Saturday, September 24, 2005

GULPING GULF OIL

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By Elaine Meinel Supkis

They overshot their goals. The oil men. They wanted to put Bush in power so they could double or even triple their profits but Bush's bad luck and clumsy handling of the ship of state has brought unbelievable wealth into the hands of the oil sellers. All of them, the traders, the pumpers, the lease holders, the refiners and movers, all are unbelievably rich.

And they got dispensations and tax cuts, why, just two weeks ago, they got a big present from Bush's energy bill which shovels even more money into their maws.

From 40mpg Org:
Fed up with price gouging and federal inaction on energy, four out of five Americans - including 76 percent of Republicans -would support "a tax on the windfall profits of oil companies" if the resulting revenues were devoted to alternative energy research, according to a new Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) national opinion poll conducted for 40mpg.org (http://www.40mpg.org) and the nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute.

Other key survey findings include: nine out of 10 Americans (87 percent) think that oil companies are gouging gasoline consumers today; four out of five adults (81 percent, including 74 percent of Republicans) say the federal government is not doing enough about high energy prices and America's over-reliance on Middle Eastern oil; almost three out of four Americans (73 percent) believe that recent gasoline price hikes now make it more important that the federal government impose higher fuel-efficiency standards; and four out of five adults say that U.S. automakers should follow the same path as Toyota, which intends that "all of its new cars going forward will use fuel-saving hybrid technology."
Japan has no oil so this is not good, letting oil run up in price so fast. Russia sells oil abroad so they love the high prices. It is giving them a great boost. Ditto Iran.

But all is not well.From TV New Zealand:

More than 100 armed militants on Thursday stormed a US-operated oil platform in Nigeria, the world's eighth largest exporter, in response to the arrest of a militia leader.

Armed with assault rifles, fighters in speed boats invaded the Idama platform operated by Chevron in the southern Niger Delta, while in the capital a judge ordered Mujahid Dokubo-Asari to be held in jail for two weeks pending treason charges.

"Eight boats, each carrying 15 armed people, occupied the Idama flow station. Six government security forces had their weapons taken from them," a source close to Chevron said.

"Apparently the militants are now heading for more stations. The situation can only get worse."

Only 8,400 barrels per day were shut down at Idama, Chevron said, but industry officials said the impact could rise dramatically if the attacks spread.

Commanders of Asari's Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force (NDPVF) threatened to blow up oil facilities across the delta, which accounts for almost all of Nigeria's 2.4 million barrels per day production, unless their leader was released.

"We are going to blow up all flow stations and pipelines from Warri to Calabar if Asari is not back in 48 hours," said Dakuro Princewill, a NDPVF commander, in reference to the eastern and western extremities of the vast wetlands region.
Last month, in Equador, this same sort of thing was happening. It isn't happening in Venezuela because the oil there was captured by the populace so the oil companies can't pump at will and give them nothing like we are doing in Iraq, of all places.

More oil pipelines were blown up this week. This is never, ever, ever reported in the USA which is also why Robert Fiske isn't allowed to visit "the Land of the Free and the home of the brave." Now for really bad news, everyone. I will make this as clear as possible. From Le Monde, France:
"Le pétrole, c'est comme une petite amie, vous savez depuis le début de votre relation qu'elle vous quittera un jour, résume M. Birol. Pour qu'elle ne vous brise pas le coeur, mieux vaut la quitter avant qu'elle ne vous quitte." Aussi adresse-t-il un double message aux pays consommateurs, beaucoup plus ferme que dans le rapport annuel publié à l'automne 2004 : "Economisez l'énergie, économisez le pétrole ! Et diversifiez-vous, s'il vous plaît. Sortez du pétrole !"

Pour Claude Mandil, directeur exécutif de l'AIE, "il y a bien un problème si on se limite au pétrole conventionnel" . Il rappelle cependant que le brut non conventionnel (offshore profond, sables bitumineux du Canada, huiles lourdes du Venezuela...) offre des perspectives prometteuses. "Je ne suis pas alarmiste sur les ressources globales, poursuit-il, même si nous serons de plus en plus dépendants d'un nombre de pays de plus en plus réduit" , comme l'Arabie saoudite, l'Iran, l'Irak, le Koweït et les Emirats arabes unis. Le patron de l'AIE se dit en revanche "alarmiste sur le changement climatique" qui se profile.
OK, got the message? Pleeeease diversify energy systems! Use petrol more economically!

