Thursday, January 19, 2012

Entry: My $0.02 About Oil

Note: This is an opinion piece. Given the vast numbers of supporters on either side of this argument with equally vast amounts of "supporting data", I'm going to abstain from including graphs, spreadsheets, and statistics. Only my opinion.

I was reading yet another Facebook post today from someone who posted an article that criticized the current administration for killing a measure that would allow the building of a 1,700-mile pipeline from Alberta, Canada straight to Texas.

"Building the pipeline would bring over 700,000 barrels of oil per day and directly create 20,000 truly shovel-ready jobs. The Canadian Energy Research Institute estimates that current pipeline operations and the addition of the Keystone XL pipeline would create 179,000 American jobs by 2035."

The article in and of itself is not what caught my attention. Obama this. Obama that. Blame Obama. If you haven't figured it out already, the media likes tension. The media is like those countless forms of bacteria that lives in your intestines. You know it's there but your awareness of its presence and its ability to affect how your brain works are completely ignored. But it IS there and it DOES help you make dietary decisions based on what you THINK you are actually craving. It's a classic cycle. But, at this point, it's rather expected. I's the media! Ever since the news became a commodity, there's barely a single source out there that can be trusted for a detached, dispassionate delivery. What caught my eye (although to no surprise) was the tone of the comments that followed the post.

The comments were what you would expect from the 50% of the population that doesn't want Obama in office. At best, he's simply ineffective. At worst, his refusal to allow the pipeline constitutes a gross dereliction of his duty to provide for his constituents.

My opinion is this.....


One thing that impressed me about Europe (at least the parts that I saw) was how intimately it embraces renewable energy. A classic example that I give is how, no matter how "podunk" of a town it was that we drove through, there were solar panels EVERYWHERE. Some houses had roofs that were completely constructed from them. It's debatable whether or not wind mills, hydroelectric dams, solar panels, etc are the ultimate answer, but they're a pretty darn good start!!

Now, to the point. I don't like oil. Or, more accurately, I don't like petroleum and I certainly don't like economies that are based on it. My simple reasons:

  1. There IS only a finite supply. People...believe it or not, this planet is going to have a serious crowding problem soon. And by "soon", I mean potentially in MY generation (and that makes the selfish hairs on the back of my neck stand on end). That means that the population will continue to grow. Greater population equals greater consumption. Period. If you turn the TV off, close the Fox News window on your computer, and actually pay attention to oil companies and their strategies, you'll notice that the oil business ain't as easy as it once was. Companies are having to dig in more places and more dangerously than they ever have before to keep up with current demand. You may think that OPEC and other like organizations are domineering and manipulative with the market, but I PROMISE you that you have no idea just how many strings they're pulling and how they vector every economy on this planet in the direction that they want it to go.
  2. Petroleum promotes a producer/consumer mentality that is very unhealthy, in my opinion. Like any other market, it is based on "who has the oil" and "who needs the oil". And, I'll spare you the diatribe, but this is where politics comes in. Oil is a political tool. As long as someone else has something THAT important that we absolutely NEED, then governments will always do what needs to be done to protect and compartmentalize those producers, turn a blind eye when necessary to whatever wrongs those producers do, and, if necessary, instigate war under some other pretext in order to protect the flow. (And no..that was not a stab at Bush Jr. Crack the spine on your Encyclopedia Britanica and learn about the relationship between resources and conflict.)
  3. Petroleum is...well...what's a good word...oh yeah...BAD!!! Basically, the whole process is set up to take millions-of-years-old goo from the ground and transform it into something that can conveniently reside in the same atmosphere that we breathe from. I won't bother getting into the whole Ozone thing. Too hot a topic (pun intended). Personally, the idea of getting cooked by the sun always appealed to me, anyway.
But yet, with all of this, people STILL point fingers at this country's executive whenever any measure isn't taken to secure the future's oil supply. I think it hilarious that your mobile phone, your TV, your computer, hell...just about EVERYTHING electronic will be antiquated and understandably discarded within a few years time BUT...the internal combustion THAT is a thing of beauty that would just be a shame to get rid of.'s a couple hundred years old, but talking with my buddies just wouldn't be the same unless I could discuss my fuel-injected, precision-timed, liquid-cooled, 59-liter, 5,000 horse-power, baby-eating HEMI engine. I mean...really? " wouldn't believe the torque I get from my 40-AMP electric Duracell power plant. It's truly righteous!". You're right. That didn't sound the same. Best stick with the gas engine. It sounds and feels better.

Read my lips. OIL IS HEROIN.

See this picture? This is the world. It is an old woman shooting up whenever it gets the chance. She's been doing it for as long as anyone can remember and she just doesn't wanna quit. Drug dealers have to make a living too, right? In our case, the drug dealers constitute the wealthiest powers in the world and whisper in all of the right ears in order to usurp even the best political intentions. They will sell their drug until every last drop is sold. Not "gone"...but "sold".

(By the way...this picture is actually an ad for a rehab center. Kudos for the profoundness of the imagery. I hope that they are able to help a lot of people.)

We aren't interested in getting away from the heroin. We're ONLY interested in securing our supply...and, by God, it'd better be CHEAP! It's a constitutional right! It says so in the...well...whatever amendment it is...I forget. But it's there!

In the end, what it comes down to is that this country hasn't even TRIED to get away from oil. The media doesn't help. Renewable energy sounds like more trouble than it's worth. No need to talk about the automotive lobby and so on. It's been talked to death and is pretty much understood. Energy companies...hell, even governments...they all pay lip service by publishing how many millions of dollars they throw into research each year for our "eventual migration away from fossil fuels". Geezus...really?

If we put HALF the effort into getting away from disgusting fossil fuels as we did getting to the moon, we'd be there by now. But no. We simply don't want to. We're happy coughing every day and living under the heals of the world's oil-producing nations.

So, again, we haven't even tried. And no, (insert president's name here). I don't blame you.

P.S. And just so you know, I was RAISED on oil. Oil birthed me, oil nurtured me, oil put me through college. I was born into an Aramco family and I'd be lying through my teeth if I said that that company...the largest petroleum producing company in the world...didn't give me a lot. But, in the grand expanse that is my opinion, it changes little.