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Black Gold in the Deep Blue

Posted July 27, 2008 8:13 AM

The U.S. Minerals Management Service estimates that about 76 trillion cubic feet of gas and 17.8 billion barrels of oil are off-limits to drilling in coastal areas as a result of congressional and presidential moratoria. Pressure to permit exploitation of these resources at a time of record oil and gas prices prompted lifting of the presidential ban on Outer Continental Shelf drilling. Yet Congress may restore the moratorium and state governors might oppose offshore activity. Hypothetically, would it be worth it? The available resource would supply at least two years' worth of national needs. Should the U.S. go for the black gold?

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Guru
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#1

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/27/2008 2:31 PM

Yes - absolutely. As long as we have theoretical sources of additional oil, no progress will be made on alternatives. Let's drill everywhere and get it out and get it over with.

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#2

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 4:30 AM

The deeper the resource, the more expensive it is to extract.

There have been times when the oil industry has threatened to stop production in the North Sea, due to low returns.

Eventually, all oil will be "recovered", but while the alternatives are not able to replace it instantly, the switch needs to be gradual.

Look at the recent attempts to use partial biodiesel - the result was farmers moving from food crops and supermarket prices rocketing. (Here cooking oil is nearly as expensive as diesel, a near doubling of price. Rice has also shot up.)

Do you want to end up with no reserves before modern alternatives have become reliable/efficient/economical??

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 7:59 AM

Hi GM1964,

Re: Bio-fuel crops.

As you will probably remember I said in one of my posts 18 months ago that converting food crop land to producing bio-fuel crops would lead to food prices rising. This was ridiculed by many on this site, so now the chikens have come home to roost! During the last 12 months I have toured 6 EU countries, and where there was once food crops growing there is rape, it is everywhere, even in the farm near to where I live.

The answer to this problem is simple, those that live in towns and cities should stop using their cars every day, we do have an excellent public transport system in this country as do other EU countries. I sold my car in 2000 and have since always used public transport, even during my recent travels accross the European continent. I have found this much cheaper than owning a car!

In other words, people should stop being lazy and relax a lttle, why the rush?

Spencer.

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#14
In reply to #2

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 12:16 PM

GM,

It looks like Aesop had it right.

LG_DAVE

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Anonymous Poster
#28
In reply to #2

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/29/2008 10:29 AM

Look at the recent attempts to use partial biodiesel - the result was farmers moving from food crops and supermarket prices rocketing. (Here cooking oil is nearly as expensive as diesel, a near doubling of price. Rice has also shot up.)

Almost but not quite...

In reality the driving force for food costs going up is the mandate to produce ethenol.

When ethenol production was mandated to to supply enough for E85 farmers shifted acers from soy beans, wheat, oats and barley to corn. The biggest shift was soy beans.

The net effect of this was to increase the demand of corn, the supply of corn increased but not enough to meet both food, feed and energy demands so there was a net shortage of corn. The lost acers of other grains created a shortage of supply in those grain markets. Short or tight supply equate to higher commodities prices. Higher demand equates to higher prices.

For a time cattle prices went up - both on the hoof and hanging because of the higher feed costs (corn, then a shift to wheat). The same held true for hogs. Then the cattle got pushed to the feed lots sooner than they normaly are because the ranchers wanted to get out from under them as soon as they could and there became a glut of feeders and the price came down a bit. Then after they cycled through there was a shortage of feeders, so the price went up..... With the stimulus checks (money thrown out of helicopters) there was a slight bump in beef demand which was short lived, now with wallets tight demand has dropped.

With respect of beans and bean oil, and bio diesel... Initially a few people were able to get USED cooking oil from resturants. At that point the oil was a waste product that the resturants had to pay to get rid of. At first the people making bio diesel were just taking it off their hands. Then more and more people wanted the used oil... demand went up and now that used oil has value. Then a most of the resturants began to sell their used oil. All of a sudden, free used cooking oil was hard to come by and the bloom starts to come off the bio diesel rose.

After bio diesel became all the rage a hand full of commercial producers sprang up. Bio Willy or whatever it's called (Willy Nelson's venture into bio diesel) was one of the early ones with the highest profile. With the commercial producers comes an increased demand for virgin bean oil.

So, the path to higher prices are not due to bio diesel alone. The bulk of the cause is corn demand and the shift in supply. Bio diesel was the second wave in this play.

Right now corn prices have been dropping for the last few weeks (as has natural gas (one short contract for natural gas would have netted you about $35,000 in just the last few weeks, and a short corn contract has also done quite well in the last few weeks too)).

I believe that the politicians (who will always drag the oil execs over the coals for high oil prices but will NEVER drag the farmer or the head of Ciba Geigy or ConAgra over the coals for high corn prices) have begun to realize that corn based ethenol is NOT the panecea and cure-all of our energy whoes. They have quietly lowered the mandated levels of ethenol production. As a result corn prices have been coming down (for a short period of time prices went up during the floods, then camd down after the real damage estiments came in coupled with favorable weather. Wheat was not affected as much becaus of the ability to plant later).

Like it is with most consumer prices, even after the cost of supply comes down, retail prices are slow to come down and usually never return to pre run up levels. This is because the retailers have seen what people will pay so there is little reason to return to pre run up price levels.

Pricing is an interesting thing. Most people think a retailer will sell a product for the highest price possible. This is not true. You can sell ten widgets for a dollar or you can sell ten of them for a dollar and make ten dollars in either case. Far better to sell five for five dollars and make twenty five dollars.

Travis

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#46
In reply to #2

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

09/04/2008 12:01 AM

They are burning tons of coal to make ethanol actually using 3 times more BTU'S than they produce with coal and ethanol shipping cost added.

