oil industry

Oil Speculators Have Helped Drive Oil Prices Up
oil industry

Business Week Online: "There is no doubt most of oil's huge price leap -- up 40% in the past year -- is grounded in fundamental supply-and-demand issues." However, hedge funds and other financial players "are helping to push up the volume of crude-oil contracts traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Such trades are on their way to an all-time record this year, up 13% thru July....Today, there are more than 3,200 funds registered with the cftc, almost twice the number in 1999. So-called noncommercial traders..that don't use or produce oil -- added 7,453 contracts of crude-oil futures and options on the Nymex as of Aug. 3... This recent buying helped propel crude oil prices." Take away costs added by speculation and Bush's SPR refill policy, say some economists, and you'd find oil prices would be closer to $35 per barrel than $50.

Oil Tops $48/Barrel While Supplies Reach Dangerously Low Levels
oil industry

AP: "Crude futures prices surged above $48 per barrel Wednesday as oil production and shipping disruptions caused by Hurricane Ivan caused domestic supplies to shrink more than expected. The country's sharply reduced oil supply is significant because it now falls below the estimated "lower operating inventory" level of 270 million barrels set in 1998 by the National Petroleum Council, a consortium of oil and gas executives that advises the Energy Department. At that level, the refining industry has "diminished flexibility" to handle unanticipated disruptions." One reason this has happened: Bush's insistence against all advice on transferring oil into the SPR. Now you watch! On the eve of the election, to magically drop oil prices, he will release SPR oil!

Obscene! Oil Hits $44/Barrel as ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch/Shell Make $5.8 Billion in Profits in THREE MONTHS
oil industry

Seattle Post Intelligencer: "Happy days are here again at the gas pumps, for the oil companies.Two major oil companies announced huge growth in income last week, with Exxon Mobil scoring a record $5.8 billion in profits for just the second quarter of the year. Royal Dutch/Shell Group reported a 54 percent growth in net income." [These two companies have also been given multi-million-dollar contracts to refill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which means they have been given free range of public oil lands in the Gulf of Mexico. They are making money hand over fist as the public gets burned, coming (to the pump) and going (shelling out tax dollars to support the SPR scam).] "As markets reopen this morning for the week, traders will wonder whether the price of oil, just $10 per barrel a few years ago, might hit $45 a barrel. Do we hear $50?" What we heard on 8/03 was $44 - followed by media propaganda gushes of "oil prices drop!" (When it slid down a buck or so.)

Bush's October Surprise Could be Unwelcome Oil Price Increases
oil industry

Tom Engelhardt writes, "The U.S. hasn't even been able to stop the escalating attacks on and sabotage of Iraq's oil pipelines [while] the threat to oil supplies has been seeping across the border into Saudi Arabia. Oil prices, which had dipped from recent highs, are again inching up toward the $40 a barrel mark. Throw in chaos in Russia's oil industry; stir in a Middle East guaranteed to be ever more in turmoil, add in the skyrocketing global desire for ever more oil, and you're beginning to deal with the realities of a business which could provide a distinct October surprise for the Bush administration and many more surprises in future years for the rest of us. Only yesterday, according to the British Financial Times, 'Strong global demand for oil, limited supply increases and continuing security fears led the US government -- to raise its central price forecast for US crude over the next 18 months to $37 a barrel. As recently as April it forecast crude falling below $30.' "

Report Shows that Shell Oil's Practices Fuel Corruption and Violence in Nigeria
oil industry

BBC: "Oil giant Shell has admitted it inadvertently [yeah, right!] fed conflict, poverty and corruption through its oil activities in Nigeria. In 2003, Shell commissioned an independent report in order to help it better understand how its activities are affected by, and inadvertently contribute to, conflict." The report, written by "three internationally known conflict resolution experts...highlighted how conflict makes it difficult for it to operate safely and with integrity and "how we sometimes feed conflict by the way we award contracts, gain access to land, and deal with community representatives". Shell refused to publish the report. Instead, in true Bushie corporate style, it has launched a multimillion dollar PR campaign to make it APPEAR that it is doing something to change the situation.

Over 500 Gas Stations Forced to Close after Receiving Sulfur-tainted Gas from Motva Enterprises, LLC Refinery
oil industry

Baltimore Sun: "Just before the heavy-driving Memorial Day weekend, more than 500 Shell and Texaco stations in the South have stopped selling gasoline because of high levels of sulfur that can ruin vehicle fuel gauges and make an empty tank appear full. Drivers could run out of gas unexpectedly. Also, car owners might have to replace their fuel gauges - a repair job that can easily cost $400 to $600. The tainted gasoline originated at a Motiva Enterprises LLC refinery in Norco, La., according to Shell. Motiva, based in Houston, is the refining arm of Shell in the East and South. Motiva supplied the gasoline to Shell and Texaco. The company said it is investigating how the high sulfur levels occurred."

