Former GOP senior strategist Kevin Phillips wrote the political Bible of the New Right, The Emerging Republican Majority. He coined the term "Sun Belt." He voted for Reagan twice and still considers himself a staunch Republican. But now Phillips, the author of a new book called American Theocracy, is warning that the party of George Bush and Karl Rove ("W brand Republicans," in the phrase of GOP pollster Jan van Lohuizen) has become "God's own party" -- the champion of a convergence of "petroleum-defined national security; a crusading, simplistic Christianity; and a reckless credit-feeding financial complex." Phillips also cautions that the W-brand party's "sense of how to win elections comes out of a CIA manual, not out of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution." [Phillips was also discussed here.]
US Army acknowledges "Peak Oil" - Jay Hanson has been beating the Peak Oil drum for years now. Well, "dieoff" scenarios aside, the US Army has now joined in : “The days of inexpensive, convenient, abundant energy sources are quickly drawing to a close". Indeed. "Mexico's giant Cantarell oilfield, which has financed government spending and held down U.S. gasoline prices for 20 years, is facing a production decline, a prospect that could heighten U.S. dependence on Middle East oil.". There's even a community discussion site on "Peak Oil"
Well, HELLO reality.
Well, HELLO reality.
Congressional Oil spokesman goes after Citgo. In Washington, Texas Republican Congressman Joe Barton (R-ExxonMobil) has launched an investigation into Citgo. But he is not investigating whether any of the oil giants are engaging in price gouging at a time when gasoline and heating oil casts are skyrocketing. Instead Barton has set his sights on the only oil company that actually dared to lower its prices last year - at least for the poorest Americans. Last week Barton demanded the Venezuelan-owned company Citgo produce all records, minutes, logs, e-mails and even desk calendars related to the company’s novel program of supplying discounted heating oil to low-income communities in the United States. The Citgo program, which began late last year in Massachusetts and the South Bronx, provides oil at discounts as high as 60% off market price.
The other religious riots. While much of the world's press has covered the Muslim cartoon riots, not nearly as much ink has been spilled over the continuing violence in Nigeria. A good analysis of underlying factors here. A Shell report points to oil as a proximate cause of violence as well. For oil companies, this may not be a bad thing. (If I was more interested in trolling, I'd have framed this as "Christian Leaders Fail to Condemn Religious Violence." The real world's a little more complex).
Zeitgeistfilter: Lumpen Leisure and Welcome to Middle-Class Lockdown... Now Shut Up and Buy Something -- two fine rants about our current state of disunion by James Howard Kuntsler, author of The Long Emergency (excerpt), and writer and Vietnam vet Joe Bageant. "All over but the keening for our soon-to-be-lost machine world," Kunstler predicts in The American Conservative, while Bageant taps the inner stream-of-unconsciousness for Dissident Voice: "Things cannot be as bad as the alarmists say. They cannot be as bad as I often suspect they are. If there really were such a thing as global warming they would be starting to do something about it. And besides, even if it were true, science will find a way to fix it. If there really were genocide going on in so many places far more people would be concerned... If the earth were heating up we would surely notice it. If our soldiers and government agencies were torturing people around the world it would make the news. If millions were being exterminated, it would be more obvious, would it not?" (Kunstler's book previously discussed here, Bageant here.)
Sweden to break oil addiction? (BBC article): Released in a in a public statement the Swedish Minister for Sustainable Development (!), Mona Sahlin, sets forth the goal of a Sweden free from the dependence of oil by 2020. As this Altnews article says, this is essentially just a reaffirmation of a stated goal. Still 2020, is not far off.
All Your Oil Are Belong To Us. Coming off of a recordbreaking profitable quarter, the good chaps at ExxonMobil laugh at your puny attempts to get off of oil.
Seeing Only Evil: An Interview with Retired CIA Agent Robert Baer, Author of See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War Against Terrorism.
One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally.
Iran may be trying to get nuclear weapons. In the process potentially starting a new war with Israel, fun times. America on the other hand isn't going to do all that much because Iran controls a large amount of the worlds oil, and with prices already high, they don't want to spark another oil crisis.
Iraq - All oil, no gas. A consortium of 34 Turkish companies have joined together to stop all exports of petrol / refined oil products to Iraq, because Iraq's government owes them over $1 billion that they have so far been unable to pay. Iraq's largest refinery was forced to shut down in December, after its truck drivers walked off the job due to insurgent threats. They reopened ten days later, only to shut down again after an insurgent swarm attack killed and wounded more drivers. The refinery has once more ceased activity, as their reserves of refined fuel are full and there is no way to get them to their customers. Iraq's diesel-driven power plants are undersupplied too, leading to worsening outages.
