We Can Do Better!

$100 Oil – DEAL WITH IT!  OPEC ministers say world can handle $100 oil

According to the Reuters news agency, the ungrateful OPEC czar in Kuwait known as the Oil Minister said the following 12/26/2010:  CAIRO — The global economy can withstand an oil price of $100 a barrel, Kuwait’s oil minister said on Saturday, as other exporters indicated OPEC may decide against increasing output through 2011 as the market was well supplied.

Back in the news after being forgotten again due to:  Immigration, Healthcare, Economy Recovery Efforts, Run-Away Unemployment, Wars, Gays, Foreign Trade Policy, National Elections, Taxes, Obama bowing to world leaders, Wall Street and all the crap instigated by the last minute Lame Duck Congress.  Now it’s time to put OIL back on the table again!  While our president has become the laughing stock of heads of state around the globe, they’re now ready to tell us what is fair and to get used to it!  We will be at the mercy of foreign nations for only so long as we choose to be.  First, we have a few organizations within our own country that need to be put in their place.  Then we can turn the tide of the Middle East oil wave and tell them what we’re willing to pay on our terms.

The following material will deal with some of the who, what, when where and why’s of the dilemma being faced by our nation at the hands of the Ghost of Procrastination one more time.

THE PRICE OF GAS IN AMERICA – Actually this is about becoming self reliant for our own gas and oil needs and weaning ourselves off the tits of the Middle East, Venezuela or any other country we depend upon.  By now you have probably read at least once, the below email that has circulated for the past 3 years.  GET USED TO IT! It is based on facts.

There are 3 to 4.3 Billion Barrels of Technically Recoverable Oil Assessed in North Dakota and Montana’s Bakken Formation—25 Times More Than the 1995 Estimate – Released: 4/10/2008 2:25:36 PM

http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=1911

Reston, VA – North Dakota and Montana have an estimated 3.0 to 4.3 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil in an area known as the Bakken Formation.

A U.S. Geological Survey assessment, released April 10, shows a 25-fold increase in the amount of oil that can be recovered compared to the agency’s 1995 estimate of 151 million barrels of oil.

Technically recoverable oil resources are those producible using currently available technology and industry practices. USGS is the only provider of publicly available estimates of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources.

New geologic models applied to the Bakken Formation, advances in drilling and production technologies, and recent oil discoveries have resulted in these substantially larger technically recoverable oil volumes. About 105 million barrels of oil were produced from the Bakken Formation by the end of 2007.

The USGS Bakken study was undertaken as part of a nationwide project assessing domestic petroleum basins using standardized methodology and protocol as required by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 2000.

The Bakken Formation estimate is larger than all other current USGS oil assessments of the lower 48 states and is the largest “continuous” oil accumulation ever assessed by the USGS. A “continuous” oil accumulation means that the oil resource is dispersed throughout a geologic formation rather than existing as discrete, localized occurrences. The next largest “continuous” oil accumulation in the U.S. is in the Austin Chalk of Texas and Louisiana, with an undiscovered estimate of 1.0 billions of barrels of technically recoverable oil.

“It is clear that the Bakken formation contains a significant amount of oil – the question is how much of that oil is recoverable using today’s technology?” said Senator Byron Dorgan, of North Dakota. “To get an answer to this important question, I requested that the U.S. Geological Survey complete this study, which will provide an up-to-date estimate on the amount of technically recoverable oil resources in the Bakken Shale formation.”

The USGS estimate of 3.0 to 4.3 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil has a mean value of 3.65 billion barrels. Scientists conducted detailed studies in stratigraphy and structural geology and the modeling of petroleum geochemistry. They also combined their findings with historical exploration and production analyses to determine the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil estimates.

USGS worked with the North Dakota Geological Survey, a number of petroleum industry companies and independents, universities and other experts to develop a geological understanding of the Bakken Formation. These groups provided critical information and feedback on geological and engineering concepts important to building the geologic and production models used in the assessment.

Five continuous assessment units (AU) were identified and assessed in the Bakken Formation of North Dakota and Montana – the Elm Coulee-Billings Nose AU, the Central Basin-Poplar Dome AU, the Nesson-Little Knife Structural AU, the Eastern Expulsion Threshold AU, and the Northwest Expulsion Threshold AU.