Gas Price Surge Under Bush Follows Unchecked Refinery Mergers
oil industry

"George W. Bush allowed an increase in oil refinery mergers to go unchecked since he took office and may have contributed to the highest gasoline prices in 20 years as the November election approaches. The Bush administration approved 33 takeovers totaling $19.5 billion, on top of 21 deals worth $7.3 billion under President Bill Clinton, Bloomberg data shows. Reduced supplies were already pushing up gas prices in Clinton's term, according to a Federal Trade Commission study... 'We're in a much worse position than we were when the federal government broke up the Rockefeller oil companies of the early 1900s,' Jon Meade Huntsman, a registered Republican and founder of Salt Lake City-based Huntsman Co., the largest privately held chemicals maker, said in an interview."

Carl Levin Warned in January that Continued Refilling of SPR Would Drive Oil Prices through Ceiling
oil industry

Jan. 2004 News Release from Carl Levin: "Since late 2001, the DOE has been steadily depositing crude oil into the SPR without regard to the price of oil. At the same time, U.S. private sector crude oil inventories are at their lowest levels since DOE began tracking inventories a quarter of a century ago, and prices are at historically high levels...As a result of low crude oil inventories, gasoline inventories are also well below average, and retail gasoline prices are at their highest levels ever for January. Economists estimate that the Bush Administration's SPR program is responsible for somewhere between 15 % and 25% of the current price of crude oil - between $4.50 and about $8 per barrel." It is also believed that speculation in oil futures - which has increased commensurately with SPR filling - adds another $4.00-6.00/barrel.

Oil Prices Being Driven Up by Futures Speculators
oil industry

As Americans get ready to take the roads en masse this summer, reports the Economist, "Speculators are driving up the oil price now in anticipation of peak demand in a few months' time." Between Bush's refilling of the SPR at a time of peak demand and rising prices and oils futures speculation, as much as $12 has been added to the price per barrel of crude. Before now, the only thing that kept prices limited somewhat was the falling dollar, which was kept in free fall by artificially depressed interest rates (another Bush/Greenspan manipulation). But now the dollar is rebounding, Bush is still filling the SPR, and one of Bush's top donors for 2004 so far is also the top speculator in crude futures (Goldman Sachs). Note in this article how, in typically outrageous corporate media style, Goldman Sachs is quoted as warning of possible future "oil shocks" (a good fear strategy for driving prices up and making Goldman Sachs even more money).

Bush Pioneers and Rangers Make a Killing off Oil Futures Speculation
oil industry

Among Bush's elite clique of Pioneers and Rangers are execs from Morgan Stanley (Richard F. Powers III Client Group President, Philip Purcell CEO). Bank of America (Jim Hance, VP and CFO), and Goldman Sachs (CEO Henry Paulson and Pete Coneway are Bush rangers, while director George Walker is a Pioneer). (See http://www.capitaleye.org/PRchart.1.14.04.asp/ and http://www.georgewbush.com/Donors/Rangers.aspx. Since Bush has been in office, guess which three companies have been the top three speculators (and profiteers in) oil futures - a game that has been made much more lucrative by Bush's insistence on refilling the SPR under current conditions (Philip Verleger says refilling is adding $8.00 per barrel)? You guessed it! Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs. Not a bad payoff for their contributions, eh? Except the taxpayers, through increased oil and gas prices, are funding the operation

Yet Another Media-Disseminated White House Lie: 'Oil Prices Fuel Rise in Strategic Reserves'
oil industry

Economists around the world are rolling on the floor laughing at this one! CNN, one of Bush's many media propaganda outlets, wants the public to believe that the strategic petroleum reserves are being filled BECAUSE of high oil prices. HELLO! During a time of high oil prices, the reserve is supposed to either be drawn down or left alone. World energy resource expert Philip Verleger says filling the reserve under the present system ADDS $8.00 per barrel to the cost of oil Add to that the cost of rampant oil futures trading (currently making Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley millions) - an estimated $4.00 minimum per barrel add on - and you are now paying about $12.00 per barrel to aid Bush's pals in the oil and futures business.

