Monday, August 9, 2010

America Sits On Sideline While The Rest Of The World Drills On

People around the world are not going to stop using oil and gas (nor can they) because of the recent oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. As they say in the following article, the oil and gas industry must learn from this disastrous spill and move on. That is what is happening in other parts of the world, in the deep oceans, off the shores of many modern, intelligent and progressive countries.

However, the Obama Administration is continuing the offshore drilling ban in the U.S. They seem intent on destroying and/or controlling the U.S. energy industry and along with it the entire American economy. I wonder when Americans will wake up and realize this is NOT the "Change" they had in mind when they voted for Obama.

The World Drills On

Brazilian oil platform

With reason to hope that the ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico is being brought under control, it's time to start thinking into the future. The Obama Administration is sticking by its ruinous deepwater drilling moratorium, when it would be better to take a hint from the rest of the world's oil-producers. Their response to the Gulf disaster? Learn from it, and drill on.

Norway, run by the very model of modern environmentalists, announced a deep-water drilling halt until the spill is done. However, its ban applies only to new drilling, unlike the Obama Administration's total ban.

Norway also announced it's moving ahead with a deep water push into the Barents and Norwegian Seas, putting up 94 new blocks for drilling leases. Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Riis-Johansen made clear he views the stoppage as temporary.

Brazil is accelerating its drilling pace, announcing it would spend some $200 billion the next five years to tap newly discovered offshore reserves at depths to 23,000 feet. State-controlled Petrobras, the world's biggest deep water producer, recently struck oil three miles under Brazil's sea—a reserve that could yield 380 million barrels of oil and natural gas.

Australian Resources Minister Martin Ferguson has offered 31 new leases off his country's coast that allow for wells at twice the depth of the BP Macondo. As recently as 2000, Australia was self-sufficient in oil and gas but its import costs are rising. The new leases reverse that trend.

"There is no intention by the government to scale back the development of the oil and gas industry in Australia," Mr. Ferguson said. "It is important in terms of the nation's energy security, jobs and the overall economy." Maybe he'd consider a position at Interior?

New Zealand has authorized its first permit to drill off the east coast of its North Island, with Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee saying it is vital that the country "attract investment" from the same oil companies that U.S. politicians are bashing.

Canada continues to allow drilling in deep water off Newfoundland and Labrador and is moving ahead with exploration licenses in the Arctic. The U.K. is still drilling in deep water in the North Sea.

Many of these countries even hope to benefit from America's politically motivated moratorium by bidding for deep water rigs now working in the Gulf. Brazil's Petrobras is looking far and wide for deep water drilling rigs, with a goal of 60 by 2017, and it's looking to sign long-term contracts with owners of rigs now idled in the Gulf.

These are hardly rogue nations. What they share is an understanding that environmental concerns must be balanced with the reality that oil and gas remain crucial to economic growth, and that their reserves are increasingly in deep water. The leaders of these nations are also confident that the oil industry has the technology and know-how to do this right, with proper oversight.

America's oil and gas reserves are no less essential to the U.S. economy, notwithstanding President Obama's romance with "green jobs." Every day the Administration spends trying to justify its moratorium is one more day when the U.S. is losing jobs that may not return.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Bit Of Economic Sanity.......

It seems that lately there has been little common sense coming from our leaders in Washington, D.C. However the recent failure of the Cap and Trade (really just "cap and tax") legislation offers Americans a glimmer of hope. Anyone who has followed this issue as it relates to "man-caused global warming knows these laws can not possibly have any affect on climate change or global warming. Therefore it is painfully obvious that the proposed Cap and Trade legislation is just a way of increasing tax revenue, further controlling the energy industry, and promoting the Obama Administration's "green" energy agenda, all at the expense of the taxpayers. It doesn't look like the public, and even some Democrat lawmakers, are buying the hype. The following article comes from The Wall Street Journal. Thank goodness for global warming skeptics!

The Death of Cap and Tax

Harry Reid's latest energy bill is designed not to pass.

President Obama's undeniable success in passing liberal legislation hasn't translated into greater popularity for himself or the Democratic Congress. So perhaps he'll get a bump in the polls now that he's suffered his first setback on one of his signature promises.

We refer to the failure of cap and tax, which Mr. Obama once modestly promised would signal "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gave the plan, if not the planet, up for dead this month, and last week he unveiled a new energy bill whose major provisions include a Cash for Clunkers replay for home appliances and a $5.8 billion subsidy for natural gas vehicles.