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#3

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 7:25 AM

Alternative fuels will become successful when they are economically viable. Until then these attempts by the US Congress to limit supply will do nothing but drive up the cost of everything. Any time the government sticks its nose into a problem, it upsets the balance of the market as evidenced by the fiasco with ethanol & biodiesel.

This discussion is indicative of a society at peace, with plenty of everything and enough time to worry about such issues. It is the same reason wars are fought. Because arrogant busybodies insert themselves into issues and attempt to decide for and impose upon others their agenda when, in most cases their neither technically competant in the agenda they are extolling and not intellectually able to understand that people should be free to decide for themselves what is important and what is not.

Europe has been at the forefront of the enviornmentalist movement fining people for having barbeques and taxing anything is sight even driving into a city. The US Congress is beginning to take on the mantle of the imperial in deciding what we should and should not do. All this driven by a small group of junk science advocates.

We threw off the yoke of the Imperials in 1776 and it may be time to vote out the new Imperials in the Congress.

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#15
In reply to #3

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 12:38 PM

How will we know when alternatives are economically viable? The subsidies for the oil industry are enormous. As Sen McCain says, as long as we are addicted to foreign oil, periodic wars in the Middle East will be the price we pay for access. When you add the trillion dollar cost of the current war to the pump price (not to mention the hidden costs of pollution), I think you will find that these alternatives are already competitive. But we will never know it because we look at this like book keepers, and we should be looking at it as economists. Penny wise and pound foolish - that's our current motto.

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#20
In reply to #15

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 1:34 PM

The reluctance of the enviornmentaists, animal rights advocates, and other of the myriad of "activists" to everything is more of a problem to my mind. Wind farms are opposed because birds are killed, not to mention what it will do to the wind and weather patterns. Ethanol is bad because it only works when subsidised and because it raises the price of food for the poor. Nuclear is bad to enviornmentalists as is coal. Gas is bad because of CO2. Solar is not practical because it will destroy the deserts and it goes on and on. The over riding problem is that no matter what the proposed solution, there is a naysayer somewhere that will oppose it. As engineers we are expected to solve all of the worlds problems when we have virtually everyone looking on and saying "nope, not that".

The anti everything crowd seem to ascribe to the Muslim Radical desire to turn back the clock to 1100 AD when we lived at subsistance level. Do you really want that? That is penny wise and pound foolish, not trying to solve the problems.

Perhaps the answer is for each of us to do our part, to educate our peers and our children, and let our representatives know what we want instead of attempting to decide what everyone else should do and trying to impose personal values to others.

I don't want to live in a wattle and daub hut burning dung and wood to heat my hut and cook my food, and eating what I kill or grow.

The Malthusian's never go away.

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#25
In reply to #3

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 7:19 PM

Morgan 23, Here, here! And Good Answer!

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#29
In reply to #3

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/29/2008 10:49 AM

Europe has been at the forefront of the enviornmentalist movement fining people for having barbeques and taxing anything is sight even driving into a city. The US Congress is beginning to take on the mantle of the imperial in deciding what we should and should not do. All this driven by a small group of junk science advocates.

There have been efforts made to prevent people from grilling and bbq'ing on the grounds that it was poluting and increasing their carbon foot print. The same goes for bond fires on the beach.

This is all BS. The force behind the junk science is the Eco Loby. In reality the Eco Loby is just the new home of the socialist left who's main aim is to trash the US economy. Also, they have found that through environmental activism they can push their agendas of social engineering. They would love nothing more than for everyone in the US to get rid of their car and either walk or ride a bike - afterall few people in the third world have cars, so why should the people in the US?

Oil is the fuel that drives the engine of the US economy and increasingly that of China and India. The fact remains, as the US economy goes, so goes the world economy. A weak US dollar is good initially for other economies, but in the long run is detrimental to the world economies. Another consequence of a weak dollar is high oil prices because oil is priced in US dollars on the world market.

Human activity is NOT responsible for the climate change we are experiencing. The earth spews all sorts of "green house gasses" every day. The sun goes in cycles and causes the earth to also go in cycles. How do you explain glaciers down as far as Wisconsin? What human activity caused the end of the ice age and the retreat of the glaciers which created so many glacial lakes?

If it was determined today that we had to raise the temperature of the earth two degrees, even one degree in the next ten or twenty years or die - we could not do it. If we can't do it on purpose we can't do it by accident.

Who is to say the climate we have now is optimum? Centuries ago I believe crops were grown in as far North as Greenland and Iceland which have not been able to grow in the past century.

Perhaps the climate we are headed toward will be getter than the one we have now. Perhaps it will be better for some areas of the world and worse for others. Who knows?

As far as oil goes - we need to suck every drop out of the ground we can at the rate that will allow the largest yield (not the fastest rate) and we need to get it everywhere it can be found.

Travis

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Anonymous Poster
#38
In reply to #29

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

08/11/2008 5:27 PM

I can not agree with your find that this was a good answer. Are you absolutely sure this answer was founded by scientific knowledge or real research. I believe it was founded solely on ones personal view. Nothing personal to you Travis...that is simply my view.

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#5

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 8:35 AM

Grass cuttings, there's the possible answer. Every one does it, that is harvest grass each week. We package it nicely as refuse awaiting pick-up from the street. A good portion of the energy spent is in the gathering and packaging. And, the the best part is, it costs nothing additional for the homeowner to produce. Now all we have to do is break it down element wise. Winters fuel comes from an abundant summer supply. Yes, even crabgrass counts. But, nah, this is too simple and doesn't line a politician's pockets. Will never fly. Big oil will chop it down. Oh well.

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#6

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 8:39 AM

well : look at this . do you not know other countries il well drillers are already there taking the oil so either we drill or we will be paying them for the oil we should have drilled for .

