Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Grilling Big Oil

By Alan Caruba

On Tuesday spokesmen for ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, and Royal Dutch Shell were summoned before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

There is no "global warming." It is a hoax based on totally discredited "science" and now subject to a $300 million propaganda campaign in the hope that people will continue to swallow the lies and permit Congress to pass legislation that will undermine the nation's economy still further.

They were attacked by the Committee Chairman, Ed Markey of Massachusetts (D), as being responsible for the rising cost of gasoline and other oil products. Unless he is a complete idiot, Rep. Markey should already know the answer, but the fact that he heads a committee on “energy independence” when the United States Congress has done everything in its power to insure that we can’t even access and extract our own energy sources, tells you what blatant hypocrisy is at work here.

If Rep. Markey had a scintilla of honesty left in his body, he would begin the hearings by noting that the combined worldwide oil reserves owned by all of these Big Oil companies amounts to just 4% of what is available and the rest is owned by nationalized companies in places like Venezuela, Mexico, Russia, and, of course, the Middle East in the form of the OPEC nations.

Grilling Big Oil, however, allows Rep. Markey and the rest of his colleagues in Congress to look like they are doing something about rising gasoline prices.

What they could do, but have refused, is to open a small section of ANWR in Alaska to oil extraction. The estimates of the untapped and unavailable oil that is known to exist ranges from ten to sixteen billion barrels. That’s the real definition of independence, but in fact no nation on Earth is or ever will be energy independent.

Not only has Congress refused to open ANWR to production, the Bush administration is entertaining the obscene notion of declaring polar bears and a variety of seal species as “endangered species”, thus putting off-limits to exploration and extraction yet more of Alaska and its offshore area where geologists believe there is yet another treasure trove of oil.

Congress might also consider opening up the 85% of the nation’s continental shelf to exploration and extraction of oil and natural gas that it has declared off-limits, but it refuses to do this. Meanwhile, China is exploring for oil just ninety miles off the coast of Florida, courtesy of Cuba.

The fact is there is no shortage of oil available in the world. The oil-producing countries would be happy to pump it and sell it, but there are the mercantile exchanges that set the price of oil as a global commodity and they are besieged by financial institutions that are driving up the cost by betting it will be even more expensive, buying “futures”, and praying the price will not go down.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has had its military in Iraq for five years after deposing Saddam Hussein and leaving that nation without a functioning government. Saddam had pretty much killed or driven out anyone who might be able to run the country on the theory they might want to assassinate him. Dictators worry about such things. So the amount of crude oil from Iraq to the global marketplace is far less than what flowed in former years.

Iran keeps saying horrid things like “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”, while working to develop nuclear weapons. This worries a lot of sensible people and, instead of making nice and pumping oil, Iran poses both a real and existential threat to the Gulf region, thus driving up the cost of oil in the event it gets attacked to prevent a nuclear holocaust. Its current long-range missiles can even hit Europe.

Africa, ever the home for corruption and inhumanity, is regularly convulsed by tribal warfare and similar disturbances, affecting the flow of oil out of places like Nigeria, a major producer.

But Ed Markey wants to blame Big Oil which has no control whatever over the price of oil and, no doubt, propose they be punished by finding ways to make the exploration, extraction, refining and transporting of oil even more expensive for them. This, I am sure, makes sense to him, but it just means less exploration, less extraction, less refining, and less gasoline at your local gas station.

Prices going up? Blame Congress!


Andy said...

So congress is acting on sentiment and not doing their homework and gathering the facts agian...

The truth is easy here. People love to point the finger at the person or company in which they pay the cash. Big Oil has been such an easy target for congressional hearings for that very reason. And like you said, it gives the ignorant-to-reality people something to credit to Reps like Mr.Markey(D).

Job security at its best.

Saildog said...

Great news Alan - your blog is climbing in popularity - fed by all the scintillating discussion.

So far you have got Andy and er... well you have Andy.

Alan Caruba said...

And now I have YOU!

Unknown said...

You have me too Mr. Caruba. I am not so sure though why "numbers" has any relavence to what is being said.

Its almost like the more people you can get to jump off a bridge the more sensible your plan of action is. Its always been funny to me.

Its also funny how climate concerned thinks you are irrelavent but yet makes a fuss over what you say.

If you are so irrellavent then why the need to say anything? Another funny thing people tend to do.