[reid] Associated Press

Harry Reid

In other words, the green lobby has suffered a landmark defeat, and the recriminations in the liberal press are remarkable. Either Mr. Obama didn't sell it well enough, perfidious Big Business intervened (never mind that many CEOs were supporters), the obtuse middle class won't sacrifice for the global good, or evil Republicans . . . Everyone is to blame but the policy itself.

In fact, the bill went down for lack of Democratic votes, in particular those from Midwest coal and manufacturing states. Voters in those states have figured out that cap and tax is a redistributionist exercise from the carbon-dependent heartland to the richer coasts. A Democrat—Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia—is also leading the charge to repeal the EPA's climate "endangerment" regulation that imposes cap and trade though the backdoor.

The American Council for Capital Formation released a study on Senator John Kerry's "compromise" climate plan—which the greens castigated as too modest—that showed cumulative GDP losses of $2.1 trillion through 2030 and consumer electricity price increases up to 42%.

Environmentalists didn't even get consolation prizes like a "renewable portfolio standard," the mandate for utilities to generate a set percentage of their electricity from wind, solar and other marginal sources that was supposed to be their cap-and-tax fallback. The new oil and gas taxes that Mr. Obama endorsed in January, which would have run as high as $60 billion, didn't make Mr. Reid's cut either.

Left as collateral damage are House Democrats who Nancy Pelosi forced to walk point last year on a promise that the Senate would also take up the bill. Mrs. Pelosi has no regrets, last week calling that vote "one of our proudest boasts." The Blue Dog Democrats who voted for it will now deny paternity as they try to save their seats.

As for the Senate, Mr. Reid's new nonclimate energy bill is all about trying to link Republicans to Big Oil. With BP as the corporate villain, Democrats are proposing to lift the $75 million oil spill liability cap for economic damages to infinity. And to do so retroactively on all rig leases.

This is a bad-faith exercise. Mr. Reid knows that Democrats like Mary Landrieu of Louisiana have criticized Democratic proposals to set even a $10 billion cap, while Senate Republicans have proposed giving regulators the power to raise the cap based on specific circumstances. Mr. Reid's proposal is designed to throw a bouquet to the trial bar and undermine any grounds for compromise so Democrats can have an election issue.

The main effect, if it passed, would be to push the small- and mid-sized producers that account for most domestic drilling out of the Gulf, regardless of their safety records. Only the supermajors would be able to afford insurance under the unlimited liability regime.

A study by the consultant IHS Global Insight found that the vacuum of independent players would result in some 289,000 lost jobs in the Gulf states by 2015 and "significantly shrink offshore oil and gas activity, reduce the dynamism of the industry, and dilute U.S. technological and industry leadership."

Another Reid inspiration is a break-up of the Minerals Management Service. (The agency was recently renamed by the White House, like rebranding Philip Morris as Altria.) Liberals have always hated an agency that encourages energy production, not that another round of bureaucratic musical chairs will prevent the next blowout. In addition to ensuring higher energy costs and more green-tape delays, the reorganization will ensure that no one in government is accountable when the next leak does occur.

Whatever one thinks of the science of climate change, cap and tax is the wrong policy response. At enormous economic cost, it would do little to reduce global carbon emissions. To the extent that it reduces growth, it would make the world less able to cope with the consequences if temperatures do rise. The richer the world, the more resources the world will have to adapt and ameliorate bad effects.

Meantime, the failure of cap and tax removes one more threat to the still-mediocre economic recovery. With more such failures, Mr. Obama's approval rating might start rising too.

Copyright 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved (source)

The Reason Behind The War Against "Big Oil"

No, it is not about protecting the environment or stopping global warming. The decades-long, mass-media assisted attack on the oil and gas industry is all about money, power, and control, pure and simple. Everything else is a smoke screen designed to deceive and manipulate the public. Al Gore represents the epitome of this scandal and he was awarded an Oscar and a Nobel Prize for his lies. It is truly amazing.

Now the war against the big bad oil industry is being continued by the Obama Administration. They think they can raise additional revenue by eliminating "tax breaks" for the oil industry. As the following article points out, America needs oil and gas, very much so. To damage this industry will be disastrous for the American economy, people's jobs and the overall source of government revenue. However, that doesn't matter to many politicians who truly just want to expand their power and control over the oil and gas industry. They will use every means possible to achieve these goals, including extortionist tactics like those used against British Petroleum, creating lies about global warming as witnessed by "ClimateGate", and now the Obama Administration is using the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) as their enforcer to control and hinder the production of gas from shale rocks around the country.