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#9
In reply to #6

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 10:11 AM

I see a trend here from our Texan friends...but Texas is an an Oil State. Bush and Cheny are oil men...

The current Bush administration has issued an unprecedented amount of permits for drilling and exploration to big oil. Less than half have been utilized, yet more are asked for. If you chart the dates and amount of land available through the issuance of those permits, and add a line for oil prices, you will see that as more permits have been issued, the cost of oil has increased - not decreased, as one would expect - the only thing that has increased is the profits of the oil companies.

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 10:48 AM

Nonsense. Another victim of the "oil company profits" blather in the media. Oil company profits, as reported by the "Media" are at an all time high. None-the-less, oil company profits, as a percent of gross revenue traditionally run lower than manufacturers at somewhere near 9.7% as opposed to 10+% for other manufacturers. Of course the profit numbers are at an all time high because the feedstock is at an all time high as is the volume being pumped. Percentage is a function of the gross sales.

I suggest that the writer look to the other beneficiaries of "profit" like the state and federal governments who contribute NOTHING to the production or delivery of the oil. I suggest that the multiple taxes exceed the oil company profits and the profit of the gas station owners. How's that for running up the cost unnecessarily?

The writer should keep in mind that the taxing bodies have a vested interest in keeping the pump price high because their return on no investment is a function of the base price i.e. infinite profit. Not whining about that I see. The writer should look to, as the culprits, the Congress and others that keep the supply low to run the price up. Just today, I heard the whail of the pundits that pointed out that the road repair budgets will suffer because, !!!SURPRISE!!!, higher gas cost has caused the American public to drive less and use less gas. Who would have thought? Even that is a lie because the taxes are a percentage of the pump price so a reduction in gallons pumped is indeed a loss but the gasoline tax revenue is at an all time high....just like the oil company profits.

Whenever governments artificially meddle in the free market they cause the inevitable unintended consequence. They never learn.

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 11:25 AM

I'm missing something here. You state the government taxes rise as a percentage of the gasoline price so government wants higher base prices. I am lead to belive that gasoline is taxed on a per gallon basis.

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#16
In reply to #11

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 12:46 PM

State and local taxes, in my state are a percentage of sales amount. Some federal taxes are indeed per gallon but the state, county and city taxes are as high as 11% in the Union of Democratic Socialist County of Cook, City of Chicago, Illinois. That's for doing nothing!

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 12:56 PM

What a crock! In most states and counties the gas tax goes to pay for road building and maintenance, and sometimes for public transport. Most of us don't consider that to be doing nothing. Whether or not the building and maintaining of roads is done responsibly in your area is another matter.

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#23
In reply to #17

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 2:37 PM

That does not alter the fact that the state et. al. do nothing to process the oil nor do they do it efficiently. They spend the road tax money with their friends and supporters to assure their re-election. Rarely is it efficient.

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#26
In reply to #23

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 8:54 PM

From your post #20:

Yes there are anti-everything types who self-identify with the 'environmental' movement, and they often do hold nut-case opinions. That does not mean they are typical of the movement, any more than the white supremacists are typical of the conservative movement. More to the point, these are not the people who have the ear of any effective legislators or bureaucrats of either party, and it is not their hare-brained schemes that are being enacted into law. To suggest that these deluded fools are the backbone or the brains of the environmental movement to me suggests that you are not really serious about this. It sounds like you are repeating the straw man arguments that form the bulk of the oil industries talking points.

So yes we do need to educate our selves, our children, and our neighbors about this subject, and we need to take concrete steps to deal with the problems caused by high fuel prices, but to parrot the talking points of either the neo-neanderthals on the fringes of the environmental movement or of the oil industry is no way to deal with such an important and complex subject.

For post #22:

Yes oil prices are high everywhere, and are not just a local problem for the US. The rising demand in China and India, and the higher recovery costs for drilling in inhospitable areas drive the costs up for everyone. But to my mind that doesn't let Bush and Co. off the hook, because they are still responsible for their share of the problem: increased instability in the Middle East (which adds a war-time premium to the price), the falling dollar (which raises the price in dollars), and the swarm of well healed speculators looking for a place to invest all their tax-break money (they aren't dumb enough to invest in the stock or real estate markets).

For post #23:

It is true that local governments building and maintaining roads does not increase the supply of gas, but they do add to its value. The value of gas is dependent on the presence of roads and cars to drive on them. Without cars and roads the demand and price for oil would plummet. The whole thing needs to be looked at as a system. You are an engineer, so I'm surprised you don't grasp that.

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#50
In reply to #26

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

09/07/2008 8:59 PM

If "Bush and his Cronies" are the root of this problem, how do you explain the existence of this debate for many years prior to his election to the office of President? I think this situation has origins in much more profound issues. Issues of a philosophical nature related to conflicting worldviews. The practical solutions to problems of a physical nature have never been beyond the collective inginuity of mankind.

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#32
In reply to #17

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/29/2008 11:08 AM

Most of the tax on gasoline does go toward road projects but not all.

Gas taxes are based on the gallon, not the price.

It is true that the government profits more on a gallon of gas than the oil companies and it is true that the government does nothing to produce a drop of oil - rather does a lot to impede the production of gas and oil.

Washington State has the highest gas tax in the country and it is scheduled to continu to increase. The govenor and transportation department have seen a bottomlss pit of cash and have spent very unwisely on road projects in the state. Now, over spent and caught short, they can not increase the gas tax beyond what is in place now. Now, their solution is an added tax when you renew your licence tabs based on the displacement of your vehicle's engine. For my Dodge 1500 van with a 318 and a Ford Winstar with a 3.6 l engine the increase would come to about $600 a year extra to pay.