As of today, world oil reserves are five percent lower than previously thought. Well informed early toppers like Jeremy Leggett (previously discussed here) won't be surprised by the news, though they may be disappointed that it didn't make bigger headlines.
The jolly green Hummer? The growing band of environmental offset companies which give you the chance to offload your SUV driving, energy squandering guilt onto an annual subscription and a fancy bumper sticker looks like one way that we'll be able to live with ourselves in the power hungry 21st century. Is this the placebo we've all been waiting for?
Fables of the reconstruction. The Bush administration does not intend to seek any further funding for Iraqi reconstruction, leaving only $3.5 billion left to spend out of the $18.4 billion the US budgeted. Approximately half of all reconstruction costs spent so far -- $7.5 billion -- have been eaten up by increased costs due to the insurgency. All remaining reconstruction costs will depend entirely upon foriegn contributions and Iraq's oil industry. But will foriegn aid come through if its too dangerous to work there? Can Iraq's oil industry pay for reconstruction when its output has been in a tailspin for well over a year, falling from 2.8 million barrels a day in May 2004, to 1.82 million barrels per day in January 2005, to 1.2 million barrels a day by November. and ending the year with a low of 1.1 million barrels a day in December? As for the Iraqi infrastructure left to be rebuilt, water and sanitation is still poor in most areas, and electricity production, which looked promising last summer after imports from Iran and Turkey, has deteriorated again, falling to only 3700 megawatts in November 2005, essentially at the same level produced in May 2004.
Blood Flows With Oil in Poor Nigerian Villages An insightful NYT article on "the desperate struggle of impoverished communities to reap crumbs from the lavish banquet the oil boom has laid in this oil-rich yet grindingly poor corner of the globe" Ok, so the quotes a little heavy handed but the pic on the 2nd page speaks volumes.
"Richard Rainwater made billions by knowing how to profit from a crisis. Now he foresees the biggest one yet". Rainwater discovers peak oil and wants to profit from it. Among other things, "he's thinking about opening a for-profit survivability center". Admittedly, his peak oil obsession goes beyond profiting:
But there may be something more important than making money. This is the first scenario I've seen where I question the survivability of mankind. I don't want the world to wake up one day and say, 'How come some doofus billionaire in Texas made all this money by being aware of this, and why didn't someone tell us?'
Huge explosion rocks UK countryside. Police say the oil depot explosion appears to be an accident, even though Al-Qaeda called for attacks on the oil industry just a few days ago. (As usual, the media feels the need to report this, even though Al-Qaeda was speaking of Gulf oil targets, and nothing of this scale could have been implented in just a few days)
Some pictures: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6>
Some pictures: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6>
Cheap oil for the masses. "Officials from Venezuela and Massachusetts have signed a deal providing cheap heating oil to low-income homes in the US state. The fuel will be sold at some 40% below market prices to thousands of homes over the winter months. Local congressman William Delahunt described the deal as "an expression of humanitarianism at its very best". [Newsfilter] Why do you hate America, Hugo?
Crude Designs: The Rip-Off of Iraq’s Oil Wealth Detailed argument from the Global Policy Foundation, et al, that the use of Production Sharing Agreements - "quite common in countries with small oil reserves and/or high extraction costs" - is inappropriate for Iraq and effectively robs the Iraqi people by ignoring other, more equitable options.
ASPO-USA Denver Conference Report. Views on Peak Oil from a wide range of panelists in Colorado this week, including the mayor of Denver "who has joined that brave but small band of honest and courageous politicians willing to go anywhere near the issue of peak oil".
From 1964 to 1992, Texaco (.mov, 20.6MB) drilled for oil in the northern region of the Ecuadorian Amazon, known as the "Oriente". The company left 627 open toxic waste pits and other facilities which continue to leak highly toxic waste, affecting more than 30,000 local people. A higher incidence of birth defects, cancer, miscarriages, skin diseases, and death continues to plague people whose only source of water is a contaminated river. ChevronTexaco refuses to remediate the damage, claiming that they already "cleaned up" their share of the contract, by shoveling 3 feet of dirt over some of the open oil pits.
Boundless energy or bad math? Randell Mills thinks he has the solution to our energy problems. In his company's patented process, "energy is released as the electrons of atomic hydrogen are induced to undergo transitions to lower energy levels producing plasma, light, and novel hydrogen compounds." It also implies that quantum mechanics is wrong.
