Is Russia behind the European anti-fracking demonstrations?

December 2, 2014
Drill, baby, drill!

Drill, baby, drill!

Plunging oil prices are hurting Russia natural-resources-dependent economy, threatening to throw it into recession along with a collapsing ruble. That’s not a good thing to have happen, but especially not when Moscow’s aggressive behavior has brought them into conflict with the West and earned them economic sanctions.

Part of the problem (from the Kremlin’s point of view) is that the hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) technological revolution has lead to a renaissance in US oil production — we’re now one of the largest oil producers in the world, with vast reserves. We even export more than we import. And this revolution has just begun. Other nations are very interested in using fracking to bring down drilling costs, promising a larger supply on the market and concomitantly bringing crude prices down, to almost everyone’s benefit.

Well, everyone except Vladimir Putin, that is. A deep fall in Russian revenues thanks to fracking would threaten his glorious plans, the Russian economy, and maybe the stability of his rule. Consequently, we shouldn’t be surprised when people start to wonder if those anti-fracking demonstrations in Europe aren’t being ginned up in Moscow:

PUNGESTI, Romania — Vlasa Mircia, the mayor of this destitute village in eastern Romania, thought he had struck it rich when the American energy giant Chevron showed up here last year and leased a plot of land he owned for exploratory shale gas drilling.

But the encounter between big business and rural Romania quickly turned into a nightmare. The village became a magnet for activists from across the country opposed to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Violent clashes broke out between the police and protesters. The mayor, one of the few locals who sided openly with Chevron, was run out of town, reviled as a corrupt sellout in what activists presented as a David versus Goliath struggle between impoverished farmers and corporate America.

“I was really shocked,” recalled the mayor, who is now back at his office on Pungesti’s main, in fact only, street. “We never had protesters here and suddenly they were everywhere.”

Pointing to a mysteriously well-financed and well-organized campaign of protest, Romanian officials including the prime minister say that the struggle over fracking in Europe does feature a Goliath, but it is the Russian company Gazprom, not the American Chevron.

Gazprom, a state-controlled energy giant, has a clear interest in preventing countries dependent on Russian natural gas from developing their own alternative supplies of energy, they say, preserving a lucrative market for itself — and a potent foreign policy tool for the Kremlin.

“Everything that has gone wrong is from Gazprom,” Mr. Mircia said.

This belief that Russia is fueling the protests, shared by officials in Lithuania, where Chevron also ran into a wave of unusually fervent protests and then decided to pull out, has not yet been backed up by any clear proof. And Gazprom has denied accusations that it has bankrolled anti-fracking protests. But circumstantial evidence, plus large dollops of Cold War-style suspicion, have added to mounting alarm over covert Russian meddling to block threats to its energy stranglehold on Europe.

Via Power Line, where you can read a healthy reminder that this wouldn’t be new behavior for the Russians, as anyone who remembers the nuclear freeze movement of the 1980s knows.  (Hint: All those innocent no-war types were being played for suckers by the KGB.)

If we had an administration interested in the intelligent development of America’s resources and also undercutting Putin where’s he’s most vulnerable –and hopefully we will in a couple of years– we could do a lot to jump-start our own economy and “encourage” Vlad to settle down by shutting off his money at the tap.

Still, that the Russians feel a need to break out the old KGB playbook shows how worried they are. And that sound you hear is me weeping in sympathy.

No, wait. It’s not. Not at all.

What you hear is me laughing.


A million a day for ISIS and a grain of salt

July 20, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

ISIS, the jihadist group that’s declared a Caliphate on the ruins of western Iraq and eastern Syria, is now making roughly a million bucks per day by selling oil seized from Iraqi pipelines. Note also the Kurdish connection: no one’s pure in that part of the world.

Originally posted on Money Jihad:

Is a million dollars a day enough to sustain ISIS’s operations without dipping into its own reserves? Perhaps. There may be about 10,000 ISIS foot soldiers. Paying, feeding, clothing, and transporting that many men is expensive. But if each jihadist were getting a proportionate share of $100 a day, that still well exceeds the median Iraqi income of $15 a day, which probably helps with recruitment efforts.

That being said, such a rapid influx of money does not automatically translate into the ability to spend the money—either wisely or at all. Remember the movie “Brewster’s Millions” where Richard Pryor was challenged to spend $30 million in 30 days? It’s harder than it looks.