Rather than figuring how to pare the cost and scope of the road projects they have decided to plow ahead. If it were your household budget you would have to reexamine your costs and make some cuts.

The government - federal, state and local all have their collective hand stuck out and in our pocket. Far too many people say, "the government will pay for it." The government does not create any money - the government only confiscates and redistributes money.

Travis

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#34
In reply to #32

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/29/2008 1:11 PM

The government - federal, state and local all have their collective hand stuck out and in our pocket. Far too many people say, "the government will pay for it." The government does not create any money - the government only confiscates and redistributes money.

Hi Travis,

Virtually every road in this country was built by and is owned by our government - federal, state or local. If we didn't have this transport system our economy would be a tiny fraction of its current size. Without the means to bring a product to the market, most of the economic activities that we participate in every day would be lost. That's why businesses cluster along transportation routes. So I would argue that the government does 'create' wealth, by creating the conditions (roads) that allow commerce to grow.

We all know this, so we pay our taxes to our governments and they use our taxes to build and maintain our road system. Sometimes we get our money's worth, and often we don't. The critical factor here is the prevailing levels of greed and incompetence that we as a society agree to tolerate. Right now all the available evidence suggests that we in the US have an enormous tolerance for greed and incompetence.

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#21
In reply to #16

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 2:10 PM

So...move??

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#49
In reply to #21

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

09/07/2008 8:48 PM

To where??????

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#12
In reply to #10

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 12:00 PM

Sir

Do you actually believe that oil profits are not at an all time high, and typical manufacturing profits run 10% plus...? Profits for American manufacturers actually run closer to 1% during a good year. Yet we don't get the preferred tax breaks Bush and his cronies have handed big oil.

I (and I am sure many major international news syndicates) would sincerely appreciate an opportunity to review your research, and/or access to your sources.

I'm sure President would like to have that information made available as well, so he could dispute the "media blather" with some sort of credibility.

I would offer that international news agencies have no conspiracy against oil companies, and that their resources may be somewhat more reliable than unsupported "blather Your statement sounds like much of the media feed spouted by the current administration; when scrutinized, doesn't hold water - or oil, for that matter.

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#22
In reply to #12

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 2:17 PM

If, as you contend, manufacturers make only 1% in a good year, why pray tell, would they even be in business? One can invest his dollars in a bank and draw 2% without even looking for a higher rate. That is double what you contend. Absolute nonsense!

Perhaps you are dazzled by by big numbers.

Am I to believe that only oil companies make these profits because "Bush and his cronnies" give them subsidies? If that were true, oil prices would only be high in the US but they are high everywhere and in Europe they are even higher. Most oil companies are not even US owned, there are only two I think. Look elsewhere for your boggy-man.

The Socialist mind is constantly looking for successful companies to penalize. Today Big Oil, tomorrow Big Food then the search for any other high profit business.

Venezuela is a good place to live gas is only $.18/ gallon or perhaps the Utopian Cuba.

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#24
In reply to #22

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 2:37 PM

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE6D6133CF930A2575AC0A96E948260 Perhaps you assume that all manufacturers are huge corporations. We are a small company, and yes; 1% profit after paying wages and benefits is an acceptable goal while competing in the global economy. At least we're still here, after watching several of our competitors fall by the wayside. I suppose you would rather ALL of the manufacturing go to China, Taiwon or Vietnam. We provide jobs for our neighbors in the communities we live in, go to church in and contribute to...but you probably see that as a socialist concept as well. Extending a hand to help your brother up may be a socialist concept in your mind, but is has deep christian roots as well, roots that this nation was founded on. Peace and charity be with you, for one day you may truly be in need.

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#37
In reply to #10

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

08/09/2008 11:06 PM

If it costs you $1.80 to make your product and you sell it for $2 you make a 10% profit. A profit of 20 cents per unit. Sell 1 million units and you have made $200,000.

If it costs you $3.60 to make your product and you sell it for $4 you make a 10% profit. A profit of 40 cents per unit. Sell 1 million units and you have made $400,000.

The number of dollars of profit has doubled yet you make the same percentage. Some people decry this as an obscene windfall profit because they can only think in numbers of dollars and have to sense of fair business income. They think that taking some of what they "feel" are excess profits, on the basis of "they made twice as much money, when the people we care about are hurting", will encourage the business to cut its own throat and lower prices and percentage of profit. Whatever amount is taxed away by a windfall profits tax simply becomes and added cost of doing business.

You are right Morgan, but this is a simplified example for a complex subject which others may understand better. You are spot on about the politicians wanting to protect their tax base and about the taxes being a percentage of the price, showing that they are doing what they do best. Lying.

Speculation drove oil prices up as much as supply and demand. As soon as Bush removed the presidential ban on offshore drilling, gas prices dropped. When McCain said he favored drilling, they dropped. Then Obama said he would consider drilling and prices dropped again. Within 2 months gas prices went down about 50 cents and no one drilled or built a refinery.

While I agree that we cannot drill our way out of the problem, we may be able to delay it long enough to get other systems operational. That is providing that the politicians and courts stop letting radical environmentalists delay and add huge legal costs to every new energy plant and a certain political party stops listening to them and does what the people really want.

