Although not necessarily what you think of when it comes to big oil, suppliers to extract and produce oil come in all sizes  – including family run businesses. Take William Whitefield, for instance, who runs “a family-owned company that now serves a host of national and international oil field, pipeline and industrial clients.”

He was one of about 60,000 attending last week’s Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas. The mood was one of uncertainty but that had nothing to do with the swine flu or anything else in Texas. It had much more to do with the policy debate taking place more than 1200 miles away in Washington, DC. In the midst of a cap and trade debate that would cap carbon dioxide, along with the Obama administration “sticking with a plan to raise about $5 billion over 10 years through a new excise tax on oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico out of its proposed fiscal 2010 budget”, there’s could be only trouble ahead for the oil and gas industries. What does this mean? As Whitefield explains,

Higher taxes on our energy industry also make it difficult for the U.S. to compete with global competitors, national oil companies in unstable regimes like Russia and Venezuela. The U.S. already imports 60 percent of its oil to meet our growing energy demands. Imposing new energy taxes on natural gas production would only make us less competitive, increasing that dubious reliance.

The ultimate effect of these legislative pitfalls would be an overall reduction in U.S. oil production. And smaller, supporting companies like mine and countless others nationwide would be the first to fall from this economic tourniquet.

On the other hand, by expanding offshore access and resisting the urge to penalize energy companies with unfair taxes, the 111th Congress and the Obama administration can stimulate investment in American industry, supply more work for local businesses, create jobs nationwide and secure a large part of our country’s energy future.”

And the businesses that do survive will pass their higher costs of operating to the consumer. When gas prices were reaching record hikes and President Obama was on the campaign trail appealing to the overwhelming public support for drilling, he said, “My interest is in making sure we’ve got the kind of comprehensive energy policy that can bring down gas prices.”

Increasing taxes on one of our most reliable sources of energy does not indicate this is true.

(Also offering comment at the OTC was Byron King of The Daily Reckoning, Tony Eriksen of The Oil Drum, Chris Welder at GetREALlist, Tim Hurst of Red, Green and Blue, Bruce McQuain of QandO, Alan Carl of Donklephant, Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit, JR Hoeft of Bearing Drift, Joy McCann of Little Miss Atilla, and Kevin Holtsberry from RedState)