Bush Used SPR Fill Contracts to Keep Oil Barons from Losing Money on Disruptions to Iraq Oil
oil industry

In 2001, the top three beneficiaries of the Iraq oil-for-food program were Valero, ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco. (http://www.mideastfacts.com/ususesirqoil.html) With the Iraq war looming in 2002, the Bush administration announced the award of contracts to deliver 108 million barrels of crude oil to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Who got contracts? ExxonMobil & ChevronTexaco, The contracts were renewed in April, 2003 (with Shell added), a deal that, while helping Bush's oil baron pals out, drove the cost of oil per barrel up $6-8 dollars (see http://levin.senate.gov/newsroom/release.cfm?id=218115) In short, the American public has footed the bill big time to keep oil industry profits flowing in while Bush wages his illegal war. (http://www.gomr.mms.gov/homepg/whatsnew/newsreal/020208hq.html)

Investigation of Iraq Oil-for-Food Program May Lead Straight to Valero, ExxonMobil, & ChevronTexaco
oil industry

Bush's efforts to deflect attention from his own investigation woes by engineering a probe of the UN's possible misdeeds in the oil-for-food program is likely to backfire hugely. Check out this report from 2002: "The U.S. oil industry last year deepened its dependence on Baghdad's supplies, U.S. Energy Department figures show. Valero Energy Corp. and ChevronTexaco Corp. are the biggest U.S. buyers of Baghdad's oil and would be most in need of alternative supplies if, as some fear, military confrontation with the US disrupts Iraqi oil flows in coming months. U.S. firms gobbled up some 790,000 barrels per day of Iraqi crude oil in 2001 -- nearly half of Iraq's crude sales under the U.N.-supervised oil-for-food program. With Exxon Mobil [et al.] also buying heavily, U.S. purchases of Iraqi oil in 2001 jumped nearly 30% from the previous year, and the appetite for Baghdad's oil only got stronger as the year wore on."

House Repug's New Evasive Action to Protect Bush & Co.: They Want to Investigate the UN!
oil industry

The nation's leaders lying to Congress and the American people and exploiting a national tragedy as a way to embroil the US in a bloody, worsening war does not upset the Repugs in the House enough to prompt them to look into the matter. Nope: 700 dead US soldiers can't hold a candle to Monica Lewinsky's blue dress in their twisted book. Halliburton ripping off our soldiers, stealing billions from taxpayers and (very likely) involved in oil and gas smuggling operations? No big whoop. They'd much rather go after the UN officials alleged to have given insufficient oversight to criminal activities associated with the Iraq oil-for-food program! They are hoping to make this into a big enough flap to obscure the crimes of the Bush regime and Halliburton in Iraq. Maybe the House should be investigated by the UN for lack of oversight of criminal activities!

Kerry Blasts Halliburton Oil Price Gouging
oil industry

In Florida, John Kerry denounced the high oil prices that Bush is tolerating now - in advance of the fall price cut timed to steal the 2004 election. "'Right now there are people all over this country who are literally going through their purses and their pocketbooks - looking behind the sofa, under the cushions - to find the pennies and the extra money to be able to pay the additional costs of gasoline. They are giving up choices for their kids, giving up choices for their families to pay the extra $30-$50 a week in order to be able to pay for gas. Those aren't Exxon gas prices we see ladies and gentleman, those are Halliburton prices and we deserve a break in this country. 'Unlike George Bush and his friends at the Big Oil Companies, I'm going to work for a real energy policy for this country that decreases America's dependence on foreign oil and helps lower the costs to American families.'" Oil price gouging will cost American consumers $24 billion this year - $300 per family.

How Bush's Manipulation of the Royalty-in-Kind Program Contributes to the Oil Shortage
oil industry

Before Bush, refilling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve when oil/gas prices were high and supplies short was unheard of - in fact, it is totally against what the SPR is supposed to be all about. Now, not only is Bush siphoning about 100,000 barrels a day from the circulation, he is allowing the oil giants who won the contracts to pay royalties to the government in OIL, instead of cash: "Under the so-called Royalty In Kind program, Gulf of Mexico producers can bid to pay royalties due the U.S. government in crude oil for delivery to the SPR rather than cash. In addition to the oil companies' deliveries, the MMS Royalty In Kind Program Office will ship 12,135 barrels a day directly to the Department of Energy, and one producer will transport an additional 2,700 barrels a day, bringing the total SPR commitments to 115,000 barrels a day. " So reports Smart Money.

Is Shell Colluding with the BushJunta to Drive Gas Prices Up and Put the Screws to California - AGAIN?
oil industry

Right as gas prices hit a high and OPEC announces cutbacks, Shell has announced its plans not just to close, but to DESTROY a major refinery in CA. Although the company claims it is because the refinery isn't profitable, "Evidence obtained by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights shows Shell has deceived the public and that it intends to demolish the refinery to keep gasoline off the market, and the price of gasoline high, rather than sell the refinery. This should constitute an unfair business practice and form the basis for an Unfair Business Competition Law case against Shell that seeks an injunction forcing Shell to sell the refinery for more than the cost of demolition or to keep the refinery running."

