In the Pipeline: 3/8/12

If only these guys had positions of authority, and resources they could use to address these issues, and . . . oh wait . ..National Journal (3/7/12) reports: Leaders of some of the world’s biggest oil and natural gas companies are issuing a plea to their industry to do a better job managing what they call the “shale gale”—vast resources of shale natural gas recently discovered throughout the United States and in other countries…“Let’s be honest, as an industry, we have not always done our best to engage in the public debates about these issues,” Peter Voser, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, said on Wednesday at a speech during a major energy conference here. “This has resulted in some misconceptions taking root, especially about the impact of hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking.’ ”…Fracking is a controversial process where large amounts of water, chemicals, and sand are pumped into a well at high pressures to fracture rock and allow natural gas to escape. Environmental groups and residents who live near natural gas wells are concerned about potential water contamination.

So, it turns out that we don’t need to give Boone Pickens a bunch of our money.  Nor do we need to give Aubrey McClendon a bunch of our money.  Which is good, because those dudes are billionaires, and here at the Pipeline we are barely thousandaires.  It is also good because McClendon insists on bankrolling attacks ($100 million to the Lung Association, $25 million to the Sierra Club) on those who have concerns about EPA Yahoo (3/7/12) reports: More natural gas-powered vehicles will hit the market soon, as rising gasoline prices, booming natural gas production and proposed tax credits make them a more attractive option. But they’re a long way from being a common sight in U.S. driveways…Starting in July, Chrysler will sell a Ram 2500 Heavy Duty pickup that runs on compressed natural gas (CNG). The truck has both gasoline and natural gas storage tanks, and the engine shifts automatically between the two, without the driver needing to push a switch. The truck can run for 255 miles on natural gas and the range is extended to 367 miles using gasoline.

Actually, Mr. President, the fuel of the future is here and it’s oil Fox News (3/7/12) reports: President Barack Obama on Wednesday dismissed oil as “the fuel of the past” as he made an unapologetic election-year pitch for his alternative energy industry policies and sniped at Republicans over painfully high gasoline prices…”They get out on the campaign trail—and you and I both know there are no quick fixes to this problem—but listening to them, you’d think there were,” he said at a Daimler Truck manufacturing plant in the battleground state of North Carolina…Obama said that because the United States accounts for 20 percent of the world’s consumption of oil but has only 2 percent of its petroleum reserves, “we’re not going to be able to just drill our way out of the problem of high gas prices. Anybody who tells you otherwise either doesn’t know what they’re talking about or they aren’t telling you the truth.”

Speaking of which, does President Obama own stock in oil companies? Why else would he artificially make oil more expensive? Bloomberg (3/7/12) reports: U.S. House Republicans sought to link rising gasoline prices with President Barack Obama’s restrictions on offshore drilling and denial of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, an argument rejected by Democrats…The Obama administration lacks the power to stem the increase, Democratic lawmakers said, and an energy analyst said U.S. consumers should get accustomed to price swings at the pump driven by consumers outside the U.S…Prices will “gyrate wildly” as demand increases in Asia and other emerging economies, Robert McNally, president of the Rapidan Group LLC, a Bethesda, Maryland-based energy research firm, said…“There is no silver bullet for a short-term solution,” he said, echoing words used by Obama in a Feb. 23 speech.

I wonder how this talking point is going to be graphed onto President Obama’s speeches on the economy Reuters (3/7/12) reports: A booming U.S. oil and gas sector was responsible for generating some 9 percent of all new jobs last year, with three indirect jobs for every one directly involved in the industry, a study released on Wednesday found…The World Economic Forum report, which highlighted the role that the energy industry can play in reviving the global economy, comes during a presidential election year as candidates argue about high U.S. unemployment and energy policy.

First step in becoming a 21st century millionaire, start a renewable energy company. Second step, make a donation to President Obama. Last step, collect your millions CNN (3/7/12) reports: The federal government spent $24 billion on energy subsidies in 2011, with the vast majority going to renewable energy sources, according to a government report…Renewable energy and energy efficiency accounted for $16 billion of the federal support, according to the Congressional Budget Office, while the fossil-fuel industry received $2.5 billion in tax breaks. This is a stark change from a decade ago. The CBO noted that until 2008, most energy subsidies went to the fossil-fuel industry. The idea at the time was to encourage more domestic oil production, especially when the price of oil was low…CBO said the $24 billion total is a small fraction of the hundreds of billions the government’s various annual subsidies, which take the form of both grants and tax breaks.

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