Thursday, June 12, 2008

42 Days and the Price of Oil

Gordon Brown's narrow victory in the vote on 42 day detention for terrorist suspects .... Aaargh, no, will to live gone! I don't frigging care about Brown's ineptitude. I am beginning, however, to be interested in McCain's. His limited powers of expression and his ill-considered policies have landed him in further trouble over Iraq. His problem is he needs to distance himself from Bush without alienating the old neocon attack dogs because they're the ones most likely to get him elected by swift-boating Obama. But they really don't like him very much. Note the contempt with which the Wall Street Journal's Daniel Henninger dismisses McCain at the end of this article about the need to the US to start exploiting its domestic oil reserves - 'You'd think the 'national security' nominee, John McCain, would get this. He's clueless - a don't drill zombie. We may mark this down as the year the US tired of being a serious country.'  Blimey! This brings me to the real point of this post and, in fact, what may be the most significant story of the moment - drilling for oil in hitherto protected areas. BP wants this to happen in, among other places, the Arctic and Henninger wants America to starts offshore drilling. Less eco-sensitive countries like Brazil are doing just that. Of course, burning more oil will lock us for another few decades into the hell of Saudi dependence, it won't lower the price, as BP seems to admit, and it will inhibit research into better cleaner energy. It will, however, happen. The Arctic and the seas will be filled with oil rigs. I doubt that either McCain or Obama will be able to resist the pressure. 
But, of course, I'm being frivolous. It's really, really interesting that the Ulster Unionists voted with Brown. Isn't it?


  1. A high oil price makes drilling in sensitive and technically difficult areas profitable and Gazprom’s prediction about the price is probably right.

    BP and the rest are just prolonging the agony. They know the age of oil is over but every time they try to diversify into renewables they make a mess of it.

    Put your money in coal, glass and water.

  2. The west should have got the message loud and clear after the last oil crisis (the Saudi thug Yamani, yet another lawyer, strutting the world stage, why didn't you knock him off when you had the chance, Carlos,) they didn't, when the dust settled it was business as usual, the same thing will happen now, still, all of that awash dosh keeps the architects busy.
    Incidentally manzanal, my Zloti is coming out of HBOS and going under the floorboards, I suspect even allowing for inflation that will be the safest place. Remember, follow Shakespeare, knock off the lawyers.

  3. I see ExxonMobil are running a propaganda advert on our TV now. Hi, I'm Chuck Lanternjaw, celebrity fuel editor. Fossil fuels are our friends, and we know what you really need and we's gonna squeeze more out of this damn planet for you just because we love you!
    Of course, the actual words are better put because they have the cash to pay professionals.

  4. Breakfast: porridge, with brown sugar and cream.

    Lunch: good pasta with your favourite pasta sauce.

    Supper: Among other things, a generous helping of absolutely delicious pommes frites and several glasses of a full, favourite red wine.

    After which, the world's problems will suddenly seem surprisingly small and you will be consoled by the knowledge that you have narrowly escaped ... a living death! Go on ... you know it makes sense.

  5. "Less eco-sensitive countries like Brazil....."

    CO2 emissions per capita:

    USA 20.4 tons/ year
    UK 9.79 tons/ year
    Brazil 1.80 tons/ year

  6. I'd rather die, Mark, and good point, Manzanal.

  7. “ won't lower the price...and it will inhibit research into better cleaner energy.”

    And there’s the rub...

    It took tens of thousands of men less than a decade to complete the Manhattan Project. Hitler being the driving force that eventually led to nuclear fission. What will it take to develop nuclear fusion...?

    I make bold to prophesy that this will be the only option left to the West after it has lost the jihadic war...


  8. 42 days/oil = Quarantine in the desert (Jesus' and other religious seekers)

    We need to abstain from oil, and for more than 40 days

  9. t won't lower the price, as BP seems to admit,

    Lower the price from what? This is such an inane complaint. It will provide more supply at current price levels, which will dampen future price rises.

    Bryan, we will need to develop new energy resources, but better to do so over time than try to solve our addiction cold turkey. Exploiting these other resources buys us time and smooths the transition, and hopefully prevents a meltdown of the world economy.

    When economy's crash, all hell breaks loose. The last thing a progressive should want is a depression. If you thought prosperity made people greedy and disagreeable, wait to you see what widespread want will do.

  10. Duck, your comment interests me because here in America, old folks always talk about how the Great Depression *united* them. People helped each other, they said, and were kinder and more compassionate than nowadays when so many have so much.

  11. Susan, I was thinking more of the effect of depression on politics, as in Germany. Sudden shifts in national fortune have a way of radicalizing politics. I think a lot of decent people get more decent during hardship, but those without much character to begin with find ways to lose even what character they have.

    It's naive to think that if oil gets expensive enough that we can just bicycle to work. There comes a tipping point at which many people won't have work to go to, bicycling or otherwise. Only those who favor the most radical politics should welcome the tipping point.