By a 52-47 vote on S.1932 §401, the US Senate today directed the Department of the Interior to begin selling oil leases within four years in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), with the goal of raising $2.4 billion to lower the deficit and, tangentially, help pay for the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Oil would not be available for another ten years, and according to a 2003 DOE report, opening the Alaska refuge to drilling would only reduce U.S. dependence on imported crude oil in 2025 from 70 percent to 66 percent. The House of Representatives decides next week on whether to keep the drilling measure in the bill.
How things do change! A short Guide to Iraq published in 1942 by the US government. The handbook was written for American soldiers who were stationed in Iraq to prevent Nazis from seizing the country’s oil. .... 63 years later.
Syriana is a new "peak oil" movie (following in the tradition of The Deal and Oil Storm). However unlike those movies it is a big budget Warner Brothers film, starring George Clooney. But perhaps even more interesting is the production company behind it called Participant Productions whose goal is to create films not just for passive entertainment but that inspire viewers to get involved in the issues.via The Oil Drum
Global warming -- the upside: the entrepreneurs poised to make millions from new ports and shipping lanes in the formerly ice-bound Arctic circle. A fascinating New York Times article on the international land-grab following the news (reported here, discussed here, whitewashed here, et. al.) that the polar ice caps and Siberian permafrost are melting. Goodbye Gulf Stream, hello Club Med Santa-style -- first SUV to the North Pole wins!
Running on Fumes -- a fascinating essay by the Nation's Sasha Abramsky on what rising gas prices will do to poor exurban communities.
Interactions between migrating birds and offshore oil and gas platforms in the northern Gulf of Mexico (PDF, 5.9MB). A scientific but engrossing look at bird migration over the Gulf of Mexico, describing, in part, death by starvation of migrants who have metabolized all their bodily fat, “overshoots” that inadvertently travel past their intended destinations and find themselves unexpectedly over water at first light, and a suggestion that peregrine falcons not only recovered from near extinction due to the presence of oil platforms in the Gulf, but that they may eventually establish a breeding population on the Gulf platform archipelago. Summary. Full report (PDF, 5.9 MB).
Petrol prices hurting your wallet? Try stealing it instead! A Sydney man has been accused of siphoning 1,000 litres (265 gallons) of fuel from a service station into a large home-made tank in his van. Police allege the 36-year-old man used a Toyota Town Ace van to take petrol from a service station's underground tanks. Another 44,000 litres of fuel (or there about) is yet to be accounted for though.
Police allegedly found fittings and equipment inside the van that could be used to steal petrol from service stations, including a home made tank.Hard times huh? Sorry there's no photo to go with this. The guy's van is an awesome sight though. Best I've got is streaming video via ABC News (Windows HQ or LQ).
What has happened to Iraq's missing $1bn? "The money missing from all ministries under the interim Iraqi government appointed by the US in June 2004 may turn out to be close[r] to $2bn... Many Iraqi soldiers and police have died because they were not properly equipped. In Baghdad they often ride in civilian pick-up trucks vulnerable to gunfire, rocket- propelled grenades or roadside bombs. For months even men defusing bombs had no protection against blasts because they worked without bullet-proof vests. These were often promised but never turned up."
Your Mr. Fusion is ready. Sort of.
Oil companies, not environmentalists behind refinery shortages. The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) today exposed internal oil company memos that show how the industry intentionally reduced domestic refining capacity to drive up profits. Internal memos from Mobil, Chevron, and Texaco show different ways the oil giants closed down refining capacity and drove independent refiners out of business. In related news, petroleum industry analyst Tim Hamilton showed that from January 17th to April 18th 2005 gasoline prices jumped 65 cents per gallon and refiner profits rose [pdf] by 61 cents per gallon.
Turns out that it's about the oil, after all. We've been screaming it for years, and he's totally ignored our allegations. But, there's no demonstration chant a good spin-doctor can't turn into a point for their side. Remember, the terrists hate our Amercun
Resource wars and gas rations, what will be next ? I bet you didn't know we gobble oil like two-legged SUV's.
Gas at $4 a gallon? A quick summary of the current reasons gas remains high ("Not I!" squawks the refiners, "Not I!" squawks producers). The EPA is easing restrictions in affected areas and the national oil keg is being tapped (WSJ), yet despite the whole doom-and-gloom scenerios the Economist remains perky about the cause of rising prices, "higher oil prices [now] reflect strong demand, ... they are the product of healthy global growth."
