I had the good fortune to interview both Sarah Palin, the Republican governor of Alaska and Ed Rendell, the Democratic governor of Pennsylvania. Both are very important in the world of oil.

Scroll to Continue

TheStreet Recommends

Palin came out very much in favor of drilling the OCS and her state's own Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) territory in an effort to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. She agreed that the oil reserves of ANWR are in the 10 billion-barrel range. She recognizes the need for that oil if we are ever going to reduce our reliance on foreign producers.

She also agreed with my thesis that the infrastructure already in place in the Alaskan Pipeline could handle many, if not all, of those additional new barrels of production. That is a great point to understand. Many people would have you believe that an additional pipeline would have to be built to handle the additional flow. Not so, says she.

Then last Friday, I had the interview of my career with Rendell. He has been quoted as being open to the possibility of becoming the Secretary of Energy or Transportation for Sen. Barack Obama (D., Ill.) if Obama is elected to the White House in November.

I asked Rendell if he would be open to drilling the OCS. I wasn't surprised when he said that he would have to look at the risks and rewards before making a decision.

However, I was surprised when he stated that he thought it would take a long time to develop the oil fields of the OCS. I offered the information I had gathered and mentioned that I thought the time frame would be much shorter. The good news: Rendell agreed to look at the information I had compiled. This is important now and also if he is in the position to make decisions regarding drilling in the OCS in the future.

I have to give credit to these two governors. For a refreshing change, the party lines faded and solving the current oil crisis became more important than where they reside in the political landscape. Oil is the lifeblood of our economy.

It also happens to be the lifeblood of a number of other countries' economies. As the middle class grows in Asia and other emerging economies, demand for oil will continue. I only hope we have open-minded people like these two governors in place to make those tough decisions, such as drilling, exploring and producing our own supply of oil for our future.

As I was doing this research, I noticed a common theme. While the drillers are very confident they could get to the oil, they caution that the availability of rigs could slow the process. Obviously, they could move rigs in slow-producing wells in favor of higher-producing new wells, given the chance. That rang a bell in my head.

The theme kept recurring that the rig operators were very booked up. They had strong backlogs for future drilling. When I asked Diamond Offshore whether new rigs were being built, they told me that many companies in Korea and Singapore were in the process of building rigs for impending demand for drilling.

All this leads me to believe that even if oil were to drop off to level considered "cheap" now, say $100/bbl, these drillers would be doing business hand over fist. I have become a true believer in the drilling companies. Whether oil is $150, $100, whatever, we will be pushing our driller to their maximum capabilities. Their services will be in demand for a long time.

While I like all the drillers on shore or off, I think the opportunity lies with the offshore specialists for now. I think the OCS is the most likely to receive the green light to drill. The threat of losing the oil to adjacent countries like Cuba and Venezuela may inspire some in Congress to move faster there.

Transocean, Diamond Offshore and

Noble

(NE) - Get Noble Corporation Report

are the biggest offshore oil platform drilling service providers. They aren't overly expensive either with price-to-earnings ratios of 10, 20, and 13, respectively. And with the prospect of future rigs becoming available, any money they spend in purchasing these rigs will be money well spent (pardon that one).

After all, it is possible that China, through

China National Offshore Oil

(CEO) - Get CNOOC Ltd. Report

, is already either in production or through the lengthy process of accumulating data prior to dropping a drill into the ocean floor. If that is so -- which I wholeheartedly believe -- then we may choose to first lift the moratoria on OCS.

ANWR and western U.S. shale projects can follow. But we should consider getting started in our waters. Remember, Cuba sits 90 miles off the Florida coast, closer than the rigs would be if we open up our own OCS drilling rights. Also of concern: I learned that oil sits in cavernous wells spanning miles and miles.

The oil taken from legal Cuban wells may actually be sitting under our sovereign territory. This is alarming enough, let's just drill before there isn't any left to fight over.

As always......

Trade with your head, not over it.

Eric Bolling is a host on the new Fox Business Network. Bolling was one of the developers and original panelists (nicknamed "The Admiral") on CNBC's "Fast Money."

Bolling is an active trader specializing in commodities, resource trades and ETFs.

Bolling is a member of several exchanges including The New York Mercantile Exchange (NMX), The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) and The Commodity Exchange of New York.

After spending 5 years on the Board of Directors at the NYMEX, he became a strategic adviser to that Board of Directors where he assisted in bringing the company (NMX) public. He has been included in Trader Monthly Top 100 in 2005 and 2006. Bolling was the recipient of the Maybach Man of the Year Award in 2007 for his contribution of philanthropy and willingness to de-mystify investing to Main Street.

Bolling graduated from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida and was awarded a fellowship to Duke University. Bolling was an accomplished baseball player. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates where he played before his career was cut short due to injuries. He honors his baseball past by sporting the NYMEX trader badge, R.B.I.