For non Frenchies, here is the English version: From Truthout:
"Oil is like a girlfriend - you know from the outset of your relationship that she'll leave you one day," Mr. Birol sums up. "So that she doesn't break your heart, it's better that you leave her before she leaves you." Thus he addresses a double message to consuming countries, one much firmer than that in the annual report published in the fall of 2004: "Economize on energy; economize on oil! And please diversify! Get out of oil!"

For Claude Mandil, Executive Director of the IEA, "there's certainly a problem if you limit yourself to conventional oil." He reminds us, however, that non-conventional oil (deep offshore, bituminous sands in Canada, heavy oils in Venezuela ...) offers promising perspectives. "I'm not alarmist about global resources," he continues, "even if we are more and more dependent on an ever more reduced number of countries," like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. On the other hand, the IEA boss characterizes himself as "alarmist about the climate change" that is shaping up."
I like it better in French. Of course, viewing oil as one's lover is better than viewing it like a pig looking at swill.

Now, our dear rulers, in between fucking with Girl Friend Olive Oyl, want us to not be restive natives so they watch and gage carefully just how much they can squeeze from us without us reacting unfavorably. This is a delicate operation. From the BBC:
Finance ministers from the Group of Seven leading industrialised nations are meeting in Washington to discuss the economic impact of high oil prices.
At about $66 a barrel, crude prices have risen more than 50% this year.

At Friday's meeting, they are also due to consider enlarging the group to take in major emerging economies such as China, Russia and India.
I would suggest the actual meetings will be very different. According to my Chinese news, China is going to be a "guest" at the meetings and will discuss the delicate relationship between Hu and his fickle mistress, Bush. Bush wants more money. Being a careless whore, he blew through all the money his sugar daddy gave him and now he needs much more.

He has oil. Lots of oil. China wants this oil to be cheap but not Russia. But China is willing to pay Russia more if Russia sells them military stuff but it is even better to get America to sell this military stuff. So many choices! Eeny meany miney moe.

From CNN:

About half that production still hasn't been restored since Katrina hit, and further damage is possible from high seas. So while oil futures were showing some relief, analysts said prices would stay volatile.

As was seen after Katrina, that energy shock could be felt across the full range of businesses and consumers.

Two major airlines, No. 3 Delta Air Lines and No. 4 Northwest Airlines, were forced to file for bankruptcy after Katrina sent jet fuel prices soaring.

And while analysts said they don't necessarily expect other major airlines to file bankruptcy they couldn't rule it out, especially if jet fuel prices stay high longer they did after Katrina.

But it's not just transport companies that will see problems from higher energy costs.

No. 1 aluminum maker Alcoa (Research) warned third-quarter earnings would be as much as 39 percent below Wall Street estimates on lower aluminum prices and higher energy and raw-material costs -- news that sent its stock skidding Friday.

The hit to earnings
And further earnings warnings are likely in coming weeks as companies start to close their books for the third quarter and look ahead to fourth quarter costs and revenue.

"All these companies are getting hit by (natural) gas," analyst Charles Bradford of Bradford Research/Soleil Securities told Reuters, speaking about the metals industry. "The problem is we know what they are getting hit by but it's impossible to put a number on because you don't know (about long-term fuel contracts)."
The snake has swallowed a goat and it will take a long time to pass through the digestive system.

Is this the beginning of the Hubbert Oil Peak?

I would say, not quite.

But we are rushing towards it! The snarly mess in Texas, the evacuation of a city using SUVs and pick up trucks, was a total farce. I saw Sen. Cronlyn crowing about how great it was, only a few dozen needless deaths...but this wasn't due to cleverness but to the fact that we don't know what is going on yet in many places because it is still a violent storm there, and the simple fact that the storm missed the city unlike Katrina! Duh.

Lady Luck rolls her dice and calls the shots yet again. The gas guzzlers made evacuation nearly impossible because they take up too much room per capita, they use up way too much gas, I can drive 40 miles per gallon while 90% of the vehicles I saw on the news were 15 mpg or less clunkers! And you can't use airconditioning when stuck in traffic or when trying to conserve gas to get somewhere.

This need to live inside a perfect bubble is creating the monster that is tearing out our shells from the outside! We can weave and dodge only so long before She delivers the knock out punches. As our cars became bigger and bigger bubbles, we expanded to fill them, growing very fat and inert. The more we move around with cars, the more we look like the bubble we live in.

When it is very hot, the act of turning on airconditioners makes the air fouler and fouler and it raises the outdoor temperature, go feel the air coming out of the exchanger that cools the air inside. Ouch.


We are in a race against time and in the end, we are doomed to lose unless we renounce living in a bubble. Maybe we should all live in tents..heh. I did, for years and years.

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