Meanwhile there is a constant and continual propaganda effort to scare the public about first global warming and now "climate change". The fact that they think they can fool the public shows their contempt for the very people who voted them into office in the first place. Shame on them is too soft a punishment. They prove the phrase "dirty politics".

War Vs. Big Oil Goes Beyond Drilling Ban

gas station

The White House, along with certain members of Congress, has declared war on Big Oil. This animosity is evidenced not only by the current ban on offshore drilling, which may well force the industry to relocate to other parts of the world, it is also reflected in the myriad of proposals to hike the industry's taxes and use the additional revenues to pursue the administration's green agenda.

President Obama's 2011 budget would do away with $4 billion in accelerated depreciation, depletion allowances and other long-established incentives for oil and gas drilling. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., has introduced a bill that would remove another $20 billion of industry "tax breaks."

According to the American Petroleum Institute, over the next decade tax hikes on the industry could exceed $80 billion. But both the president and Sen. Menendez argue that because profits are so high, removing these tax preferences will not be a disincentive to robust domestic production. They're dead wrong.

Without question, hiking the tax burden on America's oil and gas companies will mean less, not more, domestic energy production. And though the "enemy" is Big Oil, according to the Independent Petroleum Association these tax increases will fall disproportionately on small drilling companies and could potentially reduce domestic oil and gas production by 20% to 40%.

In exchange for at best a small reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, thousands of jobs will be destroyed, billions of potential investment dollars will flow overseas, imports of fossil fuels will increase, energy prices will rise, and many states and localities that derive revenue from oil and natural gas production will witness further declines in their tax receipts.

What's more, these tax hikes would be at odds with the administration's own carbon-reduction goals since they would discourage production of natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel.

Here's the problem. While the Obama administration argues we can satisfy virtually all future energy needs from conservation, efficiency and renewables such as wind and solar, in reality we can't simply dismiss fossil fuels from the nation's energy future.

Indeed, the Energy Information Agency estimates that fossil fuels will still account for 79% of energy demand in 2030, regardless of how many tax incentives are thrown at solar, wind, algae, bio-diesel and other renewables. These incentives are already huge, amounting to about $2.82 per million British thermal units for solar and $1.35 for coal, compared with only three cents for oil and natural gas.

At a time when every respected study agrees on the need to increase all sources of domestic energy, we should be pursuing public policies designed to enhance, not retard, the domestic production of oil and gas. Since the Gulf oil spill, new offshore exploration and production have ground to a virtual halt.

New technologies now enable us to potentially extract trillions of cubic feet of natural gas from domestic shale formations, but development of these fields may be stymied in the face of higher taxes as well as possible EPA oversight of hydraulic fracturing.

Thirty-five years ago, before the OPEC embargo, America was importing about 30% of its oil needs. Today, we import more than 60%, some from countries that aren't necessarily friendly to the United States.

Oil and gas companies already pay billions each year in federal, state and local taxes. Adding to the industry's tax burdens at this time will destroy high-paying domestic jobs, shift more production overseas and retard the pace of economic recovery.


Healthy Skepticism About Global Warming? You Bet!

It seems more of the public is finally waking up to the myth and hoax that is the concept of man-caused global warming. They ought to be very angry about being misled and lied to and they ought to act on that unhappiness at the ballot box by voting all politicians out of office who perpetuate this lie about man-caused global warming. The following article explains how all the environmental hype and scare tactics about global warming have and are failing. This can not happen fast enough in my view.

A Healthy Public Skepticism

For years, environmental activists have pushed state and federal officials to enact costly, far-reaching policies to combat global warming. They’ve run ad campaigns and endorsed politicians. They’ve attacked the reputation of scientists who don’t agree with their alarmism about climate change. They’ve produced books, websites, videos, even Hollywood movies to push their agenda.

And they’ve failed.

In Washington, Senate Democrats have just decided not to move a “cap and trade” bill designed to change the structure of energy production in the United States by raising the price of fossil fuels. They couldn’t muster enough votes, despite their large majority, to pass the unpopular bill.