OPEC to Cut Oil Production by 4% to Push Prices Up and Offset Slumping Dollar
oil industry

BBC: "Opec will cut output by 4%, or 1 million barrels per day, from 1 April in a move to maintain high oil prices. In the US, where oil is trading near a 13-year high, the high cost of petrol is becoming an election issue... One factor in Opec's decision was that oil prices are denominated in dollars, and the falling value of the dollar on international currency markets has reduced the real value of the oil revenue of Opec members. Some analysts say a production cut is likely to push prices for crude oil to well above $40 a barrel." The chief reason for the dollar's devaluation is the Bush administration's failure to insist that interest rates be raised to reflect economic reality.

Oil Prices Continue at Record Highs Due to Manipulations - Including Media Manipulations
oil industry

This report in the BBC is typical of the misinformation being disseminated regarding the continuing high cost of oil and gas. It states that the prices are high because reserves are so low. In fact, the opposite is true when the strategic petroleum reserves are not being manipulated. When the cost of crude is high and supplies are scarce, SPR levels are usually at their highest and then can be released (drawn down) to keep supplies and prices stable. When crude prices are low and supplies plentiful, the SPR should then be refilled. Thus the SPR is supposed to be a check and balance for supply and price. However, Bush has operated the system in reverse, drawing down the SPR when prices were low and supplies plentiful, then refilling when prices were high. Here's some background on the SPR system: http://people.howstuffworks.com/question478.htm

Senate, Led By Dems, Brings Stop to Bush Manipulation of Strategic Petroleum Reserves
oil industry

Bush bled off the Strategic Petroleum Reserves, leaving it at its lowest levels since 1976. Then, when crude prices peaked, he called for it to be refilled, a move that benefited oil barons, while driving up global gas and oil prices for the average consumer. Now the Senate, in a move pushed by concerned Dems, has approved a plan to cancel the purchase of 53 million barrels of oil for the SPR. The move will keep more crude on the market and ease near-record gas prices. However, the bill faces stiff opposition from key Bush toadies in the House, notably Tom Delay.

Skyrocketing Gas Prices Being Driven by Enron-style Industry Manipulation
oil industry

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights reveals that the current spike in gas prices has nothing to do with "markets" and everything to do with industry manipulation. "The tip-off is that the increased costs to motorists are turning out to be pure profit for Big Oil, not reflective of real production costs. By strategically cutting the number of state refineries almost by half since deregulation of gasoline in 1981, the refiners have created conditions under which price spikes occur regularly. Inventories are kept low so that when there is a problem at a refinery the market anticipates a shortage and sends the speculative price of gasoline sky-high. Refiners make a killing because it doesn't cost them any more to produce the gasoline, which they can charge more for." Add to that Bush's manipulation of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and you have about 250 million Americans being taken for a ride.

Oil Producers May Abandon the Rapidly-Falling Dollar
oil industry

Reuters news agency is quoting former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad as having told the Saudis that they should sell oil for gold ... not US$ ... to avoid being "short-changed" by a decline in the US currency. "The price of oil is US$33 ... but the dollar has declined by 40% against the Euro, so you're effectively getting US$20," Mahathir told an economic conference, Sunday. "So you're being short-changed!" Moves are afoot for a majority of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to switch to Euros ... a major decision is expected when the oil cartel meets next month and senior Venezuelan diplomats have already been speaking with Russian, Mexican and Arab counterparts to shake off the shackles of dependency on the US currency as it continues its international nosedive.

Battle Rages with Ecuador Indians over Jungle Oil
oil industry

"In a steamy jungle of winding laurel trees and sprawling palms, a battle is raging between Ecuadorean Indians trying to protect land rights and oil companies who want to drill in the Amazon. In the northern Amazon, Indians are suing a U.S. oil company over environmental damage they say ruined their land and made people sick. Further south, indigenous demonstrators have led violent protests to keep firms off their property. Ecuador is one of Latin America's least stable nations and has a powerful Indian movement. But it is also one of the region's most promising nations for oil development with a government eager to tap five billion barrels in reserves. Analysts say it could be tough for Ecuador to attract investment unless tensions are eased with indigenous communities, who make up nearly half the people in the Amazon and are backed by a powerful national left-wing Indian movement."