But it’s still ominous. From the Telegraph on July 11:

Iraq oil bonanza reaps $1 million a day for Islamic State

Exclusive: Islamic State strengthens grip on northern Iraq by raising millions from sale of oil through…

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Canada pulls the plug on the U.S. Keystone Pipeline – will send oil to Asia

June 29, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

This makes me so mad, I could chew nails. Tens of thousands of good jobs lost, a needed economic boost from cheap oil thrown away. Heckuva job, Greens.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Approves Asia Supply Route, Ignores US Route

H/T Eric Worrall and Breitbart – Obama’s inability to make a decision on Keystone has finally yielded a result – Canada has made the decision for him.

Breitbart reports Canada has just approved the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project – a major pipeline to ship Canadian oil to Asia.

The Canadian oil will still be burnt – in Asia, instead of America.

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Detecting life in the CA economy, state senate moves to kill it

April 26, 2014

BearFlag

Well, at least California’s legislative Democrats are consistent: if it works, regulate it, and if it makes money, tax it. In the latest example, Senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) has authored a bill to slap a nearly ten-percent tax on oil extraction:

The Senate Education Committee voted 5-2 — the minimum number of votes needed — to advance a bill that would levy a 9.5% tax on oil pumped from the ground in California. The aim is to raise $2 billion annually to be divided among state universities and colleges, state parks, and human service programs, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The controversial SB 1017, which was authored by Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), has been dubbed a “job killer” by the California Chamber of Commerce, as it would most likely decrease oil production and drive oil companies out of California, costing thousands of jobs. One such company, Occidental Petroleum, is leaving California for Houston, Texas — dubbed “the energy capital of the world” — after being in Los Angeles for nearly a century.

Apparently it never occurred to Senator Evans or the Education Committee that a regime of low taxes and moderate regulation would generate more revenue through the jobs created both directly and through supporting businesses. Maybe she should visit Texas and take notes. Oh, and the heartland of that oil production would be in areas with the worst unemployment, our Central Valley. Why does she hate the jobless? (Or, perhaps more accurately, why does she hate the prospect of them not needing state aid?)

Instead, she and her fellow Democrats must think that being in California is so wonderful that no one would ever go elsewhere, regardless of how many burdens and barriers Sacramento creates. If so, this former California businesswoman has a message for her.

California has had an amazing economy and has an incredible potential future, but even it can be killed with enough mismanagement.  Senator Evans and her colleagues really need to review the fable of the goose that laid the golden eggs: its owner, not satisfied with the eggs the goose was laying at a steady rate, killed it to get all the eggs he thought were inside. Instead, he wound up with no more eggs and a dead goose.

Golden eggs, golden state.

PS: With the Democrats’ two-thirds super-majority broken in the Senate for now, thanks to three corrupt Democrat senators getting caught, there’s no chance this bill will make it to the governor’s desk. For now. But expect them to have it ready, if and when they regain that majority.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


We are awash with oil

May 14, 2012

How much do we have? Try more than the rest of the world, combined:

The Green River Formation, a largely vacant area of mostly federal land that covers the territory where Colorado, Utah and Wyoming come together, contains about as much recoverable oil as all the rest the world’s proven reserves combined, an auditor from the Government Accountability Office told Congress on Thursday.

(…)

“The Green River Formation–an assemblage of over 1,000 feet of sedimentary rocks that lie beneath parts of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming–contains the world’s largest deposits of oil shale,”Anu K. Mittal, the GAO’s director of natural resources and environment said in written testimony submitted to the House Science Subcommittee on Energy and Environment.

“USGS estimates that the Green River Formation contains about 3 trillion barrels of oil, and about half of this may be recoverable, depending on available technology and economic conditions,” Mittal testified.

“The Rand Corporation, a nonprofit research organization, estimates that 30 to 60 percent of the oil shale in the Green River Formation can be recovered,” Mittal told the subcommittee. “At the midpoint of this estimate, almost half of the 3 trillion barrels of oil would be recoverable. This is an amount about equal to the entire world’s proven oil reserves.

Sadly, most of this sits on federal lands, and we know what that means: no drilling, no fracking, no how. This administration is enslaved to a chimerical “Green agenda” that treats anything to do with fossil fuels the way a vampire would garlic, and instead wants to flush billions down the drain in pursuit of alternative energy sources that are nowhere economically viable. In fact, boondoggles like wind farms and solar can only exist via taxpayer subsidies, increasing costs for everyone and destroying genuinely productive jobs in the process.

Meanwhile, we sit figuratively chained, forbidden to take those rational steps to develop and exploit our vast resources (1) safely and with due regard for environmental stewardship, all while restoring prosperity to our economy and pushing us toward energy self-sufficiency.

The Obama administration’s energy policies aren’t just stupid and they aren’t just destructive — they’re immoral.

RELATED: More from Hot Air. Power Line demolishes the president’s “two-percent lie.”

