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Bloviating Zeppelin: Oil: The American Calamity Is Coming

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oil: The American Calamity Is Coming


And there isn't a thing you or I can do about it.

Because no one, no one in this country, is or can be completely energy "independent" unless you are, perhaps, Amish. And even the Amish will take a coming hit.

You can try all you wish. But in this country as well as all others, everything revolves around oil.

And (stating the obvious) you can thank the Religious Left for our inability to take care of ourselves and stake a percentile of energy independence -- though it is a given that we have a huge stake in natural gas, and we have vast expanses of yet-untapped fields in the lower 48, Alaska and directly off both of our coasts.

We could be much more energy-independent -- had we wished this to occur.

In the meantime, when the price of every product goes up due to transport costs, when you wait in lines for $6 gas, when you can no longer get gas -- you only have the Religious Left to thank.

No nuclear plants. No coal plants. No gas plants. No electrical generation stations. No refineries built. No drilling. No tapping. No. No. No. And the Religious Left is about to reap what they have insisted not be sown.

And what might be the indicator (which most people seem to be ignoring) that is providing a massive clue? To wit, from Reuters:

(Reuters) - Oil held near 2-1/2 year highs on Tuesday, with worries about turmoil in Libya that sent prices soaring the previous session eased by expectations that OPEC and the International Energy Agency could meet any shortfall in oil supplies.

At least three international oil companies have halted production in Libya, which pumps nearly 2 percent of world output. Some companies have been pulling employees and their families out of Africa's third-largest producer, though others say they are keeping oil flowing there.

Oil prices surged as much as 6 percent on Monday, taking Brent crude in London to almost $109 a barrel at one point for the first time since 2008. Prices remained strong on Tuesday, but closer to $106.

"We've lost 300,000 bpd of production (in Libya) already with the potential for further cuts to output and exports," said Andy Lebow, a trader at MF Global in New York.

"The major underlying fear in the market is that these protests spread in the region to even larger producers like Saudi Arabia. While that might not look likely right now, even a hint of real problems there could send prices vertical."

Brent crude for April delivery rose 4 cents to settle at $105.78 a barrel, the highest close since September 2008 but off earlier highs of $108.57. Brent hit a 2-1/2 year high of $108.70 a barrel on Monday.

U.S. crude for March delivery, which expired on Tuesday, rose to $93.57 a barrel, after touching $94.49, the highest since October 2008. It was up $7.37 a barrel from Friday; although the market traded on Monday, it did not print an official settlement price due to a holiday.

These are roughly the highest gas prices in a given February since 1990:
The U.S. weekly average price per gallon is $3.19, up 54 cents from a year ago, and slightly higher than last week's $3.14. This was the highest price posted during the month of February since 1990, when the data became available. The most expensive regions again are New England at $3.23 and California at $3.56.

THE primary factor? Libya. Libya is the major producer of "light sweet crude" oil. And from there the petroleum box is shaken.

Few if any people saw this coming. There are any number of "educated" Opinists weighing in with their thoughts and screeds. But at this -- truly -- early point, I submit that no one clearly knows how or why this Egyptian then Libyan (and Middle Eastern) movement came about. It just is.

All we know -- now --is that, like a snowball rolling downhill, area and momentum is growing.

As opposed to Egypt, Libya's Muammar Kaddafi isn't giving up easily.

Hence the jump of oil prices of 8.5% in one sole day.

WAIT: THIS JUST IN:

Libya's Muammar Kaddafi to begin sabotaging oil facilities?
Pressed, my Libyan source acknowledged Gaddafi is a desperate, irrational man, and his threats to turn Libya into another Somalia at this point may be mostly bluffing. On the other hand, if Gaddafi in fact enjoys the loyalty of troops he thinks he has, he very well could take Libya to the brink of civil war, if not over.

There's been virtually no reliable information coming out of Tripoli, but a source close to the Gaddafi regime I did manage to get hold of told me the already terrible situation in Libya will get much worse. Among other things, Gaddafi has ordered security services to start sabotaging oil facilities. They will start by blowing up several oil pipelines, cutting off flow to Mediterranean ports. The sabotage, according to the insider, is meant to serve as a message to Libya's rebellious tribes: It's either me or chaos.

Two weeks ago this same man had told me the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt would never touch Libya. Gaddafi, he said, had a tight lock on all of the major tribes, the same ones that have kept him in power for the past 41 years. The man of course turned out to be wrong, and everything he now has to say about Gaddafi's intentions needs to be taken in that context. (See TIME's exclusive interview with Gaddafi.)

