Tag Archives | Oil

How Oil Prices Will Permanently Cap Economic Growth

Hubbert world 2004Jeff Rubin writes at the Financial Post:

For most of the last century, cheap oil powered global economic growth. But in the last decade, the price of oil has quadrupled, and that shift will permanently shackle the growth potential of the world’s economies.

The countries guzzling the most oil are taking the biggest hits to potential economic growth. That’s sobering news for the U.S., which consumes almost a fifth of the oil used in the world every day. Not long ago, when oil was $20 a barrel, the U.S. was the locomotive of global economic growth; the federal government was running budget surpluses; the jobless rate at the beginning of the last decade was at a 40-year low. Now, growth is stalled, the deficit is more than $1 trillion and almost 13 million Americans are unemployed.

And the U.S. isn’t the only country getting squeezed. From Europe to Japan, governments are struggling to restore growth.

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Tar Sands Pipeline Blockader Arrested for “Tresspassing” on Her Own Property

Picture: RavenU (CC)

Remember, when Republicans mention “property rights,” they mean the rights of those with the most property.  Via Common Dreams:

Film actress Daryl Hanna was arrested in Texas on Thursday along with 78-year-old great-grandmother Eleanor Fairchild after they put their bodies in front of heavy logging machinery and refused to move.

The arrest took place on Fairchild’s own property, where Canadian pipeline company TransCanada is clearcutting forests to make a path for the southern portion of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, designed to bring tar sands oil from Alberta to Texas refineries.

Daryl’s involvement in the Fairchild Farms story brought a cascade of media attention to the Tar Sands Blockade which has been ongoing for nearly two weeks in east Texas.

“How can you be arrested for “trespassing” on your own land?” asked members from Tar Sands Blockade in a statement. “Well, anything can happen when a multi-national corporation comes in and expropriates your farm for their profit.”

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Fake Crowdsourced Ad Campaign Celebrates Shell Oil

As the energy giant pushes into the Arctic, the Let’s Go Public! Arctic Ready ad contest, involving user-submitted captions paired with photos of the pristine north, has drawn attention with a clever simulation of corporate social media engagement going off the rails:

Here at Shell, we’re committed to online social media. After all, it’s the fuel that lubricates the engines of internet communication.

Today, we want to take the Arctic Ready message offline, directly to the drivers who benefit from Shell’s performance fuels. That’s why we’re launching a new campaign (deadline this Thursday!), from which the best ads will be printed and posted in strategic locations worldwide.

So take a moment to add your own slogan to our beautiful new collection of images. The next place you see it might be your own rearview mirror. Because tomorrow is yesterday, accelerated. Let’s go.

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Epic Fail At Shell Oil’s Celebration Of Arctic Drilling

This certainly bodes well. Occupy Seattle sympathizer Logan Price managed to infiltrate a private party held by Shell Oil (commemorating the drilling of the Arctic) and on his cellphone captured a sequence of events that seem almost unreal:
This was a private send-off for Shell's arctic rigs (Kulluk and Noble discoverer) at the Seattle Space Needle. The rigs were visible outside the window. Incredibly, there was an obvious malfunction of the model rig that was supposed to pour drinks for guests.
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With All This Natural Gas, Who Needs Oil?

National Grid LNG TankAlexandra Marks says there are limits to how far the US can tilt toward a natural gas economy, in the Christian Science Journal:

Bob Mann leans against his wife’s 2006 Volkswagen Jetta in his tool-packed garage. The mechanic and inventor has just converted the car, which is the color of a ripe crab apple, to run on natural gas. He shakes his head.

“It’s a no-brainer. We could jump-start the economy overnight, put 100,000 people to work – easy – and help the environment,” says Mr. Mann, a former Volkswagen technician who’s as comfortable talking about global energy solutions as he is around a socket wrench.

From his suburban home in a wooded neighborhood once known for its shipbuilding prowess, Mann is crafting automotive gadgets for a future that many believe could help solve the nation’s long-intractable energy woes – one fueled mostly by natural gas. During the past five years, Mann has converted more than 10 cars to run on compressed natural gas, in addition to gasoline, using a device he invented, the “CNG Fogger,” which boosts the vehicles’ mileage.

