Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Much ado about oil

First, there's Obama's speech today full of the usual: Speaking of increasing domestic production while his administration takes steps to curtail it, speaking of so-called "green" alternatives and automobile fuel efficiencies. (Didn't we just pass those?)

Second, there's the GOP plan which is centered around "drill baby drill" but doesn't really present anything outside of that. No real, sustainable, long-term plan. Drilling is great, etc. but there are viable alternative energy options (clean(er) coal, nuclear, etc.) that have to be a part of the mix. Geothermal, wind and hydro-electric power make sense in some areas, and Natural Gas.

Third, T. Boone is still out there beating his drum. Granted, his drum is all about creating markets for all of that Natural Gas his companies have placed huge bets on, but it's a drum that would really be of help. Contrast that with Al Gore, who's personal enrichment plan would pretty much kill several large industries while he and his investors made out like bandits. That being said, I'm still not in favor of corporate welfare so I struggle mightily with those parts of his plan.

Finally, there's the much debated high cost gas exemption which is, by all accounts, going away.

My problem with all of this is not what it will do to the oil giants, they'll be fine. The big, multinational oil companies will just shift more operations over to International lands and waters and will continue to make a ton of money on the product they're pulling out of the ground. What's often missed in the debate over so-called "big oil" is that, for the most part, they're really not that big. It's the small companies that suffer most. The companies that don't have the resources (or, let's be honest, the connections) to operate in foreign climes, who are reliant on being able to operate here, at home, in America or her waters.

Those are the operators who are going to be hurt the most by this political spit-ball fight whether our politicians believe it or don't. For every Chevron, Exxon, Royal-Dutch Shell and BP there are hundreds of small producers out there every day doing it right, and doing it well. If we forget about them, then we're cutting our energy back-bone in half.

Added: I just saw where Obama is still calling for large increases in Ethanol. Thus increasing the folly of trying to use the primary food-stuff of the world's poor to maintain travel standards. Heck, even the eco-mentals understand how bad of an idea that is, and they live on a diet of twigs and edible flowers.

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