My Libyan source said that in order to understand Gaddafi's state of mind we need to understand that he feels deeply betrayed by the media, which he blames for sparking the revolt. In particular, he blames the Qatari TV station al-Jazeera, and is convinced it targeted him for purely political motivations. He also feels betrayed by the West because it has only encouraged the revolt. Over the weekend, he warned several European embassies that if he falls, the consequence will be a flood of African immigration that will "swamp" Europe.

Oil?

Hello?

Anyone listening?

Anyone?

BZ

8 Comments:

Blogger Mark said...

up the creek without a paddle. too late to think we could ramp up production here and now. just have to see your friendly neighborhood Amish family and hitch a ride to town:)
can ya put a light bar n siren on a horse buggy? can't wait to see those new hayburning patrol "cars", ya might want to reconsider your retirement plans so you can try out the new vehicles!

Tue Feb 22, 07:03:00 PM PST  
OpenID 44644bc4-37d3-11e0-8503-000f20980440 said...

How do you figure the 'religious left' will be at fault? Where's all the oil Bush promised us from Iraq?

Tue Feb 22, 07:18:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Mark: quite too late. Indeed.

446: geez, are you so inccomprehensibly STUPID as to realize that Mr Bush "promised" NO OIL whilst in the Middle East??

Once again, America, NOT taking land or programs when it "wins."

BZ

Tue Feb 22, 07:26:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

On the other hand, isn't it rather insipid that trolls upon my site would have to wriggle their comments per day per hour?

Imagine that.

BZ

Tue Feb 22, 07:28:00 PM PST  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

We are screwed!

Get ready for an economic depression here that will make the Great Depression look like nothing!

Pay off all debts, including mortgages, to stay afloat -- at a much-reduced standard of living.

Wed Feb 23, 04:27:00 AM PST  
Blogger mrchuck said...

It's high time to start drilling for oil everywhere in our 50 states NOW.
Also start building Nuclear generating plants. Also narural gas production.
I have had enough of this "green bullshit" and global warming, and "save the titmouse".
Oil baby, as we have known reserves within our own country.
Let's get it.
Forget about the whole world problems, fix our own now. Screw diplomacy.
While we're at it, bomb Somalia back to the stone age.

" "The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed, lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance."

Cicero - 55 BC

If we don't, hello Rome.

Wed Feb 23, 09:08:00 AM PST  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

What is fun is that the Iranian refinery workers went on strike... which will be fun and games there, not that Iran can actually make any of its OPEC quotas just for crude...

I've been considering Iran to be going off the market for the simple reason they don't keep up their infrastructure and they are losing 10% of their production due to it. With no marginal increases since the revolution, they are just about on the break-even import/export zone, and importing natural gas.

KSA won't increase its output.

Venezuela's output has gone down since Chavez took power

Mexico started to curtail marginal expansion a decade ago due to 'environmentalists' so no surge of production there.

Libya is about to go off-line.

Russia can't upgrade its infrastructure fast enough to make a difference. Plus about 1/3 of that production is criminal controlled.

Are we getting the picture, here?

The only countries expanding production to any great extent are Brazil, Canada and Indonesia.

Iraq does have reserves, but it will take at least 5 more years to get those fully up and running, and that will mostly go to dedicated contracts with China, Japan and other parts of SE Asia.

If Obama had spent every red cent of the 'stimulus' in nuclear plants we would be half-way to getting them online, and a few would be on-line reducing our need for oil for electricity... the rest of the economy still requires it. Instead he gave it to cronies, gutted the Gulf expansion, halted off-shore drilling elsewhere and buys up land that has oil shale and natural gas under it to stop exploration on the continent.

This cannot be turned around overnight. It can only be turned around without the EPA, Interior and Energy Dept. interfering with US energy exploration and production. With them that will not happen. And they will be on the chopping block once our 'energy prices necessarily skyrocket', as Obama said on the campaign trail.

Wed Feb 23, 11:00:00 AM PST  
Blogger Leticia said...

I am very thankful that my job is only five minutes away, my church, on the other hand is not. I hope this will not deter members to quit coming, because I have even considered only attending on Sundays.

This is getting serious and we are only seeing the beginning of this nightmare.

Wed Feb 23, 02:30:00 PM PST  

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