In the Pipeline: 3/30/12

If some is good, more is better Yahoo (3/29/12) reports: An outside group with ties to conservative causes on Thursday launched a $3.6 million ad buy lashing out at President Barack Obama’s energy record, blaming him for rising gas prices and his decision to delay the Keystone XL pipeline project…The ads aired in eight states by the American Energy Alliance seek to undercut Obama’s message that he has increased oil drilling and pushed to develop renewable energy sources, and came as the president unsuccessfully pressured Congress to cut billions of dollars in subsidies for oil companies…The ad, called “Nine dollar gas,” says gas prices have nearly doubled on Obama’s watch and criticizes his opposition to oil drilling in Alaska, his effort to block the Keystone XL pipeline and the administration’s decision to provide more than $500 million in federal loans to solar company Solyndra, which later went bankrupt.

It is tragic and ridiculous that Canadians are better at anything than we are Oil Daily (subscription) (3/29/12) reports: The Canadian government presented a federal budget on Thursday which includes at least one provision that should go down well with the country’s oil and gas industry….One of the key elements is an initiative to shift environmental reviews for natural resources projects to provincial governments. The idea is to reduce regulatory delays faced by energy and mining companies which are pursuing large infrastructure projects…The new guidelines will limit environmental reviews to a maximum of two years…And in a surprise twist, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said the new regulatory process will also apply to environmental reviews that are currently underway, including the hearings on Enbridge’s controversial Northern Gateway pipeline from northern Alberta to the Pacific coast.

Sometimes this business just makes me tired all over.  So let’s do some math.  If I give you $41 billion a year, and you give me $4 billion back, which of us is subsidizing the other one?  How can anyone take the crew that started this conversation by asking the House of Wahhabis for more oil seriously? Yahoo (3/29/12) reports: President Barack Obama’s plea to Congress to end $4 billion in tax subsidies to oil companies was rebuffed Thursday as the Senate turned back a Democratic bill to repeal the tax breaks…Moments after Obama made his election-year appeal in the White House Rose Garden, the Senate failed to reach the threshold of votes needed to proceed to a measure that would have ended the subsidies. Obama had argued that Americans are getting hit twice — once at the gas pump, and once more by sending billions of dollars in tax subsidies to oil companies.

I have no idea why this guy seems surprised.  I mean, what are the odds that environmentalists would be opposed to energy projects?  But the best part is buried in the story:  the guy who runs CAISO (the grid operator) in California admits that the State’s renewable energy mandate is going to further destabilize the grid and compromise reliability.  As tragic, doomed California sinks deeper into the quicksand Forbes (3/29/12) reports: The North American Electric Reliability Corp. says that if a national grid is not built out then renewables will suffer. It says that 11,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines are needed to ensure that the lights stay on for the next decade. The paradox is that many green groups want to first encourage more conservation before considering transmission — lines that would carry wind and solar electrons. “The California grid is unstable and it is likely to become even more unstable,” as an increasing amount of green energy is required by state mandate, says Bob Foster, who heads the California Independent System Operator that serves as the state’s traffic cop for the transmission grid.

Ramming speed….Law 360 (3/20/12) reports: Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. on Wednesday won a court order blocking Greenpeace Inc. activists from barricading or occupying its drilling ships bound for the Arctic until October, which will be months after the oil giant plans to kick off exploratory drilling…A federal judge in Alaska upgraded Shell’s temporary restraining order against Greenpeace to a preliminary injunction, finding that Shell could face irreparable harm without it.

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