In Raleigh, legislative Democrats created a commission back in 2005 to propose state laws and policies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from North Carolina households and businesses. The commission has just disbanded without recommending any major initiatives.

Why have the alarmists’ efforts achieved so little? (Because they're wrong -- Peter)They offer a multitude of handy explanations, most of them based on crackpot conspiracy theories involving oil companies, real-estate interests, the Religious Right, and water-breathing space aliens set on melting the polar icecap as a prelude to colonizing the Earth’s oceans.

Okay, so I made that last part up, but it’s not much of an exaggeration of the absurdity of their allegations.

There’s no need for elaborate explanation. A straightforward one will do. Voters are properly skeptical about any energy policy promising to make their lives better by raising the cost of driving their cars, heating their homes, buying their groceries, and operating their businesses. No amount of environmental propaganda has been able to replace their skepticism with credulousness.

In the midst of a painful recession, with North Carolina’s jobless rate remaining in double digits for more than two years now, the idea of using government regulations or taxes to raise the cost of energy has little support. Not only would such policies impose additional hardships on households, but they would also make North Carolina less competitive for new or expanding industry – while accomplishing precisely nothing even if the goal of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions was a reasonable one, since North Carolina’s share of global emissions is negligible.

If the state’s last energy bill, a renewable-portfolio standard enacted in 2007, had been on the ballot rather than on the floor of the General Assembly, North Carolinians would likely have given it an overwhelming thumbs-down. They have never thought their utility bills were too low.

More generally, the voters have shown themselves to have more common sense than the alarmists anticipated. Offered pie-in-the-sky forecasts of green-job creation and long-term savings from expensive alternative-fuel subsidies, voters have come to doubt them. Promised that past environmental regulations would impose costs mostly on “business,” voters have rightly concluded that they bear most of those higher costs as employees and consumers – and that the costs of regulations usually prove to be far higher than promised.

Treated to copious news coverage of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, voters have concluded that stringent safety requirements need to be enacted and enforced – not that American oil exploration is a bad idea.

And subjected to years of attempted indoctrination about the risks of catastrophic global warming, voters have concluded that scientists should continue to research the issue and study promising new technologies – not that Congress or state legislatures should immediately pass laws wreaking havoc on an already weakened economy and mandating fundamental changes in the way we live, work, shop, and travel.

The alarmists’ cause has taken additional hits of late, including the disclosure of emails from climate scientists that laid bare their contempt for the peer-review process and their unwillingness to comply with public-records laws. Do these scandals tell us anything about the wisdom of adopting public policies on climate change? Not really. But they further weakened the credibility of those calling for such policies.

The public’s priorities are clear at the moment: address the serious fiscal and economic problems facing North Carolina and the nation. Climate-change legislation would worsen them. So it’s going nowhere.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

All Hail Obama !!!

All hail Caesar, I mean Obama and his Administration because they say the major problems associated with the recent oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico are over. There is no doubt they will be trying to take all of the credit for this success, it's just "good politics", the truth be damned. And life goes on, at least in the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. Finds Most Oil From Spill Poses Little Additional Risk

WASHINGTON — The government is expected to announce on Wednesday that three-quarters of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak has already evaporated, dispersed, been captured or otherwise eliminated and that much of the rest is so diluted that it does not seem to pose much additional risk of harm.

A government report finds that about 26 percent of the oil released from BP’s runaway well is still in the water or onshore in a form that could, in principle, cause new problems. But most is light sheen at the ocean surface or in a dispersed form below the surface, and federal scientists believe that it is breaking down rapidly in both places.

On Tuesday, BP began pumping drilling mud into the well in an attempt to seal it for good. Since the flow of oil was stopped with a cap on July 15, people on the Gulf Coast have been wondering if another shoe was going to drop — a huge underwater glob of oil emerging to damage more shorelines, for instance.

Assuming that the government’s calculations stand scrutiny, that looks increasingly unlikely. “There’s absolutely no evidence that there’s any significant concentration of oil that’s out there that we haven’t accounted for,” said Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the lead agency in producing the new report.

She emphasized, however, that the government remained concerned about the ecological damage that has already occurred and the potential for more, and said it would continue monitoring the gulf.

“I think we don’t know yet the full impact of this spill on the ecosystem or the people of the gulf,” Dr. Lubchenco said.

Among the biggest unanswered questions, she said, is how much damage the oil has done to the eggs and larvae of organisms like fish, crabs and shrimp. That may not become clear for a year or longer, as new generations of those creatures come to maturity.