Saw a news article about Brit radical environmentalists demonstrating against building a new electric generating plant. The probably think electricity comes from wall outlets. If I ran the electric company I'd shut down their electricity to make up for the amount I couldn't generate because of their opposition. See how they like it. Put up or shut up. It could be amusing. LOL

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#40
In reply to #37

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

08/22/2008 4:34 PM

hello taganan,

i just read an article in the new york times about how denmark started a drive for energy self sufficiency right after the oil embargo of 73. they have been so successful that they no longer import fossil fuels. as a by-product they have become the world leaders in solar cells and wind power. oh, by the way, they drove this by doubling the price of fossil fuels with taxes so that alternative energy could compete. there, wind power provides 20% of their nations energy needs.

so, who is better off, us or them. us with our heads in the sand and our leaders in big oils pockets, or them with energy independence. i would rather be taxed for clean alternative power than have polluted beaches or nuclear power messes. one is just money, which is worthless anyway, the other is death and survitude to big oil.

so, i say, double the cost of gasoline with taxes. just make sure none of that tax money makes it into big oil's pockets. put it into our children's future.

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#41
In reply to #40

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

08/23/2008 12:13 AM

First, it would be possible to tax any alternatives to the point where the most outrageously expensive energy source would seem cheap. That is coercion by taxation and not in keeping with most peoples sense of being right and just. The second point is where and how the taxes would be used, and knowing politicians, the tax money collected would be used for all kinds of projects unrelated to energy. Then they have taxed personal autos out of the reach of the common people and made them accessible only to the rich elites who can afford them. This restricts the ability of the people to travel.

The higher the cost of energy the dimmer our children's future will be, literally. To be really sure that tax money does not get into the hands of the people running those companies, don't pass the taxes, don't give the politicians that much control.

It is better to gradually shift from oil as it gets scarcer. Unfortunately speculators had driven up the price, which dropped drastically when the presidential ban was lifted and both candidates allowed the possibility of increasing the supply. If we were determined to have energy independence we could make synthetic gasoline from coal and make it as clean or cleaner than oil and no more expensive. The greenies won't have it and insist on wind and solar power which are inadequate and too costly.

By the way, the oil companies were making about 12% profit when gas cost $2 a gallon and 12% profit when gas cost $4 a gallon, so their profit did not go up. It was just the number of $ in that profit that doubled, That doesn't make Big Oil evil, but it does show the silliness of those who hate Big Oil because they hate companies that make profits.

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#42
In reply to #41

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

08/23/2008 4:44 AM

hello taganan,

actually we should feel sorry for big oil. recently read why they are pursuing off shore drilling. it is because before the early 70's oil embargo, big oil controlled 50% of the oil production of the world. with the rise of state owned oil companies (russia, china, iraq, iran, saudi arabia, venzuela, et all, that percentage has dropped to where today big oil only controls 13% of production. and worse that 13% is in old proven areas that are being pumped dry. since no one else will let big oil have their oil cheap, the only source left is here in the USA, where our government lets them have it cheap. the rest of the world wised up and said no more to big oil. now they make the big bucks. so, there is really not a shortage of oil at all. there is enough oil for hundreds of years. the choice we have is to either pay the going price or change to alternative energy. oh yeah, we could also pump all of our oil out of the ground so that 100% of our oil came from overseas state owned oil companies. or we could invade some more oil producing countries and set our armies on top of their oil fields.

so, tell me, which of these alternatives do you think we should do?

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#43
In reply to #42

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

08/24/2008 9:08 PM

artbyjoe- if big oil is really in the situation you have described and if oil supplies are now in control of governments of countries which in many cases hate us "russia, china, iraq, iran, saudi arabia, venzuela, et all" [sic], then we should declare our oil a strategic resource which cannot be exported. It makes it even more necessary to pump as much of our own, for our own use, as we can, until we get other energy sources into operation. Making synthetic gasoline from coal is worth whatever it costs, if it deprives our enemies of our constant outflow of money.

I won't quibble about pricing as long as it is done honestly and competitively. Synthetic gas would sell competitively on the open market, probably for less than oil-gas. We could export it. Might have to tell some greenies to go hug a tree, but it would provide centuries that may be needed to perfect cheap nano-cell batteries and fusion power.

By the way we have never invaded to steal some other country's oil, unlike some pious Europeans. We want each country to continue to be able to sell their own oil and not to the benefit of a murdering dictator. Except for Iraq, we do not have any armies on top of their oil fields and in Iraq we are trying to protect them from those who would blow them up before the Iraqis can put them back into production again. There never has been any intention to take their oil or to occupy them forever. Keeping a few military bases there is no different than our having bases in Germany or Japan for over 50 years.

If the thought of there being a possibility of drilling our own oil has brought down gas prices, then what would actual drilling do? What would making synthetic gas do? Buy us time to get those alternatives without sending billions of dollars into oil producer's pockets so they can buy guns to kill us perhaps. So I wonder about Americans and American politicians who are so determined that we use their risky schemes to force a very expensive conversion in energy and to downgrade our standard of living in the process. We are not Danes and should not be forced to live like Danes by some foolish politicians and "green" types. What mode of transportation we choose is up to us and what we can afford in a open and free market. Taxing fuel exorbitantly to force a behavior is not freedom, it's sneaky, back-door dictatorship.

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#45
In reply to #43

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

08/25/2008 9:44 PM

Bravo!! Taganan, You and I do not often agree, but for these replies I would give you a standing ovation, (if I could that is).

Good Answers.

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#52
In reply to #40

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

09/07/2008 10:40 PM

Just how would you go about making sure the money is responsibly spent?? We can't keep tabs on what is already being taken!!

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#31
In reply to #9

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/29/2008 10:57 AM

Just because they have a permit to drill in certain areas does not mean there is oil there. The oil companies have a number of land leases. I believe they have to secure the lease before they can do detailed exploration (which comes before drilling). They may find oil, they may not. They may find oil but determine it is not cost effective to drill for with current technology or oil prices.

If you want oil prices to come down you have to increase supply, lower demand and strengthen the US dollar. Any one will do that, any combination will lower prices more, all three will lower the prices the most.

