I don’t often recommend movies, and certainly haven’t done so in this column. However, there are always exceptions. Mark Mathis, director of what will hopefully become a movie sensation, gave the folks in Midland and Odessa the opportunity to view his production of spOILed. I viewed spOILed on a Thursday afternoon at a 2:30 showing and was lucky to get a seat. The theater was a near sell-out, with a crowd that, as Mr. Mathis remarked in his introduction, made the experience something like “preaching to the choir.” Mark Mathis’ work was an excellent, objective analysis of the country’s and world’s need for affordable, efficient energy. It was impressive to see how Mathis, who is not a careerist in the oil and gas industry, reached undeniable conclusions on the woeful state of our nation’s energy policy and how we have managed to allow our country to become dependent on foreign sources of supply from governments that are fundamentally hostile to our way of life and government. As I recently heard a business analyst phrase it, our country can either obtain ethical oil (i.e., Canadian oil) or conflict oil (i.e., OPEC oil), but either way we have forced ourselves to rely on energy from other countries rather than produce energy reserves available in this country.
Several points from spOILed have resonated with me. The first is the sad state of affairs with our national political leaders who apparently see the country’s energy debate as nothing more than a platform to launch self promoting attacks against “Big Oil.” This was reminiscent of a recent ABC Evening News and Nightline report that originated here in Midland. After several other independent operators and I spent an afternoon laying out the situation we are faced with under the proposed endangered species listing of the Dune Sagebrush Lizard, the final report that came out over the evening news was a smug reference to “Big Oil versus the Lizard” (look it up on Youtube.com if you want to get your dander up). Funny, don’t remember Big Oil being anywhere around, and if they had been, what difference does that make?
Another interesting point was the heavy influence New Mexico politicians have had on national energy policy. PBPA has been fairly active in New Mexico oil and gas issues and have seen a recent tangible turnaround in that state’s view toward the oil and gas industry during the term of Governor Martinez. However, in the past New Mexico would not be a state that I would trust with an effective and reasonable approach to the development of our country’s energy reserves. Due to failed policies implemented by past administrations, that state saw a dramatic decrease in its leading industry, oil and gas, while its Texas neighbor was setting new standards for creating a regulatory and legislative environment that promoted energy and job production. It would be a marked improvement if we saw more Texas politicians who understand the importance of our domestic oil and gas industry begin to take leadership positions in Washington politics.
A final point is that the solution to our energy crisis is so easily available, given the public and political will to allow it to happen. This country has vast reserves of hydrocarbons available for production—to the extent that the United States has a real opportunity to achieve energy independence. Our industry owes a huge debt of gratitude to Mr. Mathis and the others that have made this educational production available to the American public. If you haven’t seen spOILed please track it down and pass it around.