Global Oil Production Will Soon Decline - What Then?
oil industry

Monte Paulsen writes, "What would you do differently if you knew you would run out of oil in your lifetime? That's the chilling question posed by two recent books, both of which flow from the work of geophysicist Marion King Hubbert. Born in the Texas oil patch and educated at the University of Chicago, Hubbert observed that the production histories of most oilfields follow a similar pattern. Output climbs slowly after discovery, rises steeply once the reservoir is mapped, slows during the peak-production years, and then declines steeply once the easy-to-get oil is gone... In The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies, author Richard Heinberg... rousts a consensus that global production peak between 2006 and 2015. Kenneth S. Deffeyes' ... 'Hubbert's Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage' predicts a peak between 2004 and 2009... The revised edition of Hubbert's Peak, states: 'The year 2000 very likely will stand as the year of greatest oil production.'"

ChevronTexaco Faces Oil Pollution Trial in Ecuador
oil industry

"One of the biggest oil pollution trials in history will get underway tomorrow in Ecuador, pitting oil giant ChevronTexaco against 30,000 residents of the Amazon rainforest who charge that a Texaco subsidiary dumped huge amounts of oily waste in their homeland from 1971 to 1992. The Ecuadorians say the company's pollution caused cancer, skin diseases, and other ailments and contributed to destruction of a biologically diverse area that's home to indigenous communities and peasant settlers. Texaco dumped oil wastes into hundreds of unlined pits in the region during the '70s and '80s and maintains that this was a generally accepted operating practice. An Ecuadorian court will determine whether ChevronTexaco has to clean up the pits and contaminated swamps and rivers, and the court's ruling will be enforceable in the U.S. Some say the case could change how multinational corporations do business throughout Latin America."

Pathetic Bush Pleads to OPEC: Don't Hurt US Economy!
oil industry

Bush is becoming not only the most despised "leader" in the world, he is now becoming the most pathetic. After spending the past two years systematically alienating and vilifying the Muslim world, invading and trashing Afghanistan and Iraq, and seeking to invade and trash two more (Iran and Syria), Bush now is expecting OPEC to be sympathetic to his pleas to "please, please don't hurt the US economy!" by cutting oil production.

OPEC to Bush - Drop Dead
oil industry

Motley Fool writes, "If you've been waiting for gas prices to settle down, as many experts expected they would after Labor Day weekend, you might want to stop waiting. Our friends at OPEC have just agreed to decrease their oil output by 3.5% [so] the price of a barrel of crude oil pretty much immediately shot up, rising by a full 4% to $28.24... OPEC members cited the following reasons for the move: 'the still-sluggish global economy, including a 'jobless recovery' in the United States, and rising production at non-OPEC countries.' But others speculate that politics is another major factor. Some OPEC members might have been chafing at the United States sending an Iraqi delegation to the meeting, while others simply don't like the U.S. urging them to increase production to keep prices in check." Are you better off than you were 4 years ago? What a cruel joke!

Bush-Cheney Pals Lose Bid for U.S. Funding to Trash Amazon Rainforest and Marine Sanctuary
oil industry

"The Export-Import Bank board voted 2 to 1 to reject a request for $214 million in loan guarantees for a project to extract as much as 13 trillion cu.ft. of gas from a rain forest in the Amazon and pipe it over the Andes to Lima and an export facility near a marine sanctuary. Project sponsors have pledged to move ahead even if multilateral development banks decide not to support the project... Hunt Oil Co., whose chairman, Ray Hunt, was a top fundraiser for Resident Bush in 2000, has a major stake in the project with partners Pluspetrol of Argentina, South Korea's SK Corp. and Argentina's Techint Group. Halliburton's Kellogg Brown & Root unit is a top candidate to build a $1 billion liquefied-natural-gas plant on the Peruvian coast if Hunt moves forward on plans to export gas from near Camisea, Peru, to the United States by 2006."

Phoenix Gasoline Problems Persist as Pipeline Remains Shut Down
oil industry

AP reports: "Stations began experiencing shortages on Aug. 8, when a pipeline from Texas that brings in a third of Phoenix's gas supply was shut down. The line operated by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners ruptured near Tucson on July 30. It was repaired and running at half capacity until Aug. 8, when the company shut it down over concerns there could be more problems. Kinder Morgan hasn't yet gotten approval from federal regulators to begin testing the closed portion of pipeline, said company spokesman Larry Pierce. It's unclear when the line will begin operating again. The gas from the Texas pipeline will be trucked into Phoenix in the meantime."

