Oil: Painted Into a Corner
A year ago, the administration was all about alternative energy development, based on the most noble of premises. Global warming, irrespective of who the major polluters are, has increased to the point where it is now affecting the most vulnerable parts of our country, and the most fragile of our industries. The Colorado River runs dry before it reaches the Gulf of California, The Rio Grande is a mere trickle when it reaches El Paso, necessitating the purchase of potable water from Mexico for cities like Las Cruces. Wildfires, which everyone knows are nature’s way of renewing forests, are now paying us back for our irresponsible development of lands in formerly pristine locations. They cause untold loss of property, animals and human lives. It’s like the biblical prediction of the Almighty coming to judge the world by fire, is now coming to pass.
To cope with the looming destruction of increasing amounts of land, plus flooding of coastal areas, which has resulted from the melting of the icecap, and the desertification of millions of acres of once-arable farmland, the government has embarked on an ambitious program of gradual but steady conversion of our power source, from fossil fuels to wind, solar, geothermal and any other promising source of non-polluting energy. To date, the efforts have shown modest but increasing growth in the overall “energy bag.” In a perfect world we would seem to be on the right track.
In the meantime, the oil industry, as a conglomerate of very powerful and business-savvy companies worldwide, has taken note of the gradual shift in dynamics, and has taken steps to ensure that their profit base remains healthy. In other words, they’ve been depending on existing refining capacity to keep production at current levels, while conserving their dollars by not taking the chance that building new refineries would sit idle and thereby lose money for the industry. They know that there are threats to ongoing production, even though the world’s proven oil resources are pegged at over two hundred years (based on current usage, one assumes). They’re ready to use their growing cash reserves to invest it where the market needs are most likely to result in increased profits. Therein lies a large part of our current dilemma.
Only a few experts predicted that Vladimir Putin would have the audacity to invade Ukraine four months ago. As often is the case, we were less than prepared to meet the coming surge in need for energy. Being good allies of the victims of this atrocity, we turned off the spigot that pumped Russian oil to many European countries and to ourselves as well. At the same time, we promised to ship large amounts of natural gas to Europe, in order to help those countries with their winter needs, thereby creating an instant shortage in the supply of oil to our friends. As the resulting, but predictable prices of gasoline at the pump soared to new record highs, it finally dawned on the administration that we had created an unquenchable monster. Inflation was now upon us, and shortages of goods began to appear everywhere, forcing the prices of our “market basket” up to levels never seen before. We had lit a new wildfire, this one called “recession,” and politicians of the Democratic persuasion were left to wonder how badly they were going to be beaten in the upcoming mid-term elections.
Drastic measures were now in order. Maybe Mr. Biden had been too preoccupied with the plethora of petitions now appearing on the Oval Office desk. The president went on air several times, to plead the case of our underlying strength and the need for “big business” to pay a “fair share” of taxes. It’s an old message, with many valid stats to back it up, but just now the voting public just wants to be able to live within its means. Biden next went on air to announce that the oil industry was banking excess profits, while riding the crest of current high prices, and that it was now imperative that they increase production and use some of those windfall profits for the public good. He didn’t mention how they were to do that. He also didn’t mention the fact that our refineries were running at near- peak capacity. So how were they going to increase production without building new refineries? We had painted ourselves into an energy coffin corner, but the President was now in the position of a beggar, at the door of the mighty Oil King.
But there’s more. Mr. Biden has now announced that he was planning a meeting with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, with the goal of convincing him to increase production from the immense Saudi oil fields. The prince, evil but nobody’s fool, has all the high cards in the deck. He’s not our friend, we know, and has every intention of putting the squeeze on the American Infidel. We are now in a beggar’s position, and that fact will not escape the Middle Eastern cartels. The Prince can be expected to extract some humiliating concessions from Biden. Let’s start with his new golf association, known as LIV. Our PGA will be in direct competition with the new upstart, and Saudi Arabia will pull every lever at its disposal to force us to “cooperate” in that regard. The Saudis are also concerned with those pesky Yemenis, with whom they continue to wage a Putinian war. The Prince will likely lean on Biden to help bring about the culmination of that conflict, all by secret negotiation, of course. The foregoing are likely to be part of a “concession bag” that will be presented as a “take it or leave my oil alone” proposition. What can we think the result of “negotiations” with the Saudis will produce? Will we get the increase in oil supplies that we need so desperately? Will the Saudis continue to – or even increase – theirtype of cruel domination over their Sphere of Middle Eastern dominance?
We’re in a corner, having built this room without an escape hatch. We didn’t even bring a fan to dry the paint. Or many other necessary tools, it would appear.
George Thatcher, 2022
George is an American Bad Ass. He grew up in Jersey, flew B-52s in Vietnam, taught English, Spanish and other languages to children around the world, makes his own salsa, has been known to enjoy a beer or two and has called Lubbock home for a few years, just to entertain the locals. Welcome to Raiderland, Major. We are going to feature some of his writings going forward. Some new, some old. Some rhyme, some don’t. When it comes to George, there’s no box. So… enjoy our friend and enjoy his writings! – Hyatt