Katrina targets New Orleans. Mandatory evacuations have been declared, and contraflow evacuation routes are in effect near New Orleans, as Hurricane Katrina, a very wet, drenching hurricane, approaches the city from the Gulf of Mexico, where it is gaining in size and strength, with an estimated 45% chance of making landfall as a category 4 or 5 hurricane. The computer models suggest that New Orleans will sustain a direct hit from Katrina, which could be "The Big One" warned about by experts, capable of flooding the city, polluting it with industrial waste, and even flooding the pump stations, leaving it incapable of pumping out the water. The hurricane is predicted to make landfall early Monday near Port Fourchon, which handles approximately 13% of U.S. oil imports, and 27% of U.S. domestic production.
Hugo Chávez is crazy! Hugo Chávez is certainly making a lot of news these days. No doubt we'll find the truth somewhere between "evil dictator" and "third world savior," but the long, dark history of U.S. involvement in Latin America casts suspicion on everything. Chávez is gaining a heroic light in the third world for "standing up to" the United States. He's making friends with Cuba, China and Iran. Is Chávez heading up a new rogues' gallery ... or gearing up for the resource wars?
Previous MetaFilter coverage: [1,2,3,4]
Previous MetaFilter coverage: [1,2,3,4]
Power Cut Shuts Down Iraq Oil Exports ASRA, Iraq (AP) -- Iraq's oil exports were shut down Monday by a power cut that darkened parts of central and southern Iraq, including the country's only functioning oil export terminals, Iraqi and foreign oil officials said.
A Maoist take on Cindy Sheehan. To quote the Revolutionary Worker quoting Ms. Sheehan: "I want him (Bush) to tell me 'just what was the noble cause Casey died for'?", she declared. "Was it freedom and democracy? Bullshit! He died for oil. He died to make your friends richer. He died to expand American imperialism in the Middle East. "We're not freer here, thanks to your PATRIOT ACT. Iraq is not free. You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you'll stop the terrorism! There, I used the 'I' word--imperialism, and now I'm going to use another 'I' word -- impeachment--because we cannot have these people pardoned. They need to be tried on war crimes and go to jail." (Meanwhile, on the spot, Bush's neighbor is becoming irate; more on that via Yahoo News.)
US energy bill is held up by a pro-MTBE provision that bipartisan Senators promised they would not sign into law. Nervous MTBE manufacturers, in an effort to divest themselves of potential asbestos-like liability lawsuits, have been donating millions in campaign contributions to the cause, despite peer-reviewed research pointing to lingering questions about safety (PDF) and utility (PDF).
Oil Exploration For over 75 years the oil industry has been searching... from the icepack of fitzwilliam strait to the Tarmin Basin in China, fighting storms in the North Sea, ice, mud & forest. Using powerful computers to find new reserves ready for that billion dollar oil rig to start drilling and pumping.
are we doing enough to protect the unborn?
where are the demonstrations at the gates of petro-chemical companies?
where are the demonstrations at the gates of petro-chemical companies?
Even as oil prices hit record highs, the Saudi’s are now warning that they do not have the oil supply to keep up with future demand. With news like this it’s time to start taking peak oil seriously. Matthew R. Simmons, a former bush advisor, recently wrote a book that examines the future prospects of Saudi oil reserves and the implications for global oil production. He finds that the amount of oil left in the big fields may be much lower than is publicly reported and that there is no where else in the world where we can find the oil to make up for the shortfall. This interview with Simmons (part 2, part 3) was one of the scariest things I’ve read in awhile. I guess it’s time to buy a hybrid… (Peak oil previously talked about here and here and here)
Openly and unapologetically, the world's No. 1 oil company disputes the notion that fossil fuels are the main cause of global warming. Exxon opposes the very idea of capping global-warming emissions - From the article Exxon Chief Makes A Cold Calculation On Global Warming. A interesting read, whatever your opinion on the oil industry is...
Canada ambassador to the U.S. mobilizes ex-patriots in order to fight the F.U.D. coming from Fox News. But will the only thing paid attention to be the very, very large Canadian oil reserves?
The BTC Pipeline opened today after more than 10 years and $4B (US) in development. It runs from the Caspian Sea across Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, through the Caucasus mountain range to the Mediterranean. The project is so large and far-reaching some have called it Pipelineistan. The UK Independent calls it The Pipeline That Will Change The World. It travels through some of the most politically unstable regions in Central Asia, but is of such strategic importance political leaders have been replaced and the U.S. is willing to risk the wrath of neighbors Russia (with a competing pipeline of its own) and Iran to place permanent U.S. military bases along its path. It even merits personal visits from the U.S. Energy Secretary and President. Its opening may very well mark the return of the Great Game.
In response to allegations of kickbacks, George Galloway gets to tell the American Senate just what he thinks. Skip the article and watch the film. Your 50 minutes of fun video footage are here. [realMedia] (That'll be fun in a "Controversial British MP vs American NeoCon Senator" sort of way)