ChevronTexaco Faces Multi-Billion Dollar Pollution Suit
oil industry

Reuters reports: "ChevronTexaco CVX.N next week will begin its defense in a multibillion dollar legal battle in Ecuador against accusations it has polluted portions of the country's Amazon region, the company said. The suit, which was brought by thousands of residents near the company's former oil fields, alleges Texaco Petroleum Co, a subsidiary of Texaco Inc. which merged with Chevron in 2001, dumped roughly 18.5 billion gallons of oil-laden water into unlined pits, estuaries and rivers during its operations in Ecuador's Oriente between 1971 and 1992. Attorneys said the trial could last two years. People living near the fields, now operated by state firm Petroecuador, claim the oil pollution destroyed sources of drinking water, caused health problems, and led to deaths of farm animals, lawyers for the plaintiffs said... Attorneys say damages could exceed $5 billion."

While Americans Paid Record Prices for Gas, Oil Companies Made a Record Killing before and during War in Iraq
oil industry

Remember the inflated gas prices Americans paid before and at the start of the war in Iraq? We were told it was because the shortage had driven prices up for the companies. Well, it turns out that those extra millions the "common folk" were shelling out for weeks went right into the pockets of a few already bloated oil barons. BP - for example - boasts its highest profits for a single quarter EVER! BP raked in $3.7bn from Jan. thru March - or about $41m a day. This is more than twice what the company made for the same period last year. Can't wait to see the profit figures for the rest of Bush's pals at ExxonMobile, Shell, et. al. And they say it WASN'T all about the oil?

'I'll Just Tell 'em to Turn on the Spigots': Gasoline Pump Price to Set Record High
oil industry

Reuters writes, "American motorists should prepare to pay an average $1.76 per gallon for gasoline in April - a record high... Gasoline prices are up because of high crude oil costs -- the result of the oil market's fears of a possible war with Iraq, a disruption in Venezuelan oil exports from a workers strike, colder weather on the U.S. East Coast and strong petroleum demand." Bush proudly proclaimed on the campaign trail that all he would have to do is "tell 'em to turn on the spigots." Not so simple, eh Resident Simpleton?

Gas Companies 'Very Close to Price-Gouging'
oil industry

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), oil companies may be initiating a pre-emptive strike against gasoline consumers. The average price of gasoline was up to $1.60 per gallon, a ten-cent increase in only seven days. Gasoline prices have not reached that level since June 2001 and is the highest rate ever recorded for the month of February. With no shortage of gasoline or crude oil, AAA sees no justification for this price increase because 'overall supply and demand have not increased.' The AAA is 'strongly urging the gasoline industry to show more restraint in the pricing of their products, and stands ready to support government action against companies that seek to unfairly profit from any future national emergency,' AAA spokesman Greg Sundstrom said. 'I think we're getting very close to price-gouging,' he said."

The Bush Venezuela Oil Grab
oil industry

Juan Forero's extraordinary dispatch from Caracas for Tuesday's New York Times is, at first glance, simply the standard parade of half-truths and distortions we've come to expect from this correspondent for the 'paper of record.' 'In Venezuela's General Strike, the Pinch Becomes Pain' warns the ominous headline. We then meet our sympathetic cast of characters, the suffering but enduring 'small business' owners of a town called El Hatillo. Opening Tuesday's LA Times, one comes across the headline 'Venezuelan Merchants Feeling Pain of Strike.' Sound familiar? (Forero's NYT dispatch, again, was titled, 'In Venezuela's General Strike, the Pinch Becomes Pain.') But this story is purportedly by T. Christian Miller. Alas, both "independent" stories are the same Bush / CIA agitprop. After all, Venezuela has lots of OIL Bush and his cronies would love to get their hands on.

Real Battle for Iraq Begins only after Saddam is Gone
oil industry

Bill Powell writes: "The real battle for Iraq will be won or lost only after Saddam is gone...It is not unthinkable that a military victory could turn into a strategic defeat for the U.S. Anything other than a quick, decisive campaign could mean trouble. Civilian casualties in Baghdad and elsewhere could easily trigger regional turmoil, spurred by an anti-Americanism that is, alas, all too real in the Islamic world. Saddam on the way out may well opt for ...the 'Sampson option'--that he will use the weapons of mass destruction he now possesses (and) sabotage Iraq's oil fields. A prolonged, expensive, American-led occupation is also plausible, one that could turn U.S. troops into sitting ducks for Islamic terrorists....All of that could have immediate and decidedly negative consequences for the global economy; an aftermath that does not proceed relatively smoothly would almost certainly short-circuit what everyone hopes--and assumes--will be stronger economic growth worldwide in 2003."