At the time of the assessment, a limited number of wells have produced oil from three of the assessments units in Central Basin-Poplar Dome, Eastern Expulsion Threshold, and Northwest Expulsion Threshold.

The Elm Coulee oil field in Montana, discovered in 2000, has produced about 65 million barrels of the 105 million barrels of oil recovered from the Bakken Formation.

Results of the assessment can be found at http://energy.usgs.gov.

Bakken oil amounts

Credibility of org that claims we have all this oil and method used to determine amount.  According to United States Geological Surveys at http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/default.asp

On the subject of US Oil Refineries and how many we have:  149?  Maybe!

Can present day refineries in US handle the refining work load this much oil would demand?  The following answer comes from Wikianswers:  http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_oil_refineries_are_there_in_the_United_States

Contrary to popular belief there are many, spread all over. According to the EIA, 149. However, they are not all dedicated to refining oil into usable gasoline, and 149 still aren’t enough. The real problem, however, is not that there aren’t enough refineries (which, once again, there aren’t,) but that the refineries we have are not working at maximum capacity. Regularly, their parent companies will shut them down or scale them back, dramatically reducing their output. The oil companies say its due to refinery age, reparis, etc. There is much debate, however, as to whether or not these actions are actually deliberate in order to boost prices at the pump. It could be argued that with problems occurring that increase expenses for oil companies that their increase in profits recently makes those same statements of high expenditures false. What adds further weight to the debate is the fact that dozens of refineries have been closed in the past 15 years, which doesn’t add up during a supply shortage or price spike caused by the same, with increase in demand. It is also widely known that in the mid-1990’s some refineries were closed as a direct result of refinery overproduction, during times of surplus, which was due to a loss of profits by the relevant companies. This further makes recent industry profit spikes quite coencidental, now that those refineries are closed and production is strickly controlled, shortage or surplus with every barrel with limited refineries, which can be slowed for any reason. Regardless, production of gasoline and related products is affected, and to be fair, 60% of U.S. oil is imported, and so conflicts in Iraq and problems with Iran, Venezuela, long shipping times/distances all can also drmatically affect the price of gasoline as well, and have been known to hamper it in the past.

The following information on refineries is attributed to Publiccitizen at http://www.citizen.org/cmep/article_redirect.cfm?ID=11829

Myths and Facts about Oil Refineries in the United States

The Bush administration and some members of Congress blame environmental rules for causing strains on refining capacity, prompting shortages and driving up prices. But in reality, it is uncompetitive actions by a handful of companies with large control over our nation’s gas markets that is directly causing these high prices.  (its more than a handful and they are known as NGO’s – non government agencies propped up financially by the EPA)

Myth 1: Oil refineries are not being built in the U.S. because environmental regulations, particularly the Clean Air Act, are so bureaucratic and burdensome that refiners cannot get permits.

Fact: Environmental regulations are not preventing new refineries from being built in the U.S. From 1975 to 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received only one permit request for a new refinery. And in March, EPA approved Arizona Clean Fuels’ application for an air permit for a proposed refinery in Arizona.  In addition, oil companies are regularly applying for – and receiving – permits to modify and expand their existing refineries.[1]

Myth 2: The U.S. oil refinery market is competitive.

Fact: Actually, industry consolidation is limiting competition in oil refining sector. The largest five oil refiners in the United States (ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, BP, Valero and Royal Dutch Shell) now control over half (56.3%) of domestic oil refinery capacity; the top ten refiners control 83%. Only ten years ago, these top five oil companies only controlled about one-third (34.5%) of domestic refinery capacity; the top ten controlled 55.6%. This dramatic increase in the control of just the top five companies makes it easier for oil companies to manipulate gasoline supplies by intentionally withholding supplies in order to drive up prices. Indeed, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concluded in March 2001 that oil companies had intentionally withheld supplies of gasoline from the market as a tactic to drive up prices—all as a “profit-maximizing strategy.” A May 2004 U.S. Governmental Accountability Office (GAO) report also found that mergers in the oil industry directly led to higher prices—and this report did not even include the large mergers after the year 2000, such as ChevronTexaco and ConocoPhillips. Yet, just one week after Hurricane Katrina, the FTC approved yet another merger of refinery giants—Valero Energy and Premcor—giving Valero 13% of the national market share.  These actions, while costing consumers billions of dollars in overcharges, have not been challenged by the U.S. government.