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As Ice Cap Melts, Militaries Vie for Arctic Edge

KV Svalbard

Photo: Marcusroos (CC)

Via Common Dreams:

While the corporate media continues to keep alive a false narrative that the world’s scientists are still divided over global climate change — new reports show the military has moved beyond that debate. The Associated Press reports today that “to the world’s military leaders, the debate over climate change is long over.”

Instead, military planners from a number of nations that border the Arctic are gearing up for a new cold war – a battle for control of the vast treasure of mineral and oil resources and control of new, strategic sea lanes. As the ice cap melts, the war for the North Pole is heating up.

Greenpeace reported last year: “WikiLeaks releases … have shown the Arctic oil rush is not just a threat to the environment and our climate, but also to peace.”

“The documents show how deadly serious the scramble for Arctic resources has become.

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America To Become More Like A Third-World Petro-State?

petroleumVia Guernica, Michael Klare argues that that’s what the giant energy companies are aiming for:

The “curse” of oil wealth is a well-known phenomenon in Third World petro-states, where millions of lives are wasted in poverty and the environment is ravaged while tiny elites rake in the energy dollars and corruption rules the land. Recently, North America has been repeatedly hailed as the planet’s twenty-first-century “new Saudi Arabia” for “tough energy”—deep-sea oil, Canadian tar sands, and fracked oil and natural gas.

Here, then, is the energy surprise of the twenty-first century: with operating conditions growing increasingly difficult in the global South, the major firms are now flocking back to North America. To exploit previously neglected reserves on this continent, however, Big Oil will have to overcome a host of regulatory and environmental obstacles. It will, in other words, have to use its version of deep-pocket persuasion to convert the United States into the functional equivalent of a Third World petro-state.

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Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Entered Food Chain in the Gulf of Mexico

Deepwater HorizonVia ScienceDaily:

Since the explosion on the BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, scientists have been working to understand the impact that this disaster has had on the environment. For months, crude oil gushed into the water at a rate of approximately 53,000 barrels per day before the well was capped on July 15, 2010.

A new study confirms that oil from the Macondo well made it into the ocean’s food chain through the tiniest of organisms, zooplankton.Tiny drifting animals in the ocean, zooplankton are useful to track oil-derived pollution. They serve as food for baby fish and shrimp and act as conduits for the movement of oil contamination and pollutants into the food chain. The study confirms that not only did oil affect the ecosystem in the Gulf during the blowout, but it was still entering the food web after the well was capped.

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BP Atlantis Platform Faces ‘Present and Imminent Danger’ According to Whistleblower

Atlantis PlatformVia Common Dreams:
A whistleblower who has a standing lawsuit against BP has argued this week that the company's Atlantis Project, located 150 miles south of New Orleans in the Gulf of Mexico, faces "present and imminent danger." The whistleblower, Kenneth Abbott, is a former BP contractor on the Atlantis. His lawsuit says that BP failed to keep required records of the safety systems for the Atlantis. Back in 2010, Food & Water Watch, which joined Abbott's lawsuit, warned that the massive Deepwater Horizon oil disaster foreshadowed another Gulf of Mexico disaster caused by BP's Atlantis platform. At that time, Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch, said, “We have evidence that Atlantis is unsafe and is in danger of creating an even worse spill than the one caused by the Deepwater Horizon explosion.”
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A War Tax at the Gas Pump?

Gas PumpInteresting point of view from Jeff Klein on Counterpunch:

It’s hard to miss the higher cost of gas every time we fill up our cars these days, but the News Media doesn’t do a very good job of explaining why. There isn’t any mystery, though, if you read the financial press and oil industry sources: We’re paying extra for gas because of rising tensions in the Middle East and especially the scare over a possible US or Israeli attack on Iran. In effect, we’re paying a “war tax” at the gas pump, and the cost will only get higher unless we put aside the talk of war and get down to serious diplomacy to settle the differences in the region.

Here’s what the Wall Street Journal had to say recently, under the headline “Oil Rise Imperils Budding Recovery”:

Rising oil prices are emerging once again as a threat to the U.S.

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