W-ar Prospects Ignite Contest for Oil Reserves
oil industry

LA Times reports, "The prospect of military action against Saddam Hussein has touched off an international contest for Iraq's vast oil reserves and has complicated U.S. efforts to cultivate Russia as a major future source of oil. Moscow is seeking assurances from Washington that if Hussein is ousted, Western companies won't take away the lucrative oil-field development rights that Russian oil firms negotiated with the Iraqi president's government. Iraq's reserves are second in size only to Saudi Arabia's...Iraq sits atop 11% of the world's proven oil reserves, about 112 billion barrels. At $30 a barrel, that's $145,000 worth of crude for every man, woman and child in the country. And Iraqi petroleum geologists believe there's at least twice that much in additional reserves still to be confirmed. (By comparison, the United States has 22 billion barrels, or about $2,300 per person.)...(Mr.) Bush 'is not going to be president of Iraq.'" Dang.

Bush Oil Regime Leans on Russian Oil Tycoons to Support Bush's Conquest of Iraq
oil industry

"Giants of the American and Russian oil industries will come together in Houston this week for the first U.S.-Russia Commercial Energy Summit. The event will bring together Cabinet members, top corporate executives, legislators and financiers and could lead to a breakthrough." What KIND of breakthrough? Bush's Houston Oil Regime hopes the Russian Oil Tycoons will pressure Russian President Vladmir Putin into supporting Bush's conquest of Iraq's oil. Putin disapproves of Bush's conquest, and refuses to support the BushBlair UN resolution. Right before our eyes, we are watching the machinations of the one true superpower - GLOBAL OIL.

Study Says ChevronTexaco Evaded Taxes
oil industry

While ChevronTexaco was perpetrating a tax-evasion scheme that Enron would envy, Condoleeza Rice was on its board of directors and even had an oil tanker named after her. Will the IRS pursue this new evidence of ChevronTexaco's fraud? Will Condi join the Bush Administration Perp Walk Parade?

Bush Oil Cronies Profit as Bush Fills Reserve at $30 Per Barrel While Calling for ANWR Drilling
oil industry

Robert Novak writes: "The decision by Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham of steadily pouring oil into the SPR to near its capacity of 700 million barrels may seem ironic in view of past Republican criticism of the reserve as an interference with markets. It is an indirect and understandable byproduct of the 9-11 terrorist attacks, aimed at giving the United States an insurance policy against calamities shutting off the course of oil... the government's purchase of $30 oil astounds private sector analysts, who believe that supplying the SPR has contributed significantly to the summer's boost in crude oil prices. To these business economists, the administration is oblivious to what it is doing to the market. That issue surely is not on the top of its priorities. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer called for passage of the Bush-backed energy bill to expand domestic oil drilling -- including the proposal for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)."

How Oil Determines Global Politics
oil industry

Lucy Komisar writes, "The Middle East conflict, the Afghanistan war, the attempted coup in Venezuela - underneath all the talk about religion and ideology as causes, there's another factor that ties them together: that black viscous substance that has made countries go to war since its ability to power economies was discovered more than a century ago. Oil. The fight to get oil, to control its sources and transport, is behind major conflicts around the world today, according to oil executives meeting at a conference in France. Oil's critical role in global hot spots is not usually acknowledged by governments. They prefer to speak about defending liberty, not economic interests. But it was a subject at a private gathering of American and European business people, diplomats, journalists and scholars in Divonne, France, this Spring."

Oil Industry Poisons Houston's Air, But Oil-Funded Texas Medical Center Won't Investigate
oil industry

Thanks to G.W. Bush's pathetic environmental legacy to to Texas, Houston residents breathe the most polluted air in the nation, while Harris County (where Houston is located) has the third highest volume of toxic chemicals released of any U.S. county. The health impacts of this outrageous situation are shockingly apparent, yet the University of Texas Medical School in Houston - supposedly one of the world's best research institutions - refuses to investigate. Why? Big Oil owns them. By sharp contrast, Johns Hopkins University in Democratic stronghold Maryland has been active in monitoring the effects of pollutants in its home city, while Columbia University is understaking similar community-minded research initiatives. We wonder how folks in Houston watching their asthmatic children or emphysemic elderly gasp for air feel about the "Bush legacy"?

Bush Hands Occidental $98 Million in 'Protection Money' for the Colombian Pipeline
oil industry

When U.S. oil giant Occidental tried to turn a vast area of rainforest into a giant oil field, the U'wa tribe threatened mass suicide. The drilling would deface sacred ancestral U'wa land, degrade the rainforest, and increase the tribe's chances of being caught in Colombia's civil war. Occidental pulled out - but not because they gave a damn about the U'wa. "Unfortunately, we drilled a dry well, so we are returning the oil block to the government," said a company spokesman. Meanwhile Bush is handing $98 million of OUR tax dollars to Occidental to protect the oil pipeline running through U'wa land - without U'wa permission, of course. "Protection" has meant violence and pollution - a guerilla skirmish caused a 2-million gallon leak in the pipeline, contaminating several acres of pristine forest and water.

