MALJAMAR — President Barack Obama arrived in the land of hammer-headed pump jacks and heavy-duty pickups late Wednesday to tell about 100 invited guests that his energy strategy includes oil and gas drilling on federal land.

"We're drilling all over the place," said Obama who, ignoring a chilling wind, spoke in rolled-up shirt sleeves at an outdoor podium for about 10 minutes.

The speech was delivered at a ConocoPhillips well site just outside this remote New Mexico town about halfway between Artesia and Lovington. The town was founded during an oil boom in the 1920s and the area is distinguished by the ubiquitous bobbing pump jacks that pull oil and gas out of the ground.

Obama said he is opening up millions of acres of federal land in 23 states for drilling onshore and will open up about 75 percent of the country's offshore resources.

That includes one area in the Gulf of Mexico that can produce as much as 400 million barrels of oil per day.

"We need to produce more oil here and across the country," Obama said. "I make this point so if you hear anybody on TV say we're against drilling for oil, they either don't know what they're talking about or they're not telling the truth."

Obama said his administration has quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs. "The problem is finding enough qualified truck drivers," he said.

He made what appeared to be a reference to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who, in his presidential campaign, has promised $2.


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50 a gallon gas. He said the president does not have that power because the price of oil is set on world markets.

Dean Acosta, global head of media relations for ConocoPhillips, said he would not discuss politics.

"We are aligned with the president when it comes to wanting energy security," Acosta said. "When there's more global supply, it's certainly good for the local economy."

Obama said that under his administration, "We're producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years."

The president also said it "doesn't make sense" to give $4 billion in annual subsidies to oil companies that are making record profits.

"We've been subsidizing them for 100 years," he said. "Instead of investing in profitable companies, let's invest in our future."

That future, Obama said, should include an "all-of-the-above" energy strategy for energy independence. In particular, he mentioned developing renewable energy solar, wind and biofuels and improving the fuel efficiency of vehicles.

"If we do nothing, every time there's instability in the Middle East, we will feel it at the pump, even if we're drilling here in New Mexico," he said. "In this country, we control our own destiny."

The last line elicited applause.

"We've got to develop every single source of American energy," he said.