Myth 3: The United States has maxed out its oil refining capability.

Fact: Oil companies have exploited their strong market position to intentionally restrict refining capacity by driving smaller, independent refiners out of business. A congressional investigation uncovered internal memos written by the major oil companies operating in the U.S. discussing their successful strategies to maximize profits by forcing independent refineries out of business, resulting in tighter refinery capacity. From 1995-2002, 97% of the more than 920,000 barrels of oil per day of capacity that have been shut down were owned and operated by smaller, independent refiners. Were this capacity to be in operation today, refiners could use it to better meet today’s reformulated gasoline blend needs.

Profit margins for oil refiners have been at record highs. In 1999, for every gallon of gasoline refined from crude oil, U.S. oil refiners made a profit of 22.8 cents.  By 2004, the profits jumped 80% to 40.8 cents per gallon of gasoline refined. Between 2001 and mid-2005, the combined profits for the biggest five refiners was $228 billion.  (OK so they make a profit – we need them working on refining oil for US consumption at a reasonable price)

So what should be done?  Improve regulations over the over-concentrated oil industry.  The most effective way to protect consumers is to restore competitive markets. Congress should limit the financial incentives oil companies have to keep gasoline supplies artificially tight by mandating minimum storage of gasoline, reevaluating recent mergers, investigating anticompetitive practices, and re-regulating oil trading.

Who or what political group has done the most to quell oil exploration and refinement in the USA?  Ecological Organizations against exploration –

Environment Montana – posted their latest pleas on Jan. 4th 2011 to drill anywhere except the US.  This is an example of just one such group.  View their complaint at the following link:

http://www.environmentmontana.org/newsroom/energy/energy-program-news/america-cant-afford-big-oils-plan

The names listed below are merely 39 groups that are against Off Shore Drilling:

OCEANA – 1SKY – 350.ORG – ANIMAL WELFARE INSTITUTE – CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY – CLEAN OCEAN ACTION – CONSERVATION LAW FOUNDATION – COOK INLETKEEPER – CREDO ACTION – DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE – EARTHJUSTICE – ENDANGERED SPECIES COALITION – ENVIRONMENT AMERICA – ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY STUDY INSTITUTE – ENVIRONMENTAL CAUCUS OF THE CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATIC PARTY – FRIENDS OF THE EARTH – GREENPEACE USA – GREEN FOR ALL – GULF COAST ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE – INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR ANIMAL WELFARE – INTERNATIONAL FORUM ON GLOBALIZATION – LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS – LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS – MOVEON.ORG – NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL – NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY – NORTHERN ALASKA ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER – OCEAN CHAMPIONS – OCEAN CONSERVATION RESEARCH – OIL CHANGE INTERNATIONAL – PACIFIC ENVIRONMENT – REDOIL – SIERRA CLUB – SOUTHERN ALLIANCE FOR CLEAN ENERGY – SPIRIT OF THE SAGE COUNCIL – SURFRIDER FOUNDATION – THE HABITAT TRUST FOR WILDLIFE – WATERKEEPER ALLIANCE – WESTERN NEBRASKA RESOURCES COUNCIL

The Obama administration shoots down Bush drilling approval in favor of Enyviro Groups – another intriguing story.

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/10/obama-spares-100000-acres-bush-oil-drilling.php

In the last few weeks of his term, the Bush administration controversially approved 77 sites for oil drilling in Utah. The move was immediately challenged by environmental groups, and a federal judge agreed–he said the review process for opening up the lands was hasty and faulty. Now, it appears that the Obama administration has sided with the enviro groups and the judge–they say that all but 17 of those sites were improperly approved.  Or in their words, that the leasing process was “rushed” and “badly flawed.” This is good news–those 77 sites cover some 100,000 acres of land in Utah.

