Inkling, thanks for the diligence. Always appreciated. Q1'12 margins for Exxon, Chevron, Shell, BP and Chesapeake were: 7.62%, 10.66%, 7.04%, 6.12% and 8.87%, for an unweighted average amongst them of 8.06%. Fair enough, not "wildly" profitable, but still doing well - a good thing for jobs, and 401(k)'s. My point was only that paying "top dollar" for the leases is perfectly ok and fair as well.
I'm a little confused why you mentioned Nigeria in the same sentence as Canada, Mexico and Venezuela - it's in the Niger Delta in Africa, not in this hemisphere. Did I miss your point? In any event, the commodity is still largely fungible, even taking into account shipping costs, as the market price is driven by the global market.