Footnote:
(1) And this doesn’t even include Canadian resources, or that available in the Bakken formation.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obama White House: Who’s responsible for high gas prices? The JOOOOZ!!

April 3, 2012

Oh, honest to Pete! Once again, it’s “hug your enemies and slap your friends:”

The Obama administration is blaming Israel for the recent rise in global crude oil prices, according to a Sunday report in The World Tribune. The rise in fuel prices is deemed as harming the U.S. economy and has also hurt Obama in the polls as he seeks re-election in November.

The report cited a leading U.S. analyst, Robert Satloff, who returned from talks with Israeli officials.

Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said, according to The World Tribune, that the Israeli leadership saw Washington as attributing the higher gas prices to “Israel’s posturing” on Iran.

This is ridiculous. Blaming Israel for high gas prices is like blaming a man for finally standing up to the gang of thugs who’ve been threatening his neighborhood and family — “if only he wouldn’t provoke them, they’d leave us alone!” his spineless, querulous neighbors cry.

Iran’s government and military are dominated by the followers of a militant strain of Islam who see it as their duty to bring about the Islamic End Times in order to institute a global theocracy. Part and parcel of this is eternal hatred of and war against the Jews. They are developing nuclear weapons. Their leaders have openly speculated about how one bomb could destroy the Jewish state and have called for wiping Israel from the map. Recently, a high-ranking Iranian official produced an analysis justifying the annihilation of Israel under Islamic law.

And yet Israel is to blame for increased gas prices and harming the president’s reelection chances (1) because, for some strange reason, they make it clear they’re not going to let their people be slaughtered again and they take steps to do something about it.

How dare they??

Now, I’m not one of those who think the government has total control over fuel prices; external factors, such as the law of supply and demand the progressives so wish they could ignore, play a huge role. China’s appetite for oil is enormous, and they’re buying a lot. And the threat of disruptions to global supply –created by Iran’s maniac actions– also drive up prices because of the increased risk in extracting and transporting oil from the Gulf.

BUT…

The administration’s policies still have a major effect: the open hostility toward exploration and extraction on federal lands; the slow-walking of permits already in the works; the refusal to issue new ones; and the refusal to obtain oil from friendly, stable, next-door neighbors. All these affect fuel prices because the price is as much about expectations of future supply as it is about current stocks. A more liberal, rational, and intelligent resource-development policy that would use safe modern technology would inevitably cause a dampening of prices because of the expectation of greater, more secure future supply.

BUT…

We can’t do that, because Obama is dependent on radical environmentalists for donations and campaign help, and his administration has invested too much (literally) in “alternative energy” to back away.  So, the president needs a scapegoat. Now, who’s handy? Hmmm…

Enter the Jews Israelis. Tailor-made for President Short-Pants’ needs.

via Evan Pokroy

UPDATE: This must be Israel’s fault, too: “Thanks to Obama’s “no” on Keystone, the price of Canadian crude will go up for the U.S.

Footnote:
(1) Which is, of course, the most important consideration in the world. He’s even enlisting the Russian’s help.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Keystone pipeline rejection a product of crony capitalism?

January 24, 2012

As they say, Hmmm…

Warren Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC is among U.S. and Canadian railroads that stand to benefit from the Obama administration’s decision to reject TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL oil pipeline permit.

With modest expansion, railroads can handle all new oil produced in western Canada through 2030, according to an analysis of the Keystone proposal by the U.S. State Department.

“Whatever people bring to us, we’re ready to haul,” Krista York-Wooley, a spokeswoman for Burlington Northern, a unit of Buffett’s Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said in an interview. If Keystone XL “doesn’t happen, we’re here to haul.”

The State Department denied TransCanada a permit on Jan. 18, saying there was not enough time to study the proposal by Feb. 21, a deadline Congress imposed on President Barack Obama. Calgary-based TransCanada has said it intends to re-apply with a route that avoids an environmentally sensitive region of Nebraska, something the Obama administration encouraged.

Buffett, aside from being a master investor (1), is also a big supporter of Barack Obama and famously demanded to be taxed at a higher rate, even though a) he can voluntarily pay as much as he wants, and b) his company owed a billion in back taxes as late as last year. (2)

Now, I’m more inclined to think Obama killed Keystone to pander to the enviro-whacko Left, but he’s also shown no restraint about using the power of the federal government to help his buddies. (Solyndra? LightSquared? The UAW?)

As Artie Johnson would say, “Verrryyy Interesting!”

Footnotes:
(1) Seriously. If you invest for yourself, his letters to shareholders are must-reading.
(2) Economist Daniel J. Mitchell has called Buffett “innumerate” for his opinions on taxes.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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