Fmr. Energy Sec.: Offshore Drilling Would Subject Crude Prices to Hurricane Whims

Former Energy Secretary Federico Pena said today that GOP proposals for more offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico could feed the fluctuation of oil prices worldwide, as hurricanes drive up prices when they threaten oil rigs.

"There are extra risks when you drill offshore, particularly in the gulf, with the seven to 10 hurricanes that hit the gulf each year," Pena said on a conference call with reporters organized by the Democratic National Committee. "Before they even strike the offshore platforms, world oil prices go up."

Once hurricanes hit oil rigs, Pena said, they disrupt the flow of oil and cause millions of dollars worth of damage to drilling infrastructure.

Pena was criticizing John McCain's energy policies, which include expanded offshore drilling, and pushing Barack Obama's energy platform on the call. Pena served as Energy secretary under President Bill Clinton.