Thursday, June 12, 2008

No Drilling. No New Refineries. Get a Horse!

By Alan Caruba

I keep wondering how long it will take Americans to connect the dots and figure out why the most powerful economy the world has ever seen cannot manage to drill for oil in its own backyard and then get it refined nearby.

The news on June 10, if anyone was paying attention, was about the way the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups were able to thwart the plans of ConocoPhillips to expand its refinery in Roxana, Illinois. An appeal to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was upheld because, said the EPA, its air permit, previously granted, just did not meet all the excruciating requirements involved.

For the record, ConocoPhillips was and is prepared to invest an estimated $1 billion to add a second coker, otherwise known as a crude oil processor. The company wants to expand in order to process Canadian tar sands oil. These days it refines approximately 306,000 barrels of oil per day to produce gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, asphalt and other products.

This explains in part why ExxonMobil has just announced it will sell off its gas stations because the real money is made “upstream” as they say in the oil industry. The profits from the “downstream”, in this case at the pump, are so small as to be a drag on earnings.

All those members of Congress that want to punish the oil companies for making a profit should check the balance sheet. From 2003 to 2007, ExxonMobil paid taxes (in all forms) in the amount of $64.7 billion. This actually exceeded its U.S. earnings by more than $19 billion! You do the math. Exploration, discovery, and drilling are where the money is. Wisely, this company has diversified into chemicals and a variety of petroleum related products.

Meanwhile, the only thing that the Greens are pumping is more hot air about global warming. According to the Sierra Club, “climate change is decimating many species” and pushing Congress to pass the Global Warming Wildlife Survival Act. Another name for it might as well be the “Do Not Drill for Oil, Mine for Coal, and Build a Pipeline for Natural Gas Act.” The world is not running out of polar bears, but Americans who have to pay $4 plus for a gallon of gasoline are beginning—at last—to run out of patience.

Over at Friends of the Earth, they are very annoyed that America’s high school students studying civics might read a new textbook that raises questions about global warming and/or climate change, based on real science, not the lies they and other Greens have been putting out for decades. FOE is currently flogging something they call “climate equity.” According to them, “The next President must acknowledge that the U.S. has contributed more global warming pollution to our atmosphere than any other nation.”

Oh yeah? What about those coal-fired plants that China can’t build fast enough to provide electricity? Or comparable efforts in India to meet the needs of a growing economy? In the end, the Greens are utterly opposed to any development, i.e., modernization, anywhere and they don’t care how many lies they have to tell.

Actually, they don’t have to worry that much. The next President will either be a Democrat who wants to further destroy what’s left of the oil industry in America or a Republican who believes global warming is real.

The Greens here in America don’t want you to drive your car, your truck, your tractor or that big Harley-Davidson hog. They don’t want any oil company to drill for oil anywhere on or offshore of America. They don’t want any new refineries built.

In short, get a horse!


Unknown said...

There are lots of things USA could do instead of just expect the world to increase oil production to meet American demand. But Americans prefer to blame the World for not offering cheap oil for them. I think it's necessary to analyse the crisis from the demand side too in order to get the problems solved in the future. I have read in American newspapers a vigorous debate about gas prices, but rarely somebody suggests a change in American exaggerated driving habits. And we rarely see your urban populations demanding improvements in public transportation. I've seen recently in New York Times the list of the 10 best sold cars in America. None of then could be considered a compact car, so it's reasonable to think that Americans are mostly overspending fuel to move in their overcrowded cities. Maybe you Americans got used to that, but it's shocking for a foreigner teenagers going to the University driving a small trucks. Probably in these teenagers’ house each family member owns its own small truck to drive around blaming the soaring oil prices. So, I think you Americans could do a lot yourselves to solve the crisis, just by adapting your driving habits.

Phil said...

But Americans prefer to blame the World for not offering cheap oil for them.

Not true, Almir. At least 80% of us want our our Congress to let us get our own and become energy independent. But Congress is afraid of the environmental lobby.

Now I look around and see a glut of SUV's, but I think it's those people's problems. My car gets 36 mpg. I ride my bicycle to work at least 3 days a week. But that's my personal choice.

We Americans will figure something out. A lot of us think Congress suing oil producing countries for "obscene profits" is stupid and counterproductive.

Unfortunately we have a political class that hasn't woken up to what's going on. Yet.