Palestine, Iraq, Cuba and Venezuela - What's Oil Got to Do With It?
oil industry

The BushCheney Oil Administration seeks nothing less than complete control of the world's oil supplies. That's why BushCheney have established military bases throughout Central Asia, which are operated by Cheney's Halliburton (a huge scandal no US media outlet will touch). That's why BushCheney tried to overthrow Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, who wants to use his country's vast oil reserves to improve the lives of the poor - God forbid! That's why BushCheney wants to invade Iraq, even as the US SECRETLY buys Iraqi oil through the UN-monitored "oil-for-food" program. The BushCheney foreign policy is crystal clear: it's ALL ABOUT OIL.

US Oil Acquisition Goes Global Raising Foreign Dependence and Uncertainty
oil industry

"At times, it appears that providing a response to the latest upheaval is about all that Washington can accomplish. But beneath the surface of day-to-day crisis management, one can see signs of an overarching plan for U.S. policy: a strategy of global oil acquisition...In advocating these measures, the Cheney team is well aware that U.S. efforts to gain access to increasing amounts of foreign petroleum could provoke resistance in some oil-producing regions. By 2020, the report notes, America 'will import nearly two of every three barrels of oil (it consumes) -- a condition of increased dependency on foreign powers that do not always have America's interests at heart'" writes Michael Klare, Professor of Peace and World Security studies at Hampshire College. An ABCnews.com article entitled "The Next Middle East" (complete with clickable map) [ http://abcnews.go.com/sections/business/DailyNews/newmideast_020424.html ] confirms how right Professor Klare is!

A Whopping 78 Cents Out of Every Dollar Spent by Oil/Gas Industry on Political Campaigns Went to GOP
oil industry

Americans have this tendency, alas, to be like loyal horses with big fat blinders on when it comes to their President. They want so much to believe in his integrity they will refuse to see what is right there in plain sight - until it is too late, as it now is for the thousands of Enron employees facing a bleaker, colder future. But, here is a painful reminder of what was right out in plain sight all along: a May, 2001 rundown of just how much money the energy industry threw at Bush and the GOP.

Another Enron? Koch Industries, the GOP and the Bushes
oil industry

Reports Media Whores Online: "Koch Industries, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, is the nation's largest privately-held energy and energy-investment company, with annual revenues of more than $25 billion. It is one of the world's premier convicted air and water polluters. It is also a huge financial backer of the Republican Party and George W. Bush, as well of numerous right-wing think tanks [including the Heritage Foundation] and 'grassroots' front groups. And, in direct return for its gigantic contributions, Koch (pronounced 'Coke') has received extraordinary financial and legal breaks from the Bush Administration – including efforts to gut existing environmental protection laws and regulations. In 2000, Koch settled a case involving hundreds of oil leaks and millions of gallons spilled oil in six states with a record $35 million payment to the government. And it pleaded guilty in Minnesota to discharging oil into streams, paying an $8 million penalty." Note: Part I is below Part II.

Bush Ignores Congress, Own Brother, Presses Ahead with NEW Gulf Drilling Plan
oil industry

It has become crystal clear that Shrub sold his soul to someone in the oil industry last fall in exchange for his current undeserved office. Why else would he continue to ram drilling off the Florida coast down everyone's throats when the American public, Congress, and even his own brother have made it clear they do not want it? Somewhere along the line, a deal was cut, and promises made - promises that mean more to Bush than those he took under oath, or those that family loyalty imply (hey, Jeb, your purpose was served, so now you can kiss off!). Now he is determined to turn over 1.5 million acres of the Gulf 100 miles off the FLA coast to the oil companies, playing the usual corporate "In exchange for your hand, I won't take your whole arm" deal. Bet the same folks who will move right in and start drilling are the same folks on Cheney's secret "task force."

California Wins Round One against Oil Industry Bid to Drill on State's Coast
oil industry

With Bush at the helm, oil companies are making aggressive moves on California's oil-rich coastal region. CA has vigorously opposed any new coastal drilling for years, an attitude cemented by the disastrous results of an oil platform accident in 1969. Oil "experts" claim that techniques such as slant-drilling are safe, but the environmental evidence, such as decimation of otter populations near such "safe" operations say otherwise. Now the oil moguls are hoping to ram a case through the courts, no doubt hoping to get it put before Bush's toadies on the Supreme Court. Although a federal judge in CA this week ruled against the industry, rest assured, these oil slicks will press onto toadland.