EXCLUSIVE: A prominent Kansas businessman said oil producers like himself can’t easily turn back on the spigot to produce more domestic oil after more than a year under President Biden’s "bad" domestic and foreign policies.
Cecil O'Brate, CEO of American Warrior Oil, responded to Biden's speech Tuesday where he announced a ban on Russian oil imports and cautioned Americans against even higher gas prices, which he dubbed "Putin's price hike."
"President Biden, on day one of his presidency, made it his top priority to cripple American oil and gas producers," O'Brate, the longtime businessman, told FOX Business in an exclusive statement where he blamed Biden for the high gas prices. "His administration has axed progress on the Keystone pipeline, shut down leases on federal lands, encouraged Woke Wall Street to divest from fossil fuels, and installed absolute antagonists in leadership at Federal Reserve, the EPA and Department of Interior."
American Warrior Oil in Garden City, Kansas, is an oil producer with about 60 full-time employees. The company's production has been down in the last year due to trouble getting access to capital and finding workers.
O'Brate said getting America back to energy independence will take more than just lip service, but instead will require more energy-friendly policies from the administration and from banks.
"He’s reluctantly begging American oil and gas producers to turn the spigot back on," O'Brate said. "His plan B? To ask our anti-democracy foes – Venezuela, Iran and others – to fill in the hole he’s created. Americans can see his folly. U.S. was energy independent just two years ago. Move over, Biden, and let us do our job."
O'Brate was featured in a documentary called "Titans of Business" that aired on FOX Business last year. The film highlighted his journey from growing up in the Great Depression to becoming one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Kansas. O'Brate was inducted into the Kansas Business Hall of Fame in 2020.
On Tuesday, Biden announced he would ban Russian oil imports amid bipartisan pressure to cut off funding for Vladimir Putin's war with Ukraine. Biden blamed the skyrocketing gas prices on "Putin's price hike," and rejected any notion that his administration is hampering oil and gas production.
"It's simply not true that my administration or policies are holding back domestic energy production," Biden said Tuesday. "That's simply not true. Even amid the pandemic, companies in the United States pump more oil during my first year in office, than they did during my predecessor's first year. We're approaching record levels of oil and gas production in the United States."
Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., said Biden doesn't realize that it will take upwards of a year to get domestic oil booming again. Meanwhile, oil producers are having trouble getting access to more money, citing trouble with ESG scores, which stands for Environmental, Social and Governance ratings.
"The number one concern back home is banks won't loan money to them anymore," Marshall said of oil companies.
When Biden took office he implemented new oil and gas restrictions as part of his broader effort to address climate change and focus on renewable sources of energy. He canceled the Keystone XL pipeline that would have transported fossil fuel from Canada through the United States, and he froze new oil and gas leases on federal lands.
The White House was pressed Monday on whether the Biden administration would be open to potential oil deals with Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Iran as a way to stop the rising gas prices and replace Russian oil. White House press secretary Jen Psaki, however, signaled at the time that such talk of oil purchases was premature.