Travis

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#36
In reply to #31

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

08/09/2008 12:58 PM

reply to post #31

there is no way that we can drill our way out of this problem of over consumption and greed. we produce 3% of the worlds energy and use 30% of the worlds energy.

conservation does work.

alternative energy does work.

lowering the energy needs per person does work.

drilling will not lower artificially high prices.

the falling dollar is beyond hope. the U.S. has debased the dollar to its current level, and there is no incentive to the government to strengthen it. they prefer inflationary dollars.

just wait until we get to hyper-stagflation. this will look like the good old days.

take oil out of the local transportation equation. that will work dramaticly.

solar powered homes will dramaticly lower demand for oil and natural gas.

and finaly, what is the true renumeration from the oil companies to our government and us for a gallon of gas sold to us. i do not know these numbers, and i would appreciate any realistic reply. my guess is that it is a few cents.

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#44
In reply to #36

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

08/24/2008 11:00 PM

Run out the old rhetoric again, saying Americans are evil because "we produce 3% of the worlds energy and use 30% of the worlds energy." If we reduced to the 3% we produce, not only would our economy crumble but that of the entire world.

Conservation does work. It reduces electrical bills for many stores which have skylights, to have the electric lights turn off in sequence when not needed. Energy Star ratings have also lowered electric use. Requiring more insulation in new buildings has lowered heating bills.

Alternative energy does work, just not as well as you desire. I do not deny that there are places for solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, biofuels, however they cannot as yet produce enough energy to replace the use of oil, coal, waterpower or nuclear sources and are not likely to in anything less than a century or two.

By building more efficient machines, electrical devices, homes and vehicles the energy needs per person will be lowered. However, just by raising prices through taxes on all these items one could accomplish the same goal. This is where freedom comes in and our standard of living. If the savings in cost of energy is greater than the increase in price, then it will work. If all you do is force people to have less, thus lower energy needs in that way, you are a totalitarian jerk.

You cannot take oil out of the transportation equation suddenly, that would have disastrous consequences on the economy. It will take many decades and new cost-effective energy sources and vehicles.

Solar powered homes can in time dramatically lower home heating and electrical costs. They will be built that way if it is cost-effective, without any tax breaks. A lot of building codes and restrictions need to be changed too. When it becomes cost-effective to retrofit all the existing structures through tax incentives and loans, that too would be good.

"what is the true renumeration from the oil companies to our government and us for a gallon of gas sold to us." "my guess is that it is a few cents." What arrogant nonsense! The oil companies pay taxes like any other big international company of their type and avoid as many as legally possible. The number of cents or dollars does not matter, only that they pay a similar percentage as any other company, which it is likely that they do. If the percentage of profit stays the same then the total number of dollars of profit is fair. If the percentage of taxes paid on those dollars stays the same the total taxes paid are fair.

The dollar is just a symbol of the value of labor versus other goods or services. As in the Johnny Cash song "two hours of pushin' broom gets a 6X12 two-bit room". In other words two hours of work was equal to the rent of the room. How many hours of washing dishes is equal to a meal in a restaurant? When the restaurant owner gives you 2 tickets for meals, will the motel keeper take one for the rent of a room? That's where money comes in as a way of keeping track of value. Governments devalue it to pay off foreign debt [see Germany after WWI - I have several billion Marks]. Governments also devalue the money to buy votes, like raising the minimum wage [and thus all wages] which increases all prices and makes each dollar worth less. How neat! They pay off debts for 35% less, blame everyone else for rising prices and everyone loves them for giving them more dollars. Guess which party? Then when the burger combo costs $7.50, the same as minimum wage, and all the prices have adjusted to where the minimum wagers don't make a "living wage" the same party will want to raise it to $12 or $15 per hour, further devaluing the dollar. Before long we will use no coin less than a dollar and it will be small and made of aluminum while bread will be $225 a loaf, but you can still earn 3 loaves an hour. I foresee a constant inflation just to pay off debts. One party has been more than responsible for taxing and spending and spending and spending.

We are probably in less disagreement than you think over energy. I just am not going to be pushed into a crisis-mode mentality in which everything must be solved immediately if not sooner and I very much doubt most people will. You may be driven by the GW crisis. Well, the Earth has been warming since the deep cold of the Little Ice Age in 1600 and doing it on its own. Before 1200 you could grow wheat in Greenland, as the Vikings did. You still can't grow wheat in Greenland, too cold. I'll admit Climate Change, but see it as natural, which is why I think using coal will be a viable way to facilitate the change to other forms of energy and do not see it as a crisis, just important.

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#30
In reply to #6

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/29/2008 10:53 AM

There are areas in the Gulf of Mexico, off the US coast where the Chinese are drilling for oil and are basing out of Cuba that US oil companies are prohibited from drilling because of the congress placing areas off limits. The eco loby gets it's way and we pay.

Travis

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#7

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 9:37 AM

American consumers need a real solution. Despite a multi-million

dollar lobbying campaign from oil companies to convince the

nation otherwise, the public is increasingly in agreement with

experts who assert that opening vast amounts of public lands and

waters will not lower the prices we face at the pump.

Do the research, study the history, try to realize that to destroy or damage fragile inhabitants of a species is not a viable answer to any immediate problems.

http://action.wilderness.org/campaign/sensible_drilling

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 10:00 AM

- fragile habitats...

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#48
In reply to #7

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

09/05/2008 4:06 PM

SPIJman-

Friends don't dictate to their friends what vehicle they should drive! The simple withdrawal of a presidential ban on offshore drilling dropped oil prices. Having both candidates, albeit one grudgingly, accept that drilling may be needed also brought down prices. Actually drilling and pumping some oil from our own reserves will aid in keeping oil prices down for a time. Perhaps long enough to use CNG, synthetic fuels from coal and get energy supplements from other sources to give us time to make cheap, small high energy batteries and develop fusion power.

