Oil doesn't come out of the ground just because it is needed. Oil and gas drilling rigs are leased for the most part by companies exploring for said product, and there are just so many rigs available. There are hundreds of oil and gas leases unexplored because the available rigs are booked up out over the horizon, and new rigs can only be made so fast. Leasing companies have gone through several boom and bust cycles and are skeptical of the durability of the current bubble's ability to support a large increase in business. The current batch of equipment suppliers survived the tough times in careers with a lot of rigs rusting in the marshaling yards. There's nothing like a billion dollars worth of equipment marking time to make an impression on a young oil man. Figures aren't available for China, but all their rigs are being used for their own production. The situation is even worse for offshore equipment. Across the northern tier of Western states there are leases galore waiting to be drilled, but have to wait for years before it can be done.
Bubble profiteers love a panic, and with an election pushing the issue we have a perfect storm in the making. Should Bush rescind his ban on offshore exploration and drilling, or the congress make leases available in the ANWR nothing is going to happen for at least three years, and nothing significant for ten. Does anyone really think the bubble will last that long?
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