Thousands of birds and other animals are known to have been damaged or killed by the spill, a relatively modest toll given the scale of some other oil disasters that killed millions of animals. Efforts are still under way in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida to clean up more than 600 miles of oiled shoreline. The government and BP collected 35,818 tons of oily debris from shorelines through Sunday.

It remains to be seen whether subtle, long-lasting environmental damage from the spill will be found, as has been the case after other large oil spills.

The report, which is to be unveiled on Wednesday morning, is a result of an extensive effort by federal scientists, with outside help, to add up the total volume of oil released and to figure out where it went.

The lead agency behind the report, the oceanic and atmospheric administration, played down the size of the spill in the early days, and the Obama administration was ultimately forced to appoint a scientific panel that came up with far higher estimates of the flow rate from the well. Whether the new report will withstand critical scrutiny is uncertain; advocacy groups and most outside scientists had not learned of it on Tuesday.

The government announced early this week that the total oil release, from the time the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20 until the well was effectively capped, was 4.9 million barrels, plus or minus 10 percent. That estimate makes the Deepwater Horizon disaster the largest marine spill in history. It is surpassed on land by a 1910 spill in the California desert.

As the scientists did their calculations, they were able to rely on direct measurements of the fate of some of the oil that spewed from the broken well. For example, BP and its contractors succeeded in capturing about 17 percent of it with various containment mechanisms, the report says.

The outcome for much of the oil could not be directly measured, but had to be estimated using protocols that were scrutinized by scientists inside and outside the government, Dr. Lubchenco said.

The report calculates, for example, that about 25 percent of the chemicals in the oil evaporated at the surface or dissolved into seawater in the same way that sugar dissolves in tea. (The government appears to have settled on a conservative number for that estimate, with the scientific literature saying that as much as 40 percent of the oil from a spill can disappear in this way.)

The aggressive response mounted by BP and the government — the largest in history, ultimately involving more than 5,000 vessels — also played a role in getting rid of the oil, the report says. Fully 5 percent of the oil was burned at the surface, it estimates, while 3 percent was skimmed and 8 percent was broken up into tiny droplets using chemical dispersants. Another 16 percent dispersed naturally as the oil shot out of the well at high speed.

All told, the report calculates that about 74 percent of the oil has been effectively dealt with by capture, burning, skimming, evaporation, dissolution or dispersion. Much of the dissolved and dispersed oil can be expected to break down in the environment, though federal scientists are still working to establish the precise rate at which that is happening.

“I think we are fortunate in this situation that the rates of degradation in the gulf ecosystem are quite high,” Dr. Lubchenco said.

The remaining 26 percent of the oil “is on or just below the surface as light sheen or weathered tar balls, has washed ashore or been collected from the shore, or is buried in sand and sediments,” the report says.

Some fishermen in Louisiana are worried about the buried oil, fearing that storms could stir it up and coat vital shrimp or oyster grounds, a possibility the government has not ruled out.

Testing of fish has shown little cause for worry so far, and fishing grounds in the gulf are being reopened at a brisk clip. At one point the government had closed 36 percent of federal gulf waters to fishing, but that figure is now down to 24 percent and is expected to drop further in coming weeks.

States are also reopening fishing grounds near their coasts. The big economic question now is whether the American public is ready to buy gulf seafood again.

The new government report comes as BP engineers began pumping heavy drilling mud into the stricken well on Tuesday, with the hope of achieving a permanent seal or at least revealing critical clues about how to kill the well before the end of the month.

Through the afternoon, in what is known as a static kill, engineers pumped mud weighing about 13.2 pounds per gallon at slow speeds from a surface vessel through a pipe into the blowout preventer on top of the well. If all goes well, cement may be applied over the next few days. But officials said they could be confident the well was plugged only when one of two relief wells now being drilled was completed, allowing the well to be completely sealed with cement.

“The static kill will increase the probability that the relief well will work,” Thad W. Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral who is leading the federal spill response effort, told reporters on Tuesday. “But the whole thing will not be done until the relief well is completed.”

The static kill operation could last for close to three days. After it is completed, work can resume on the final 100 feet of the first relief well, which officials say should be completed by Aug. 15 unless bad weather intervenes.

Clifford Krauss contributed reporting from Houston, and Campbell Robertson from New Orleans.