There are twice as many polar bears now as there were over 20 yrs ago. Warmer climate means more plants and animals for them to eat, so the young ones adapt. The caribou think the extra warmth of the pipeline is great, brings on that breeding feeling, so there are more caribou. Habitats change naturally all the time, without any influence by Man and we can't stop it.

The lives and well-being of people come before those of wild animals and plants. Do you favor population reduction? Wilderness areas where people would be prohibited? Do you think everyone should be an organic, raw food, vegetarian? Do you oppose timber companies cutting down trees? Do you want people to stop using fireplaces, BBQ grills and using any fossil fuels because of CO2? Would you like to see laws to make people do all these things so we can "Save the Planet"? I would like to know your positions on these things

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#13

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 12:13 PM

I am deeply suspicious. The energy industry has enormous sway in Washington, especially for the last several years, and this smells just a bit like a setup.

  • I'm not arguing that the current oil shortage is a scam. It is quite real, and many of the causes are beyond the control of our domestic energy industry. But the American public takes great pride in its ignorance of the wider world, and most people didn't see this coming. Of course the oil companies and their conservative supporters did see it coming, and now the shortage is being manipulated and packaged for maximum economic and political gain.
  • It's not that we don't need more domestic oil - its just that the oil companies could have been drilling on the offshore leases they already hold. I'm sure that they have a song and dance ready about how these leases just aren't worth drilling right now. Since they have all the data we're supposed to just trust them.
  • For the US market the real problem is refinery capacity. Somehow after seven years of a White House run by and for the oil industry, with a Congress eager to do whatever the President asks, and a Federal Court system packed with conservative judges, we are supposed to believe that those damn environmentalists hold all the power, and they won't let the poor little oil companies build any more refineries.

I suspect the oil companies will win this round. People are being hurt by the new price schedule, and they want somebody to do something - anything - to help. And who will help the little guy? Why the oil companies of course. They will (sort of) promise that if we give them everything they want: subsidies, the entire continental shelf, Alaska, freedom from environmental regulation, control of the alternative energy market, immunity from anti-trust laws, etc., that probably (just maybe) oil prices will come down. This is pure BS, but it is clever BS. The public is not clever, so this strategy will probably work.

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#19
In reply to #13

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 1:32 PM

Big oil is likely to raise oil prices rather than lower them, and will cite diminishing world-wide supplies as a necessity to do so. Remember; we not only need oil for fuel, but for plastics used in computer components, medical equipment and practically every house-hold item used on a daily basis. Therefore we need to refrain from using our continental (untapped) reserves, and continue to feed off the middle-eastern supplies as long as we are able. The United States will be in a much more secure position when our mid-east neighbors run out of oil (leaving us with untapped supplies) and we no longer rely on petroleum products to fuel our vehicles. We not only need to look at alternative fuels (like Brazil - see attached) but we also need to develop (and patent) alternative materials as a substitute for petroleum derived products. I expect the oil companies will make huge investments in this area, and will be looking to convert or construct new refineries. Meantime, they will do their best to squeeze all of the milk they can out of an already sick cow - at the highest profits possible. http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0505/p04s01-woam.html

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#47
In reply to #13

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

09/05/2008 3:34 PM

"the oil companies could have been drilling on the offshore leases they already hold." Perhaps there is no oil there, perhaps they hold a lease, but are not permitted to drill for oil. Don't just repeat the Obama mantra. With the price of oil, it is worth drilling offshore, so there must be some level of government getting in the way. Most likely there are environmental lawsuits stopping them from drilling.

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#18

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/28/2008 1:05 PM

No. 2 years is a drop in the bucket. We need to get serious about getting off petroleum and develop alternative energy sources and conservation. Might as well kick the addiction now as later.

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#27

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/29/2008 7:57 AM

Yes, I think we should. We need to boldly explore for more reserves in this country, rather than needlessly shackling ourselves and giving more income to countries who want to kill us. We need time to develop alternate forms of energy, such as solar, electric, and wind. Hypothetically, is it going to be worth it to watch the price of corn products increase 8-fold again? That's what's going to happen with our continued plan of ethanol. Hypothetically, would it be worth it to pursue a college education? Why, you won't get any benefits for at least 4 years. Besides, no one really knows how much oil and gas is available there. Someone says 2 years, but they don't really know. It might be much larger.

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#33

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

07/29/2008 12:07 PM

What to say to short sightedness?

The oil in the ground is not ours until we pull it out. Right now china is pulling oil from the outer continental shelf(OCS) in the gulf. An area that American firms are denied the ability to drill in. Holding back for whatever reason just means the the oil has already gone somewhere else. The policy of not drilling will soon mean we never get it. I am all for using alternative/renewable energy where possible. Right now those alternatives just are not developed enough to make up enough energy to satisfy normal growth. Until they are developed, not drilling is hurting our children and their futures. That is extremely short sited. The extremists that are stopping the development of oil resources are too short sighted to see the harm they do in the long run. Alternative energies and the infrastructure to deliver then need time to mature. Not using the resources we have that are being also used by others means; it takes longer to develop the alternatives; it means we are sending money to the middle east to help support those who want us gone;it means that when we do get around to using them there is a lot less to use because we have let others have it. Several wrongs don't make a right. Lastly who do you think is going to be the more environmentally friendly entity that pulls the oil out of the gulf - USA or China. If there is a spill who will do a better job of clean up in the gulf?

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#53
In reply to #33

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

09/07/2008 10:59 PM

silvCrow-

GA. As someone said, "Why start college if you are not positive you will get an "A" in every course? You won't see any results until after 4 years and there is no guarantee that you will get a good job and lots of money."

