Monday, March 12, 2012

Political Peak Energy: Obama's America is Full of It

From nuclear to coal to oil to natural gas to oil sands to oil shale -- the Obama administration has pursued an agenda of energy starvation.
Democrats want higher energy prices mostly to make alternative sources of energy seem economical. That's a tall order....

The Obama administration's massive subsidies to "green" firms have produced more embarrassment than energy. Solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, which went bankrupt last September after receiving $535 million, has left behind an environmental mess. Eleven other subsidized firms are having financial problems and five have filed for bankruptcy, CBS News reported in January.

In his state of the union address this year, President Barack Obama cited battery manufacturer Ener1 as a government investment success. Ener1 filed for bankruptcy two days later...Mr. Obama's "investments" haven't been bad for all of us. Eighty percent of the firms that got DOE loans are run or owned by the president's financial backers, according to the Hoover Institution's Peter Schweizer. "Green Firms Get Fed Cash, Give Execs Bonuses, Fail," headlined an ABC News investigative report broadcast Tuesday.

In what was billed as a "major speech" on energy policy Feb. 23, the president pledged to make more such "investments."

The speech was remarkable for its mendacity. During the Obama administration, the time it takes to get a permit to drill in the Gulf of Mexico has nearly doubled. Leases to drill on federal lands in the West are down 40 percent. But Mr. Obama claimed credit for the recent rise in domestic production of oil and natural gas. This "couldn't be farther from the truth," said the president of the American Petroleum Institute. _Obama Energy Abyss
President Obama's policies have been hard on energy producers and suppliers. No one should be surprised at that. The US president is merely following through on his promises to bankrupt energy companies and cause energy prices to skyrocket, which he made before he was elected.
Mr. Obama's Core Self

Obama will soon be personally responsible for preventing some 2 million barrels per day of possible North American crude oil production from reaching the American economy. The U.S. currently produces only about 6 million barrels of domestic crude oil, so that would be more than a 30 percent increase in domestic production.

...Two millions barrels per day of oil production would affect not just the price of gasoline in North America, but also the economics of world oil production: The president is preventing the U.S. from increasing oil production by an amount nearly equivalent to Iran’s total oil exports.

...We are once again entering a period of scarcity, where slight fluctuations in demand or supply will have a disproportionate impact on gas prices — but this time the scarcity is largely the product of Obama’s policies. _Obama Choking Off Oil Production
The reality is that the Obama administration slowed the permitting process long before the spill happened. Rather than playing catch up, we're falling further behind. The American people and the oil and gas industry need certainty that energy independence, not politics, will drive our nation's security. _WSJ
Mr. Obama owes a lot to big money faux environmental lobbies and special interests. He promised to shut down coal companies, and he has delivered. He promised that energy prices would skyrocket and he has delivered. He promised truckloads of green nonsense, and he delivered.
“North Dakota oil producers were scheduled to feed the Keystone pipeline with 100,000 barrels of crude oil per day,” Dalrymple said. “Now we will not be able to supply the choice American markets because President Obama says he needs more time to study Keystone. The fact is he has had over three years to study this issue.”

The pipeline has been under federal review for years and a key State Department analysis said the project would have minimal environmental impacts. _TheHill
The oil and gas industry could be creating even more jobs if the United States had more of a pro-development policy for traditional energy sources instead of a government-driven, heavily subsidized, green energy approach. For example, energy consulting firm Wood Mackenzie evaluated the impact on production, jobs, and government revenues of implementing regulatory policies that support the development of oil and natural gas resources, including: a) opening federal land that is currently “off limits” to exploration and development; b) lifting the drilling moratorium in New York; c) increasing the rate of permitting in the offshore Gulf of Mexico; d) approving the Keystone XL and other future Canada-to-U.S. oil pipelines; and e) leaving regulation of shale resources predominantly at the state level.

Under a scenario that encourages the development of new and existing domestic energy resources, Wood Mackenzie estimates that by 2015 an additional 1.27 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) could be produced, rising to 10.4 million BOE by 2030. That would be a 47 percent increase over the estimated 2030 production levels under a current development path case.

Furthermore, under the new development path, there would be a potential increase of 1 million new oil and natural gas jobs by 2018, and 1.4 million new jobs by 2030, while adding cumulative potential government revenue of $36 billion by 2015, and nearly $803 billion by 2030. _American
A Remarkable Lack of Concern for America's Energy Future

A new report from the World Economic Forum (PDF) reveals that about 9% of new US jobs in 2011 were created by the shale energy revolution.
The report said the oil and gas industry contributed 37,000 direct jobs in 2011, which led to the creation of an additional 111,000 indirect jobs during the same period. It said the multiplier effect for solar and wind energy were lower during operation, but higher at up to 3.3 times during construction.

“We always suspected that energy had a vital role to play in the economic recovery but we were still surprised when the data uncovered the magnitude of the sector’s multiplier effects,” Roberto Bocca, head of energy Iidustries at the World Economic Forum, said in a release.

The domestic U.S. oil and gas industry is in the midst of the its biggest boom in a generation, with hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technology unlocking billions of barrels of oil and decades’ worth of natural gas from previously untappable tight coal seam fissures. _Reuters via GWPF
The Obama administration has, of course, been trying to find a way to shut down as many forms of energy production as possible -- and to hell with jobs.
The oil and natural gas industry, one of the strongest job-creating sectors of the U.S. economy, has been unfavorably targeted by President Obama’s proposed 2013 fiscal year (FY) federal budget. To start with, Obama is proposing, for the fourth consecutive year, to repeal Section 199 of the “American Jobs Creation Act.” If enacted, this selectively punitive treatment would increase taxes on oil and natural gas companies by almost $12 billion over the next decade. It could possibly jeopardize some of the millions of American jobs supported by oil and natural gas producers and prolong the sub-par “jobless recovery.”

Overall employment in the U.S. economy still remains short by almost 5 million jobs, and more than 3 percent below the pre-recession employment peak in November 2007. But the oil and natural gas industry has added 34,200 jobs over that period and expanded industry employment by more than 22 percent. Oil and natural gas companies have been on a hiring spree, adding almost 100 new payroll jobs every day for the last year.

In contrast, job creation in green energy projects has so far been very disappointing. According to a recent Wall Street Journal analysis of $4.3 billion in public funding for wind energy under Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, there were 36 wind farms that employed 7,200 American workers during the peak of their construction, or an average of 200 workers per project. Today, according to these companies and state and local government economic development officials, those projects employ only about 300 workers, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $14 million per permanent job. _TheAmerican

Obama's antagonism toward reliable sources of energy appears to be based upon at least two foundations: 1. A desire to please big money faux environmentalist supporters, who are pursuing an agenda of carbon hysteria, and 2. A desire to punish and discipline successful private sector enterprises, and to bring them more under the control of a bloated central governmental bureaucracy.

Anyone who has read Mr. Obama's first two autobiographies and observed his early career in community organising and political activism, will understand the man's antagonism toward capitalism, free markets, and any source of wealth and power creation which competes with a central, redistributive government.

Political peak oil. Political peak energy. Political energy starvation and economic hardship for everyone except political supporters...Perhaps American voters need to re-think the government they have chosen to represent them.

Of course, political peak energy is not limited to the US. It is rampant in Germany, the UK, and the EU as a whole. It has taken over Australia and occupies provincial government seats in Canada.

Parts of this article were excerpted from an earlier piece published on Al Fin blog



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