According to the NY Times:  An Interior Department review team presented Secretary Ken Salazar with a recommendation that drilling be allowed to proceed on 17 of the 77 parcels. But it also said that the leases on eight parcels should be withdrawn and that 52 should be subjected to further study because of potential threats to wildlife and air and water quality.

This confirms that the Bush administration was indeed attempting to rush the leases on the land, foregoing proper environmental evaluation. Many conservation groups believe that upon closer inspection, many of those 52 sites will be withdrawn as well, since they house important ecosystems and drilling could threaten wildlife. The NRDC was especially pleased: “Stopping the leasing of these treasured lands to protect them from devastation by oil and gas companies was the right thing to do. The Department of Interior should move forward with clean energy solutions that will protect our pristine wild lands and vital wildlife areas and cut carbon pollution.”  Indeed. With any luck, the need for issuing such destructive permits will slow as the clean energy reform bills pick up steam in Congress.

Now imagine if you can, the number of groups soliciting donations and making a living by fighting oil exploration within the boundaries on shore in the United states.  Apparently the Global Warming Scam brought to us by Al Gore and friends is still the main complaint and issue used by the EPA to stand by their restrictions.  Big Oil uses such rules and regs to continuously seek handouts from Congress and progress gets stymied until one or all get what they want.  In the meantime Americans continue to bleed and plead for the mercy of Big Government at the pumps.

Just like the purported 14% of Atheist that have taken God out of our government, we have another small minority of people that stand in front of the desires and will of the majority.  That leads to the old adage of “follow the money trail” which will point to the status of a large percentage of these ecological groups.  They are termed as NGO’s or non-governmental organizations.  Guess what?  They are funded by the government, more specifically the EPA.  That last statement will be debated by certain people that either don’t know this or desire to keep it from becoming common knowledge.  If this practice were to be stopped or whatever a congressman might look into, thousands of jobs would be lost.  A percentage however big or small it is of Americans would be out of work and I can’t imagine any congressman/woman that would sign on to make this happen.  Its the same thing with the Dept. Of Education – shut them down and look for the massive increase in the unemployment ranks.  In order to keep these people working they will have to accept major disappointment in order for America to become self reliant with our own energy sources.  A nation of electric cars, windmills and solar energy is 50 years into the future and as a country we can’t wait that long.

The future situation of oil prices in the USA demand that our government become self reliant in oil production and the Bakken Oil Fields give us that capability.  The Chinese are growing more dependent on oil daily and have the resources to buy it.  What they don’t import from the middle east they will buy from Russia.  All of this will continue to put the squeeze on the US unless we do something to help ourselves.  Look at where the Russians are at the present time.  While America hugged trees and saved the critters, the Russians were becoming a world leader in oil exploration and exportation.  The petroleum industry in Russia is one of the largest in the world. Russia has the largest reserves, and is the largest exporter, of natural gas. It has the second largest coal reserves, the eighth largest oil reserves, and is the largest exporter of oil.[2] It is the third largest energy user.[3]  Russia is the largest oil producer in the world, producing an average of 9.93 million barrels of oil per day in 2009 for a total of 494.2 million tons.[2] It produces 12% of the world’s oil and has a same share in global oil exports.[4] In June 2006, Russian crude oil and condensate production reached to the post-Soviet maximum of 9.7 million barrels per day (b/d). Exceeding production in 2000 by 3.2 million b/d. Russian export consists more than 5 million b/d of oil and nearly 2 million b/d of refined products, which go mainly to the Europe market. The domestic demand in 2005 was 2.6 million b/d in averaged.[5] It is also the main transit country for oil from Kazakhstan.

The United States does not have to sit in the back of the bus to progress and self reliance.  Only our slovenly dependence on other nations for the “life blood” of production keeps us there.  As our nation slips further and further behind China, Russia, and other fast approaching nations, maybe we’ll wake up and quit funding our own demise.

The year 2011 had better be the year this problem gets solved.  We can not afford to sweep this under the rug again.  If 149+ Refineries were to be cranked back into production for the oil pulled out of our own oil fields – imagine the possibilities!

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