No one knows how much oil is off-shore or in ANWR or in the oil shales. I'm looking toward the development of: 1. a small, light, cheap, high energy battery. Then we can have 400 mile range EVs whatever size we want and they will cost the same as cars do now. We can have banks of these batteries at wind and solar plants to supply power when the wind stops or the sun goes down. Only then will wind and solar power be practical for 24/7 power. 2. We need to develop fusion power generators for clean power.

Until then I agree that we should drill wherever and pump as much of our own oil as possible, declare it a strategic resource that can only be sold here and build more refineries. We will also do it cleaner and safer than the Chinese, who ignore our drilling regulations. We should also make synthetic fuels from coal, having several centuries supply. That should buy us enough time to develop the batteries and fusion power.

Until then, switching to steam-electric plug-in EVs would allow for the use of multiple fuels in a very clean car that would have high mpg.

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#54
In reply to #53

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

09/07/2008 11:38 PM

surprisingly i agree with almost everything you said. still don't buy the drill, drill, drill concept, as it won't help. fusion power most likely will never come about in our lifetime. i have not followed fusion power in a while, but the last i heard, it was a dead horse as far as practicality. it has horrible radiation problems. it took 10 years to go from military use of fission to fission nuclear reactors. it has been 50 years since military started using fussion, and we still do not have a fusion reactor, nor is one anticipated any time soon. a hydrogen nuclear bomb is a fusion reaction. i wouldn't hold your breath waiting for it or depending upon it.

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#57
In reply to #53

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

09/08/2008 1:44 AM

I'm curious. I like the idea of the steam/electric cars, but what fuel source would be used to generate the steam onboard? If the steam engines are so efficient, why not use them to power the car directly? Also, just how far away is feasible fusion power? I understood that technology was at least 40 to 50 years away. Or was that just cold fusion?

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#58
In reply to #57

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

09/08/2008 9:00 PM

It depends. If you are talking about Hydrogen-Hydrogen fusion, (more likely Deuterium-Tritium), then twenty to thirty years is likely for a working system. A system similar in operation to the current coal fired plant might take another ten, provided the designers are allowed to bring it out to the public grid.

History shows that any new technologies and ideas will only be permitted if they serve those who control the money supply. For example: George Westinghouse cut funding to Nikola Tesla's energy projects when he could not put a "meter" on it's usage.

On the other side of the technology, Helium 3 fusion has been proven to work. It produces energy in the same range as H-H fusion, it can be contained by ELECTROSTATIC fields, and produces very low levels of radiation.

The major stumbling block to HE3 fusion is the lack of it in large quatities on Earth. It is in a usable volume on the Moon, plus it can be "mined", if you will, directly from the solar wind, as the Sun produces millions of tons daily.

Regards Dragon

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#35

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

08/01/2008 1:59 PM

No, because it would relax our innovative sense and stiffle our search for energy alternatives. As the saying goes, need is the mother of invention, or something like that.

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#39

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

08/18/2008 1:03 AM

Pump all the oil we can for as long as we can to keep our economy going. While we are doing that develop every possible other source of energy that is cost effective. Do everything affordable to prevent pollution and CO2 is not pollution. Ignore the environmental whackos who would like to see most of humanity die off and the remainder live in a new Stone Age. There is no large-scale source of energy that is not opposed by some environmental group. The militants in PETA and the vegan militants, plus those dead set against fire as a source of CO2 and the radical animal and plant rights types all have agendas which would have fewer people, using no animals, eating no meat or animal products and living on raw vegetables they grubbed out using the stone tools, because there is no fire to cook or smelt metal. Most of them are just deluded people who have no idea of what their aims would lead to. Unfortunately they wield great influence in one political party, which has leaders who also oppose drilling for oil.

Okay, so it is a cartoon of these people, but there is some truth to it, which makes it sadly funny.

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#51
In reply to #39

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

09/07/2008 10:37 PM

Personally, I think if they were really serious about a smaller population, they would start with themselves and leave the rest of us to go about our business.

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#55
In reply to #51

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

09/07/2008 11:57 PM

One can only wish. They aren't bloody likely to off themselves, convinced that it's their duty to convince everyone else to do so.

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#56
In reply to #55

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

09/08/2008 1:38 AM

Sounds like some other guys we all love to hate.....can you say Stalin or maybe Obam.....er.....Osama???

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#59

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

09/09/2008 11:35 AM

oil n gas is energy with we almost use in many job

from car,power plant,gas plant,in word we very need that energy

but are we thing use for next generation are we want give the next generation no energy and give them polution from smoke gas and oil burn

the answer is give me alternatif energi

not from fosil energi

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#60

Re: Black Gold in the Deep Blue

09/09/2008 12:02 PM

Yes indeed they should simply because it is a needed resource at present and it will take some time to bring it to useful market. I was born and raised on the Mississippi/Louisiana Coast. I have been amongst tidal and offshore drilling rigs most of my life. The oil companies do a rather strong job in protection of the enviornment and you will find that in most instances (99%); the envionment is enhanced by the presence of the rigs. After drilling has been completed, the companies come in and repair any damages caused while drilling. In offshore rigs, fishing is best next to the rigs than anywhere else. I have yet to see in over 40 years, any serious contamination caused from associated drilling. This is not to say that there is never any. Of course there is but it is a miniumum and it is corrected when it occurs. Oil companies make a fortune off our resourses. The last thing they want is problems so they take corrective actions to prevent problems. Makes sense dosen't it? Those who claim to be enviormentalists and object to offshore drilling; should do a little more research. We need it! Drill for it now! No! I am not an oil company employee, exec., engineer consultant, shareholder nor any other association to them. I am simply an aware American that knows until alternatives come along; we need the oil and natural gas NOW!

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