Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Formula for Failure

By Alan Caruba

Oil producing nations such as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, along with Venezuela, will grow rich while Americans will be faced with high costs for gasoline, motor and heating oil, and everything else that depends on oil such as asphalt or even Vaseline.

Meanwhile, oil producers in America, large and small, will take a financial beating. If you don’t like living in a modern, advanced and industrialized society, you will favor this. If you think Americans consume too much, drive too much, and deserve to be punished for it, you will favor this.

Recently, Barry Russell, the president of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, released a statement in which he said, “President Obama delivered a devastating blow to the American oil and natural gas industry by proposing an astonishing $30 billion tax increase (as part of his FY 2010 budget) on American energy producers, most of whom are small businesses.”

“Ninety percent of the oil and natural gas wells developed in the United States are done by small, independent businesses—not so called ‘Big Oil’—so tax increases hurt these companies most.” It also, of course, hurts any prospect for the discovery and production of new sources of oil and natural gas in America.

In a world where more oil and natural gas is required by developing nations such as India and China, the Obama administration proposes:

(1) A repeal of expensing of intangible drilling costs; a repeal of percentage depletion that allows for the depreciation of existing small, barely economic wells;

(2) A repeal of marginal well tax credit, a safety net for wells that produce small amounts of oil and gas that, collectively, supply almost 20% of the nation’s oil and 12% of its gas;

(3) A repeal of the enhanced oil recovery credit that allows industry to get more energy from wells that are depleted instead of drilling new wells;

(4) Increases the costs of geological and geophysical amortization costs involving the high cost of doing seismic and other high-tech surveys;

(5) An excise tax on Gulf of Mexico production;

(6) And a repeal of the manufacturing tax deduction, a provision given to every other American manufacturer and which allows independent oil and natural gas producers to put more money into new energy projects.

It is a plan to destroy the American oil and natural gas industry, and with it the nation’s economy.

Right now, however, the Obama administration has installed an “energy team” that is completely opposed to the development of any energy resources in America, from offshore and ANWR oil to coal mining or the construction of coal-fired plants to generate electricity. Coal currently produces 50% of the nation’s electricity.

Steven Chu, the Secretary of Energy, is on record saying, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” It is $8 a gallon there.

Ken Salazar, the Secretary of the Interior, the agency that administers energy leasing on federal lands and most offshore areas, has a long record of opposition to such leasing of oil, natural gas, and coal exploration and extraction. He has already nullified recently awarded leases for natural gas drilling in federal land in Utah. Salazar is responsible for legislation blocking the development of shale oil.

Obama’s science advisor, John Holdren, out-does Al Gore with predictions of global warming calamities. Back in the 1970s he was worrying whether mankind would survive the “threat of making the planet too cold.”

Meanwhile, Wall Street is watching investment drop like a stone as Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury, testifies that U.S. oil and natural gas producing companies should not receive federal subsidies in the form of tax breaks because their businesses contribute to global warming!

This attack on energy companies and access to energy resources in America is a formula for failure.


Alan Caruba said...

Attention fengfk2008

Your comment was received but the email was not translatable. It became a series of boxes and not letters in transmission. Perhaps it was in a language other than English? I regret I was unable to include it.

Brian G Valentine said...

Maybe Obama nominees don't pay their taxes because this goes to subsidize Oil Companies and that contributes to global warming.

Or something like that.

Are four years of Obama up yet? It seems like an eternity already.

Can we PLEASE get a candidate more appetizing than McCain next time?

Somebody must have told McCain to smile - which he is not used to doing. The worst advice he ever got I'm sure that his lunatic grin cost him the election

Alan Caruba said...

Brian, the trick is not to let Obama or his cohorts unhinge you from your wits.

There is reality and it is a nation of people in which millions have lost their jobs and more who will.

There were a million in the streets already to protest Obama and if you think people are going to have much faith in him as the economy falls apart, think again.

We are not the Roosevelt generation whose only news came from the radio, the Movietone News, and the newspapers. It's a whole new ballgame and the Messiah is due for a fall, but when we do not know for sure.

Brian G Valentine said...

I wouldn't become so distressed, Alan, if it weren't for the reality that once the means of production are gone, you don't get it back.

Here's a scenario for you, please kick my line of reasoning apart:

1. Obama's government puts such a high price on "pollution" that manufacurers just throw in the towel.

2. The Chinese buy up manufacturing properties at fire sale prices - because they're the only ones with money to spend anyway.

3. The US economy falters by one third or more, and the dollar isn't worth recycled toilet tissue.

4. The Chinese offer to re-start industry- on their terms, first step, get the pollution laws off the books.

5. The Chinese re-start industry, but now it is different. There are no such thing as unions, and furthermore, all workers wear grey loose fitting linen suits with Mandarin collars.

6. Cars go the way of the dinosaur, because oil is re-valued in Yen or the Euro. $150US = 1Euro.

Alan Caruba said...

Brian, as a professional writer, I would say that you have posited an interesting scenario, but I don't think the industrial and business interests in this nation will not push back.

As you know, the pay thousands for a host of lobbyists (government relations consultants) and lawyers and PR people to deal with the government no matter who is in charge. They give to various politicians and thus have some leverage there.

That is one reason I think "cap and trade" is DOA in Congress. As more polls show the public no longer believes the global warming hoax, the skids under CO2 as a pollutant get kicked out and that issue goes away eventually. In fact, in a recent poll, people rated global warming last among the issues that concerned them.

Democracy is a messy, often nasty affair. I don't think Obama, for all his narcissim, has any idea what he has unleashed.

We rid ourselves of Carter in one term and we will do the same for Obama.

Brian G Valentine said...

Well I admire your optimism, and as they say, American democracy can take violent swings and the pendulum still stays on the hinge.

Still, Carter was at least a second looie on a nucleah submarine and his thoughts were not completely psychotic,

whereas Obama apent his earlier years trying to figure out how to make the Black Panthers more in line with Che Guevarra's vision.

He never mastered that one and my hopes for him figuring out the art of executive government are low